Belfast 5-star hotels set modest rates


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.

Belfast scored a significant coup in 1998 with the opening of the Belfast Hilton International as the city's first five-star property. 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 Hilton.

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

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