Belfast’s newest luxury hotel, Titanic Hotel Belfast, opened its doors to the public last September. After almost two years of restoration, construction and preservation of the former Harland & Wolff Drawing Offices and Headquarters, the £28m hotel is ready to show the world the amazing history behind Queen’s Island and the shipbuilding industry in Northern Ireland.
The 119-room hotel will see Adrian McNally take the helm as General Manager after being appointed by operator Harcourt Developments in June 2017. Adrian will lead a team of 90 employees, including apprentices from Belfast Metropolitan College and students of Ulster University and Galway Mayo Institute of Technology.
The stunning Drawing Offices have been transformed thanks to National Lottery players through a £5m grant, secured by the Titanic Foundation Ltd from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) through its Heritage Enterprise programme. This innovative programme is designed to bring heritage buildings back into sustainable use, bringing new jobs, new opportunities and new investment to local communities.
The entire building exudes the legacy of Belfast’s industrial heritage and all authentic spaces have been retained, including the Telephone Exchange, which received the first communication of Titanic hitting the iceberg.
Other heritage spaces preserved include the board room, directors’ entrance and lobby and former directors’ offices including Thomas Andrews, Lord Pirrie and Charles Payne.
The Drawing Offices stand prominently at the front of the hotel, one housing the hotel’s bar and lounge, and the other which will be the hotel’s ballroom and heritage experience. Drawing Office One will house a temporary six-week exhibition from opening, which tells the story of the conservation and construction of the buildings and hotel. Thereafter, daily tours will be on offer to showcase the heritage features here and throughout the hotel.
John Doherty, Creative Director at Harcourt Developments said; “To be finally ready to open this historical and authentic hotel is another mark in the history of Queen’s Island. Titanic Hotel Belfast is a hub of heritage and legacy, and we’re delighted to open the doors to the public and our first guests today.
“To celebrate, the Queen’s Island Victoria Male Voice Choir will be performing in the Drawing Offices after we create a bit of theatre and fanfare when officially declaring the hotel open at 12noon.”
Kerrie Sweeney from Titanic Foundation added; “Where one of Northern Ireland’s biggest commercial ventures once stood over 100 years ago, now stands a fitting tribute and another fantastic venture to shine a light on what was the largest shipyard in the world.
“As champions for the preservation of Belfast’s maritime heritage, it has been a privilege for Titanic Foundation to work on this incomparable restoration project, made possible with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and private investment from Harcourt Developments. Titanic Hotel Belfast is a wonderful addition to Titanic Quarter, and even more for the tourist industry here to shout about.”
Anna Carragher, Trustee and Chair of HLF Northern Ireland said; “It is wonderful to see the completion of this exciting project, which was one of the first in the UK to benefit from a Heritage Enterprise grant. This innovative programme brings together not-for-profit and private organisations, creating partnerships and funding the costs of repair to make the restoration of heritage buildings commercially viable.
“Thanks to £5m from National Lottery players this hugely important building has been secured for the future, creating jobs, investment and putting heritage at the heart of future growth.
“This restoration is a huge piece of the heritage puzzle for Northern Ireland and one that millions from around the world, and locally, will come to learn more about, and we are delighted to be involved.”
Now the most authentic hotel in the world to honour the majesty of the Titanic and Belfast’s shipbuilders, it boasts unparalleled 360 views of the Quarter, with the Harland and Wolff cranes to the east and Titanic Belfast and the slipways to the west.
Already at exceptionally high occupancy for its first week, all visitors to Titanic Quarter are invited to enjoy the opening celebrations and venture inside the Drawing Offices and heritage areas to view artefacts found throughout the building from Harland & Wolff.
Members of the public can also avail of guided tours throughout the building to explore the heritage areas and learn more about the conservation of the buildings.
The 166-seater dining room, The Wolff Grill, with its own private dining area, is fronted by Executive Chef Nigel Mannion, and will serve up first class dining with dishes made from only the best locally sourced ingredients.