The shipbuilding heritage of the north explored
Before I even stepped foot inside Belfast’s award winning Titanic Hotel, its exterior and surrounding area provided a clear indication that the hotel is an historic gem.
Steeped in architectural history, the hotel is situated in the former headquarters of Harland & Wolff, the ship builders responsible for constructing the world-famous RMS Titanic and other White Star liners the Olympic and Britannic.
In a fascinating twist, the two drawing rooms that were used to design a number of ships including the Titanic at the time are now used as the main bar area and the hotel’s largest function room.
The interior of the hotel strikes the right balance between being traditional and retaining the heritage of the original building while combining this with more modern day touches. The main areas of the hotel are stylish and filled with light, in particular the Drawing Room Bar.
As we made our way to our room, we walked through long hallways that resembled ship corridors and in ways it was like going back in time — I felt like a passenger on the Titanic.
Bedrooms are spacious and modern — ours boasted an art deco design that featured riveted panels and ship lanterns. The best part though was probably the view of the Titanic visitor centre and the slipway where the ship was constructed.
As we made our way down to the Drawing Office Bar for a predinner tipple (or two!), we were transfixed by the collection of old photographs and memorabilia that we studied on the way down.
You can’t help but stop and take in the original photographs. The industry that was the backbone of Belfast life saw men operating in conditions that would be unheard of now. Yet it was only over 100 years ago when the Titanic was built.
Once in the Drawing Room Bar we treated ourselves to one of the Titanic Hotel’s bespoke cocktails that hit all the right spots perfectly. Energy and glamour is what the Drawing Office Bar exudes — it’s incredibly atmospheric and is the heartbeat of the hotel with people enjoying themselves immensely.
Given it was one of the two original drawing rooms of Harland & Wolff headquarters, it’s no surprise that it’s very spacious and the use of natural light is incredible, with long ceiling lengths of skyline light coming through.
The Wolff Grill Restaurant was named Ireland’s Hotel Restaurant of the Year by the Irish Hotel Awards. I loved how the restaurant’s chandeliers were made of rope and black tyres, so unique and the views of the Titanic Belfast building and slipways were great talking points.
Making a good first impression on the taste buds was a dish of Scallops with Chorizo — in all honesty, I would have had three of these to start if I could. For mains, the stakes were high but I decided to go with the Beef Fillet over the Chicken Supreme and had zero regrets.
One rule I have when it comes to dining out is to always make room for dessert — in fact it’s the first thing I look at on a menu, and the White Chocolate Parfait didn’t disappoint.
The next morning we visited the Titanic Belfast visitor centre which is located just metres from the hotel, and is open seven days a week throughout July and August.
Titanic Belfast tells the story of the ship from its conception, through the construction and launch, to its maiden voyage and subsequent place in history. A must-visit for any fans of the film or nautical history lovers.
Afterwards, the weather was on our side so we enjoyed a leisurely walk along the Maritime Mile, Belfast’s stunning historic waterfront before heading into the city for a gander and back home to Dublin after a great night away.
The Complete Titanic Experience includes an overnight stay for two, tickets to Titanic Belfast visitor attraction, and a Titanic sized breakfast the following morning starting from €170 per room. Complimentary car parking at Titanic Belfast is also included in this fantastic deal. For more details or to book email info@ titanichotelbelfast.com