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The Europa Hotel: City Centre Chic

B’s Ed Rachel Sandall reviews Belfast’s swankiest city centre venue.

When it comes to luxury hotels, the B Magazine team is meticulous. To uphold our journalistic integrity we feel it’s our duty to research everything a hotel has to offer; we sip the bar cocktails to ensure they are made with the finest vodka, taste the chef’s culinary delights, check for pillow top mattresses, run a discerning eye over the function rooms and occasionally....if the job calls for it...we will endure a facial or massage, all because we want our readers to be fully informed about a venue.  So when we were invited to the Europa Hotel in Belfast we got out our clipboards (i.e. cocktail napkins) and gave it the ol’ B Mag litmus test.

The Europa hotel is smack dab in the centre of Belfast, literally 50 feet from Great Victoria Station, which makes getting there from almost anywhere in Ireland, very easy. The hotel is in one of Belfast’s most sought after areas, surrounded by shops, restaurants and a stone’s throw away from City Hall and the Grand Opera House.

After we got over the shock of how easy it was to get to the Europa, we met with Director Allyson McKimm and General Manager, James McGinn. With years of experience and a keen eye for detail, James has become a powerhouse in the Northern Irish wedding scene. His renowned taste has earned him the title the Franc of the North, Northern brides know that if they want city centre chic...the Europa is the best game in town. After a brief discussion about the Miss Northern Ireland competition (which James is judging) and a quick guide to all the best spots in Belfast, it was obvious...a wedding at the Europa would definitely not be lacking in personality or style.

Most hotels claim they can cater for any type of wedding...but the Europa really can! They have two function rooms; The Grand Ballroom which can hold up to 400 and the Penthouse Suite which can hold up to 125; both rooms are sophisticatedly decorated and make the most of the Belfast skyline views.

But if the function room wedding isn’t your style, the Europa has an option I can safely say I’ve never seen in another Irish hotel; a massive ground floor room that looks like a New York style loft!  It was the last thing I was expecting to see as we rounded the corner, but it literally took my breath away. The minimalistic room is a blank canvas where hardwood floors and white walls create the stylish bride’s dream. The room has a private entrance, it’s own bar and connects to the lobby by a corridor (where I am told a red carpet can be put down).   The hotel provides table service and all the standard wedding package items for the room, without the extra worry of coordinating carpet, curtains and furniture into your personal scheme. The possibilities are endless! And it doesn’t stop there. If you are having an intimate wedding, the Europa has the Rotunda, which can hold 30 people.

One of the main dilemmas brides have when it comes to city centre weddings is where to take their photos. So we were delighted to see that the Europa has a rooftop terrace with panoramic views of the city and surrounding hills, perfect for all your formal captures. Europa brides also have the option of using any of the many city centre attractions, including the gardens of the nearby City Hall.

After we had reviewed the Europa as a wedding venue, we decided to see how it measured up for another important wedding experience...the hen weekend. Belfast is fast becoming one of the world’s trendiest cities, and when you’re at the Europa all the hotspots are right on your luxurious doorstep. 

The Europa rooms are modern and spacious and offer guests refined hospitality. It doesn’t have its own spa, but residents of the Europa can use the 5 * Culloden Estate and Spa, only 15 minutes away. The Culloden has special packages for the girly weekend including the Spa-tisserie option which gives you a 55 minute treatment, morning coffee or afternoon tea, plus sandwiches and finger food.

After a nice pampering session, a relaxing dinner at one of the three Europa eateries is a must. With three options in different price ranges, you are bound to find one that suits you and your companions. The Piano Bar Restaurant is the fine dining option at the Europa, The Causerie is the informal restaurant and the Lobby Bar is the casual option for the quick bite to eat. Our advice? Try all three, and whatever you do, don’t miss the famous Europa breakfast!

No girly weekend would be complete without at least one round of cocktails. This is where the Europa seals the deal.  The Piano Bar lounge offers some of the best cocktails in the city, with a buzzing atmosphere, stunning views and the added bonus of being right in the heart of the city but only a short lift ride away from your very own pillow top mattress.

We highly recommend the Grey Goose Cosmopolitans (but that’s all we’re saying about that).

Contact the Europa:

Telephone: +44 (0) 28 9027 1066

Web: www.hastingshotels.com/europa-belfast

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