Traveling through Northern Ireland this month, I’m living out some childhood dreams as well as aiming to inspire everyone out there to visit Belfast and Northern Ireland. As tourists flock to London, Manchester and Edinburgh, the Northern Irish capital city Belfast glides by gracefully in the background, somewhat un-noticed.
As a child I will always remember the famous Europa Hotel. This magnificent structure in Great Victoria Street was once the most bombed hotel in Europe, if not the world. The windows were shattered so often by bombs, that they were boarded up, as I recall. However, thankfully those days have passed Belfast by. Excuse the pun but tourism in Belfast has been “booming” lately.
Europa is a luxury hotel which typifies the new school Northern Ireland, post troubles, ceasefires and the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. If you want to live it up for a bit in Belfast City, the Europa Hotel is the place to be.
The Europa Hotel is finally getting the publicity it deserves and it was always a dream of mine to spend a night there. On my journey from Bangor to Coleraine, I decided to stop off for a day in the capital and spend a night here rediscovering my home capital city.
The hotel exudes history! Bombed for three decades, the hotel survived, recovered and is now the best hotel in Belfast in my opinion, because each room has a history folder in it.
A folder with information on the Europa’s history. There are also plaques on the wall on the stairs on the ground floor to the first give a detailed history of the hotel and what was happening in Northern Ireland at the time…
As a general rule, Northern Irish people are tidy, clean and well presented and the Europa fits with this local stereotype. Pristine rooms, carefully laid towels, tea and coffee stand neatly on the cabinet and everything immaculate for your entrance.
The Europa is well positioned and centrally located with views from rooms at the front will catch the magnificent City Hall and the famous cranes in East Belfast (Samson and Goliath) as well as the Crown Bar and Robinsons.
My room was 634 and had a view out to Sandy Row, the City Hospital and Windsor Park. (excuse the poor photography)
Situated in the heart of Belfast, the Europa Hotel is perfect for exploring Belfast City. The City Hall, the Grand Opera House, the famous Crown Bar are all within a few minutes walk!
Grand Opera House – right beside the Europa Hotel.
Even better right next to the Europa is the bus and train station which serves not just all of Northern Ireland, but parts of Ireland too. In two hours you could be in Dublin although personally, I’d recommend a train north to Coleraine or Londonderry/Derry.
Tea, Coffee, Biscuits in the Room – for a 4 star hotel, it should be standard. The Europa doesn’t disappoint.
The Europa boasts a few bars including the Lobby Bar and the Piano Bar. I’ve had a beer in both, and on this occasion I chose the Piano Bar as it offers a view down over the street. Sit with your fresh pint of Guinness overlooking Great Victoria Street, watching the world go by…wifi as a bonus too!
A fresh Guinness with a view onto Great Victoria Street
The Piano Bar
Real Local Northern Irish Breakfast — what I really love though is that the Europa Hotel keeps it local. It doesn’t forget where it is and you won’t forget where you are. You’re in Northern Ireland and the breakfast options reflect this. Armagh Apple Juice – yes they have freshly pressed Apple juice all the way from Armagh.
Ulster Fry buffet featuring Black and White Pudding (Irish specialities). Eat as much or as little as you like. The Ulster Fry is Northern Ireland’s iconic and quintessential morning feast.
Bushmills Whiskey Porridge – you’re thinking “what?” but the local whiskey here Bushmills is world famous and the Europa encourages you to try a drop of whiskey and cream in your morning porridge! Kickstart your day with a boom!
Put some Bushmills whiskey in your porridge? Why Not – you’re in Northern Ireland!
Irish Tea – It’s not just a myth from the Father Ted series. Irish people love their tea! Ask the staff for a pot of local tea and you can’t go wrong!
Survival – you did it!! Some people really do it just to say they did it. They stay here just to say “I stayed in the Europa Hotel and I survived”. And so my friends, this ironically is as good a reason as any. Belfast is safe remember – the locals are great craic – they’ll welcome you to their capital. Besides, President Bill Clinton once stayed here so you can also brag about that.
- A choice of 272 bedrooms – including 92 Executive Bedrooms and Suites.
- Elegant décor, contemporary bistro, bustling bar and relaxing piano bar lounge make the four star Europa Hotel the hotel of choice for business and leisure guests visiting Belfast.
- Due to its prime location, the Europa Hotel is a short distance from many of Belfast’s top visitor attractions including the Ulster Museum,Grand Opera House, City Hall, Titanic Belfast, the Waterfront Hall and the Odyssey Arena.
Great Victoria Street
Belfast BT2 7AP T
+44 (0) 28 9027 1066