NEW YORK -- The Northern Ireland peace process and the
possibilities for sustained stability is good news in Belfast,
which has more upscale accommodations than ever.
The five-star Malone Lodge Hotel reopened in Belfast in May
following a $6.2 million restoration.
The property is near Queens University, one of the prime sites
of the Belfast Queens Festival, an arts showcase held annually.
This year, the festival will run from Oct. 27 to Nov. 12, and
its organizers claim that it will rival the preeminent Edinburgh
International Festival in size and prestige.
Malone Lodge contains 51 bedrooms and suites that have been running
at 70% occupancy since the property reopened after its 11-month
renovation, according to the Northern Ireland Tourist Board.
One night's accommodations and breakfast for two at the Malone
Lodge costs about $139. Commission is 8%.
Belfast scored a significant coup in 1998 with the opening of
the Belfast Hilton International, the city's first five-star hotel,
according to David Boyce, director of the tourist board.
The Belfast Hilton is a 195-room business and convention hotel
that overlooks the River Lagan and was built as part of an urban
redevelopment effort of an industrial area, Boyce said.
The Laganside Water development project also includes office and
apartment buildings and a convention center adjacent to the
Peak season rack room rates at the Belfast Hilton begin at about
$249 during the week and $160 on weekends, including breakfast for
two. Bookings are commissionable at 8%.
"Northern Ireland is still struggling for business because of
the political situation there," said Jay Warren, who last year
founded New York-based Warren Tours, a luxury FIT boutique operator
to Ireland and the U.K.
Warren said that, because of the relative lack of business,
"prices are extremely attractive, especially in the high end of the
market. [Visitors] can stay in a five-star hotel in Belfast for
almost half the price of a five-star hotel in Dublin."
Malone Lodge Hotel
Phone: (011) 44-28 9038-2409
Belfast Hilton International
Phone: (800) HILTONS
CRS: All major systems