Belfast is the ideal mini-break destination, especially when travelling from the UK. It’s only a short flight away, and the perfect location for shopping, eating, drinking and culture. Finding the best hotels in Belfast will make your stay truly memorable. This is true whether you are planning a girly weekend away, romantic trip or a family holiday.
Belfast is the capital city of Northern Ireland and sits on the River Lagan, the west side of the country. Belfast is probably most famous for being the birthplace of the RMS Titanic, which notoriously collided with an iceberg and sunk in 1912. Belfast’s history also includes the suffering from the Northern Island conflict during the late 20th century. Nowadays, however, Belfast is a thriving city with exciting regeneration plans, making it the perfect choice for a weekend away.
I travelled to Belfast earlier this year in July as a birthday treat with a group of friends. We caught an early flight from Liverpool Airport on Saturday and stayed for one night. When we arrived at Belfast International Airport, we were pleased to find that there were regular buses into the city centre. This meant we didn’t have to spend money on expensive taxis. Plus, it was super convenient as we were travelling light and carrying our bags with us around all day before checking into our hotel in the evening. The bus journey takes around 30 minutes and terminates at Belfast Europa Buscentre.
Choosing where to stay from the best hotels in Belfast will depend on what you want to experience. There is an abundance of places to stay, including budget hotels as well as luxury 5-star hotels, so you will be sure to find the best one for you.
Best hotels in Belfast: A good all-rounder
We were looking for a budget hotel that was in easy walking distance of the city centre. The main reason being we knew we’d be going to a couple of bars in the evening and didn’t want to have to queue for a taxi. We found that the Holiday Inn Belfast City Centre ticked all the boxes! Located on Hope Street, the Holiday Inn is only a 2-minute walk to Great Victoria Street Railway Station, and around a 15-minute walk to Victoria Square, one of Belfast’s main shopping centres.
We ended our night having a couple of cocktails at Filthy McNastys (don’t be put off by the name!). Filthy McNastys is a quirky bar with weird and wonderful décor – including mannequin lamps – but is extremely welcoming. The Holiday Inn is only a 4-minute walk from Filthy McNastys. This is certainly within stumbling distance, so you can be sure you get back safely after experiencing the vibrant nightlife Belfast has to offer. Walk north-east onto Dublin Road and then turn left onto Bruce Street. Continue down Bruce Street until you see Lincoln Place. Turn left and then right, and you will see the Holiday Inn on your left.
Best hotels in Belfast: For shopping
If you are looking to spend your time in Belfast doing some retail therapy, you will want to find a hotel close to the city centre. This is so you don’t have to walk far with all your newly bought purchases. Victoria Square is one of the main shopping areas, and contains over 70 stores, cafes and restaurants.
The Malmaison Belfast hotel is in the perfect location to Victoria Square. Located at 34-38 Victoria Street, the Malmaison Belfast is literally a 4-minute walk away. Offering a touch of luxury, this hotel is a good choice if you are looking to push the boat out for boutique 4-star accommodation.
St George’s market is another popular shopping area for when visiting Belfast. This historic market provides a relaxing setting to wander and sample the local fayre while taking in the ambiance with music playing in the background. There may be many crowds at the indoor markets. I would advise going on an empty stomach, so you have room to try the food on offer! You can also pick up your souvenirs from here for family and friends.
St George’s market is located at 12-20 East Bridge Street. The Hilton Belfast is a popular hotel chain offering contemporary style and comfort, and with it only being a 4-minute walk to the market, it is also in a great location on 4 Lanyon Place.
Best hotels in Belfast: For restaurants
There are many different restaurants in Belfast, so whatever your personal tastes or cravings, you will be sure to find a restaurant to satisfy. We stumbled upon a beautifully Italian restaurant called The Chubby Cherub. Traditional Italian influences the interior décor and you could easily believe you were in Rome. This provides a romantic, intimate setting to enjoy the delicious Italian food. The Chubby Cherub is located at 49A Upper Arthur Street and is a real hidden gem.
The Ten Square Hotel is another 4-star hotel, providing chic comfort and luxury in Belfast city centre. Located on 10 Donegall Square, The Chubby Cherub is only a 4-minute walk away. From the Ten Square Hotel, walk east on Donegall Square towards Linenhall Street. Turn left onto Donegall Square and then right onto Pattersons Place. Then turn right onto Upper Arthur Street, and The Chubby Cherub will be on your left.
Best hotels in Belfast: For culture
The Ten Square Hotel is also conveniently located for Belfast City Hall, where tours are available if you want to learn more about this iconic civic building. You can also visit the Titanic Memorial Gardens, which name all the victims of the disaster.
Belfast is a vibrant city for shopping, nightlife and culture. When it comes to finding the best hotels in Belfast, it may surprise you that even the city centre hotels offer affordable luxury. For that special occasion, there are many 4-star boutique hotels to choose from. And don’t worry if you are looking for the cheapest stay possible, there is also an abundance of budget hotels. Perfect if you are just looking for a place to crash at the end of the evening!