My summer travels fulfilled yet another bucket list, a visit to Northern Ireland’s capital city, Belfast. And when in Belfast, travelers gravitate to the heart of the city and a stay at the legendary Europa Belfast, the biggest hotel in Northern Ireland and known as the most bombed hotel in Europe.
Irish Hospitality at the Europa Belfast
Damaged 33 times by IRA bombs between 1970 and 1944, the Europa Belfast hotel may have a troubled past, but if you’re visiting the capital city, this Northern Ireland hotel lays claim to the best location in the heart of Belfast City. Surrounded by many of the city’s top tourist attractions, shops, restaurants, theatres, and bars, guests can walk to just about anywhere within a few minutes.
Within walking distance, discover many of the city’s top tourist attractions, shops, restaurants, theatres, and bars. To me and my jet-lagged travelers, after several days exploring Ireland, the ability to simply walk across the street was priceless. For those flying into Belfast, bus and trains from the airports (George Best Belfast City Airport 3 miles and 16 miles from Belfast International Airport) will drop you off almost at the door to the hotel.
Arrival in Belfast
I had read it was in the heart of the city, but the Europa is literally in the heart of the city. Crammed in what appears to be an impossibly tight location, the hotel inches above its neighbors. We first noticed its sign atop the building as we approached the city centre.
Check-In to the Europa Belfast
When in Belfast, a stop at the Titanic Museum is a must, so after our tour, we checked into the Europa Hotel. A few doors up from Great Victoria Street from the Opera House, we arrived. Our CIE Tours chauffeur Liam somehow zipped through the Belfast traffic (safely) to maneuver into the tiny courtyard-like drive. We had to quickly unload as there really is little space for many cars to park and check-in.
The grand entrance is marked with equally grand marble stout Greek columns, leading into the neo-classical marbled lobby. Yes, it seems a bit over-the-top for an Irish hotel, but somehow it does work.
The reception desk is located to the far right of the lobby, near the restaurant and elevators.
Our late afternoon check-in was efficient, and the bell staff escorted us to our rooms. The two elevators are interesting, each specific to a floor and room numbers– be sure to choose the correct one.
Accommodations at the Europa
Choose from 272 rooms, ranging for a classic to presidential suite. Since we were only staying one night, we opted for a classic room. Stylish but very small, and the shower was exceptionally small offering a tight fit for my 6’4″ husky hubby.
But it was cozy and the bed was comfortable with fluffy pillows (which I love!). Bonus: WiFi was complimentary and fast!Check-in to your stylish room and go explore.
Although located in the bustling heart of the Belfast City Centre, our rooms were soundproof with no noise from the crowd below. In fact, it was a rainy night in Ireland (I know surprise, right), and I barely heard the thunderstorm either.
Check-in to your stylish room and go explore. Belfast, the capital city of Northern Ireland is a must visit when you come to Ireland. As a city it surprises and delights at every turn, with a thriving music scene, great restaurants and many world-class visitor attractions you will experience Ireland at its very best!
, particularly if you’re sitting in the iconic first floor Piano Bar gazing down at the bustling crowds outside and the legendary Crown Bar just across the street.
Food & Dining at the Europa Hotel
To me and my jet-lagged travelers, the ability to simply saunter across the street for drinks at the legendary Crown Bar (one of the oldest pubs in Belfast) was priceless.
But for those who like to stay in, the local cuisine at their onsite Causerie Restaurant is well known. Or grab a quick bite at the Lobby Bar on the ground floor, serving pub grub all day.
Don’t miss the spectacular view overlooking the always-busy Great Victoria Street, from the Piano Bar and Lounge. After dinner at Robinson’s (across the street also), my girlfriend and I snuggled into our comfy rooms, while our two husbands had a few Irish whiskeys and Guinness beer at the Piano Bar. I did take a look before heading up to the room, and it too is grand with a celebration of mahogany, leather, and candlelight. The guys commented on the great view and the superb service. Locals also congregate here, and I’m told an occasional celebrity sighting.
Perhaps my favorite is the complimentary full Irish breakfast served at the hotel. I fell in love with Irish bread, and I definitely had my share (perhaps more than my share…) of their Irwin’s Bread and GuineGuinnessegrain Bread. In addition the local meats, eggs, fruit, danish, pastries, and cereals, I was also tempted with their specialty: Bushmills Whisky Porridge.