New George Best Hotel set for delayed June opening

The new George Best Hotel may open to the public until June 1, it can be revealed
The new George Best Hotel may open to the public until June 1, it can be revealed

THE LONG-awaited George Best Hotel may not open its doors until June, it can be revealed.

The new 63-bedroom Belfast hotel, being brought forward by Liverpool developer Signature Living had originally been due to open last summer, but has been subject to a series of delays.

Now it appears that the £15 million hotel, housed within the former Scottish Mutual building, will not open until June.

Phone lines for the boutique hotel opened last week, with customer bookings being taken from June 1 onwards.

This is, according to one Signature Living staff member, due to uncertainty over the exact opening date.

There is currently no online function for bookings.

In December, Signature Living boss, Lawrence Kenwright told The Irish News he hoped the George Best Hotel would be open to the public on Valentines Day (February 14), but conceded that a date in March was more realistic.

In the same interview he allayed fears over the future of the project.

"We’re trying hard, and we’re down to just a couple of planning issues with the council, but it’ll happen,” he said.

Given the significant refurbishment work still required at the Scottish Mutual Building site it appears unlikely the new hotel will open next month, with a June date more realistic.

The Liverpool hotelier has previously threatened to withdraw half of his proposed £80m investment in the city due to planning issues with the local council.

In addition to the George Best Hotel, Signature Living is behind the £20m transformation of the landmark Crumlin Road Courthouse into the 77-bedroom Crum Hotel and a 43-room hotel on Waring Street.

Mr Kenwright has also previously identified Belfast's Floral Hall as the location for a possible fourth hotel in the city.

The Floral Hall, housed within the grounds of Belfast Zoo, is owned by Belfast City Council.