Updated August 15, 2020.
I’m sure there are lots of reasons to go to Belfast. But when your “little” brother turns 30 (THIRTY!) and he’s been fascinated with all things Titanic, there is one place to go and one reason to go there: Belfast, for the Titanic Museum! And, as it turns out, there is only one place to stay: The Titanic Hotel Belfast, of course! So that’s what we did. Thankfully, our trip was a success with no icebergs in sight!
More here: Your Guide to the Titanic Museum, Belfast
So, what’s the big deal? Why is this the Titanic Hotel? Because this hotel was once the Drawing Offices for the Harland & Wolff ship building company, and they built the Titanic itself just across the way. So, what’s a Drawing Office?
It’s exactly what it sounds like! This is the place where plans were drawn up for the Titanic. But not just the Titanic. Harland and Wolff designed many large and advanced ships ahead of their time, and from 1885 on, those drawings happened here. The original buildings grew and additions were built around and on top of the two originals over time, but with every re-design and addition the intent was to create a calling card of sorts. The beauty of their office building showed off what Harland and Wolff could do in design.
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Staying there now, you can’t avoid the exquisite detail and impressive architecture! The art deco style truly transports one back in time, and the map for a self-guided tour helps guests appreciate the buildings in a deeper way. Even the staircase is a gallery showcasing White Star Line posters, photographs of grand ships, stories of famous White Star Line guests, and more!
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The Self-guided Tour
I highly recommend requesting a map at the front desk and taking the self-guided tour of the hotel. I was amazed at how many rooms guests and visitors could access! The offices on the ground floor belonged to executives like Thomas Andrews, who thought of the builders as his “pals” instead of his employees and who went down with the Titanic. But you can tour his office and others, and if a drawer says “Open Up; Discover More,” you can open it!
For more on the hotel’s history, check out their website!
The hotel is, of course, in the Titanic Quarter, just 10 minutes from Belfast City Airport (BHD) and 25-30 minutes from Belfast International Airport (BFS). It’s just a stone’s throw from the Titanic Museum, and only a 20 minute walk along the waterfront to the Belfast city center. A 10 minute walk in the other direction will lead you to the Titanic Studios where Game of Thrones was filmed, as well as the H.M.S. Caroline, sole survivor of the Battle of Jutland in World War I, the largest naval battle ever fought!
Read on: What to Know Before You Visit Belfast
Joel and I both had epic rooms with epic views! Both of our rooms were large, especially by historic European standards. The robes and slippers were luxurious, the espresso maker came with clear instructions, and the natural light so necessary for drawing office duties carried over into wonderful natural light for our rooms! But that’s not all… the blackout curtains saved the night, since the sun came up around 4:30am and didn’t set until 10:30pm!
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The Titanic Hotel Belfast staff actually went above and beyond our last evening there. My brother and I were so tired each day, we ended up going to our rooms early and simply being in for the night! I like turn-down service, but sometimes I just value my sleep more. However, I knew Joel had never stayed in a hotel with turn-down service, so I asked the kind lady at the front desk to have the maid do our turn-down service early, while we were at afternoon tea between 4:00 and 5:30pm.
Much to my delight (and surprise!) they did it! We got back to our rooms at 5:30pm and turn-down service had already been done for us. They had refreshed our bedside water bottles, turned down our sheets, refreshed our rooms, turned on the bedside light, and left the most delicious chocolate treat! It was a small thing, but very special! I think it’s also important to note that I’ve requested early turn-down service before at some very famous hotels and always been told no! Kudos to the Titanic Hotel Belfast!
More here: Your Ultimate Guide to Accommodations
The bathrooms were really quite spacious! Mine had a huge soaker tub, rainfall shower head, and gorgeous black and white art deco design! The shower’s water pressure was great, the towels were soft, and there was plenty of counter space above the sink! Note for the ladies: conditioner was not provided, nor was it provided anywhere else we stayed in the UK, so bring your own! Other than that, everything was perfect! The “cotton” toiletries had a light and clean scent; no overwhelming fragrances!
More here: The Ultimate Guide to Solid Toiletries
The Titanic Hotel Belfast has plenty of wonderful dining options, and we tried two of them! The lounge and bar in Drawing Office Two was the perfect place for an early, lite supper after a day of touring the Titanic Museum and beyond.
We also had afternoon tea upstairs in the Presentation Room, where the plans for new ships were presented to investors and executives! Now it serves as an event space, and lucky for us, afternoon tea is one of those events!
Read on: Afternoon Tea at the Titanic Hotel Belfast
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