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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 to the local area in north Belfast. Jackie Kirkpatrick, operations director of Metro Inns, said the decision to invest in Northern Ireland was “a progressive step” in establishing its brand here. The company also said: “Metro Inns hope to re-ignite the wonderful reputation this famous hotel enjoys and by engaging with the local community and its staff we hope to deliver a first class service to the people of Belfast and beyond.”

Conor Devine of GDP Property Partnership, which advised Metro Inns on the acquisition, said: “This is a good news story as it shows confidence in Northern Ireland tourism and in the hotel market here.” Matthew Williamson of accountancy firm ASM went on to underline the fact that hotels in Belfast had enjoyed occupancy rates of 84% between April and June this year. “If that dynamic continues I think Metro Inns have a good chance of doing quite well in the Lansdowne.”