Business

Hotel veteran launches accommodation venture in Belfast's Bank Square

Bank Square Townhouse in Belfast city centre. Picture by Mal McCann.

HOSPITALITY veteran Adrian McLaughlin has launched a new 19-bedroom accommodation venture in Belfast city centre.

Bank Square Townhouse opens in Bank Square this week next to the well-known Mourne Seafood restaurant and historic Belfast pub Kelly’s Cellars.

A native of Ballymena, Adrian McLaughlin ran The Merchant Hotel for six years before going on to run the Gibson Hotel in Dublin and then Carton House in Kildare.

The hotel manager turned entrepreneur has now taken a long lease on the premises previously known as Dream Pods. It joins his growing hospitality portfolio that includes ‘The Rambler’ in Portstewart and the Guilt Trip coffee and Donut chain.

Mr McLaughlin said around £200,000 has been invested in refreshing the Bank Square building, with eight new jobs created.

Hospitality veteran, Adrian McLaughlin.

Originally launched in the summer of 2019 as part of Tom Smyth’s short-stay property group Dream Apartments, the premises had in recent times been used by the Housing Executive as temporary accommodation.

But that led to Belfast City Council launching a planning enforcement case.

Now with a new key-holder and a new business, the property has returned to its original permitted purpose.

“For a long time I’ve felt that there was an opportunity in Belfast to provide somewhere for visitors that offers boutique features at a budget price,” said Mr McLaughlin.

“So when the opportunity arose to take on Bank Square, I didn’t hesitate.”

He said the en suite rooms are small on frills but big on comfort.

“All the rooms are bright and colourful, and feature a very comfy bed – the most important thing.”

Belfast artist Leo Boyd has also been commissioned to create a number of new murals on site.

Bank Square Townhouse offers 19 rooms in the city centre.

With the area rejuvenated following the completion of construction on Primark’s Bank Buildings store, the hotelier is optimistic for the future of Bank Square.

“It just feels like a much nicer place to be. The atmosphere has changed up.

“Come the new year I’ll have a pavement licence for Bank Square and I’ll be able to do a little coffee shop.

“If I was building a hotel now and I had these quality of bedrooms and had Mourne Seafood as my restaurant and Kelly’s Cellars as my pub under one roof, I’d be very happy!

“I think this little corner of Belfast has a very bright future to be fair.”

Bookings for Bank Square Townhouse go live on November 30.