Belfast has about 20 new hotels in various stages of development.
Local hotel company Hastings Group is planning to turn the former Windsor House building into a 304-bedroom Grand Central hotel—reportedly the largest in Northern Ireland.
A 50-guestroom Titanic-themed hotel, meanwhile, could be built in the former Shankill Road Mission Presbyterian Church.
And hotel developer Signature Living will develop two new hotels in Belfast’s city center this year—one of which will be dedicated to George Best, the late Northern Irish professional footballer (or soccer star) who played for Manchester United and the Northern Ireland national team.
Signature is looking to open five hotels in the city in the long run, and is reportedly “very close” to finalizing the terms for the first property’s building acquisition.
“It is clear to me that Belfast is at an exciting stage in its development, with so much happening around the city,” Lawrence Kenwright, director of Signature Living, told Belfast Live. “Most importantly, it is looking outward and forward and, as a result, I believe the city will really continue to flourish in the coming years.” Kenwright also said that he has visited Belfast seven times in 12 months to learn more about opportunities.
These developments are significant as Northern Ireland, as a part of the United Kingdom, still uses the pound—unlike the Republic of Ireland, which takes up most of the island. In the wake of the Brexit vote, Northern Ireland could attract UK visitors who don't want to exchange currency when traveling across the Irish sea. (The Republic of Ireland uses the euro.) A weaker pound could also attract international visitors for whom the euro is too expensive.