Around 115 new jobs are to be created in Belfast city centre with the confirmation that American hospitality group Marriott is to open its first Northern Ireland hotel.
The City Quays Hotel, on the harbour estate, will join the company’s portfolio of almost 4,500 hotels located in 87 countries around the world, operating under a franchise agreement with Interstate Europe Hotels and Resorts.
The four-star AC Hotel by Marriott Belfast will include 188 rooms, a restaurant, a bar/lounge, fitness facilities and meeting rooms.
“Bringing Marriott to Northern Ireland for the first time is great news for both business and leisure travellers as well as for the city,” said Graeme Johnston, Belfast Harbour property director.
“Marriott has a very strong presence in the business market which will complement the wider office developments planned for City Quays – the first office is already fully let to four US firms employing 800 people.
“The hotel will also be well placed to tap into Belfast’s growing reputation as a conference destination with the newly refurbished Waterfront Hall just a short riverside walk away.
“With views of Titanic Belfast and SS Nomadic the hotel will also appeal to inbound tourists and – given Marriott’s reputation for quality – we’re confident that it will appeal strongly to local people looking for a new leisure experience.”
Marriott already has two hotels in Ireland: the Shelbourne in Dublin and Powerscourt in Co Wicklow.
“We are delighted to bring our lifestyle hotel brand, to the revitalised City Quays area of Belfast,” said Paul Thomas, director of international development.
“This will be the first AC Hotel by Marriott in Northern Ireland, demonstrating our commitment to opening design-led hotels in thriving destinations where we see growing demand from discerning travellers seeking a refreshed hotel experience.
“We look forward to being part of this exciting and flourishing city.”
Last month Gilbert Ash was appointed as contractor for the construction element of the £25m project which is expected to open in early 2018.
The hotel is expected to create 180 construction jobs and employment for approximately 115 people when complete.
“City Quays Hotel represents one of the largest contracts that we have worked on in Northern Ireland in recent years, with a project value of £22m, and we are excited to commence work on site,” said Gilbert-Ash MD Ray Hutchinson.
“We know that the finished property will be a welcome new addition to the local leisure accommodation offering.”
Gerry Lennon, CEO of Visit Belfast said “It is vital that the city maintains a mixture of recognised brands and independent hotels, so the addition of the internationally-renowned Marriott brand will only strengthen Belfast’s positioning as a must-see destination.