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Hotel Approved for Scottish Mutual site

Plans for the construction of a new £50m hotel in Belfast have been approved by the Department of the Environment.

The hotel development will be at the Scottish Mutual site on College Avenue near the Castle Court Shopping Centre and will be known as the Mutual Hotel. The hotel is expected to have 250 bedrooms built over 10 floors and will be developed by a subsidiary of local design and build company McAleer and Rushe.

This is the latest in a series of new hotels that are planned for Belfast in the near future. The company has owned the site on College Avenue for a number of years and a number of previous planning applications have been made for the site with this latest application being submitted in September 2013. The application and approval will be taken as a further sign of a return to confidence in the local market. A significant number of jobs are expected to be created once construction begins and the entire project is expected to take around 18 months to reach completion.

Janice Gault of the Hotel Federation welcomed the news of the hotel plans adding that: “Belfast has a number of significant projects... Click to read more

New Hotels proposed for Titanic Quarter

Planning permission has been granted for three new hotels to be built in the Titanic Quarter in Belfast. The successful applications for the developments were made by Titanic Quarter Ltd, proposing that the new hotels would range from three to five-stars.

One application is for a hotel with 244 bedrooms. Permission has also been granted for two further developments comprising 155 and 120 rooms respectively. All the hotels are to be constructed in the vicinity of Belfast’s landmark tourist attraction.

Titanic Quarter have not yet confirmed details of any hotel firms involved, however, it is believed a number of major international companies have expressed an interest in taking on the three hotel sites.

These developments will initially create hundreds of new jobs in the construction sector and then in the hotel sector once completed.

Although Titanic Quarter only has one hotel currently – a Premier Inn located close to the Odyssey Arena on the Queens Road – progress has been made on a new 84-bedroom four-star ’boutique’ hotel at the former Harland & Wolff headquarters and Drawing Offices.

A spokesman for Titanic Quarter Ltd said: “With the enormous success of Titanic Belfast and expanding business activity within Titanic Quarter,... Click to read more

Marketing campaign boost for Belfast hotel sector

Last year was much vaunted as a potential platform which would boost the tourism industry in Belfast and beyond. Events like the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic, the opening of the new visitor centers at Titanic Belfast and the Giant’s Causeway, the hosting of the Irish Open golf tournament and the Clipper event in Derry all provided impetus for the “Our Time, Our Place” marketing campaign.

The yearly Northern Ireland Hotel Industry Survey published recently by ASM Chartered Accountants seems to underline the positive impact the campaign had on the local hotel industry. Based on the ASM survey it was estimated that there was an additional 270,000 hotel bedrooms occupied in 2012, representing an increase of some 15% over 2011. Bedroom occupancy rates across Northern Ireland averaged 73.2% during 2012 compared with 64.7% the previous year. The average cost of a hotel room in 2012 stood at £65.50, only a slight increase from the £62.74 average rate achieved in 2011. This would seem to show that room rate discounting is still being used by hoteliers to attract guests and keep occupancy rates at decent levels. 67 per cent of the rooms that were were occupied were reported to... Click to read more

Negative end to positive year for Belfast hotels

The recent rioting and protests that have been taking place in Belfast appear to be having a negative impact on the hotel sector in the city. The owner of the Merchant Hotel, Mr Bill Wolsey, has let it be known that a group of American tourists cancelled a booking for a stay at his Belfast hotel. It is reported that an entire floor had been reserved by the group at the Merchant for a number of nights. Nevertheless, after news of the disturbances in Belfast broke in the US, the booking, which could have been worth thousands of pounds, was cancelled.

“They have now taken all their business to Dublin because of the violence,” said Mr Wolsey. “And to rub salt into the wound they asked us to book them into a hotel of similar standard in Dublin. We are losing business because of this”. Mr Wolsey went on to point out that trade at the Merchant Hotel had dropped by some 15 percent over the last week due to a number of cancellations.

This message was reinforced by a Belfast businessman at an event in Dublin. Bob McCoubrey, who owns a number of restaurants in Belfast, was at... Click to read more

New life for North Belfast Hotel

The Lansdowne Hotel in North Belfast is reported to have been bought by Metro Inns. This is another piece of good news for the hotel sector in the city which was recently revealed as one of only 10 UK destinations to show a rise in hotel prices this year, thanks in part to the increase in tourist numbers due to the Titanic centenary celebrations.

In May of this year the landmark, 25-bedroom Lansdowne Hotel was closed at extremely short notice due to financial difficulties. At that time the hotel was owned by the Welcome Group and employed some 35 people. Welcome Group was established in 1973 and operated both a chain of hotels and Chinese restaurants in Belfast and Lisburn.

It is now expected that the Lansdowne Hotel will reopen in the near future under the ownership of Metro Inns. The company owns eight other hotels in various parts of the UK. With headquarters in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, it operates hotels in Gloucester, Derby, Manchester, Liverpool, Doncaster, Teesside, Newcastle and Falkirk. The company is reported to have paid in the region of £700,000 for the hotel and the reopening of the Lansdowne is sure to provide a much-needed boost... Click to read more