Grand Central Hotel ‘returns’ to Belfast

An artist's impession of how the new Grand Central Hotel will look on Bedford Street
An artist's impession of how the new Grand Central Hotel will look on Bedford Street

Belfast’s new Grand Central Hotel will be open for business by the end of 2018 after a total investment of £30 million .

The project by the Hastings hotel group will see one of the tallest buildings on the island of Ireland redeveloped as a 200 bedroom hotel employing around 150 people.

Last month the family business established by Sir Billy Hastings announced the purchase of the former government office building on Bedford Street.

Yesterday he outlined the plans for the new hotel and gave a nod to the former Grand Central which once graced the city.

“We are delighted to unveil the plans for what will be the seventh hotel in our portfolio in Northern Ireland.

“This acquisition represents our biggest single investment to date of £30 million and upon completion in 2018 the hotel will operate at the upper end of the 4-star market offering 200 bedrooms, a restaurant and bar, 18 serviced apartments and a range of superbly appointed office accommodation.”

Describing the project a huge undertaking for Hastings Hotels, he said it was made possible only by the strength of the existing hotels portfolio and the quality of the staff and management.

“It will bring the number of bedrooms in our group to over 1,000 making us the largest privately owned hotel chain on the island of Ireland,” he added.

“I am also thrilled to announce that our new hotel will be called the Belfast Grand Central Hotel. The original Grand Central, which also boasted 200 bedrooms, was built in 1893 and was the thriving hub of Victorian Belfast as well as the finest hotel in Ireland.”

The new hotel, he said, would fulfil the requirement for city centre accommodation in Belfast as tourism across the province continued to grow alongside increased business tourism fuelled by the expansion of the Waterfront Hall.

Enterprise Minister Jonathan Bell said the investment represented “a massive vote of confidence in tourism”.

“I have been very impressed by Hastings Hotels vision for its new city centre hotel. This is great news for Belfast and for Northern Ireland.

“The new hotel will add considerably to the local accommodation offering and allow Northern Ireland to capitalise further on the growing international business conference market.”

Belfast Lord Mayor Arder Carson said: “This is great news for the city. One of our major objectives is to double the current tourism revenue by 2020 and developments such as this one by the Hastings Hotels Group are a huge step forward towards achieving that goal.”