Over 100 jobs for Belfast as Marriott Hotel arrives
Business travellers will be a major target for Northern Ireland's first Marriott Hotel when it opens in Belfast Harbour in early 2018, it's been claimed.
The £25m project at City Quays will be a four-star venue with 188 rooms, a restaurant, a bar and lounge area, fitness suite and conference facilities.
Construction of the Marriott Hotel started three weeks ago and will use up to 180 building workers, Belfast Harbour said.
And when completed, the hotel will employ around 115 staff.
The Belfast Telegraph first revealed in March that the American hotel chain had struck a deal with Belfast Harbour Commission. The City Quays is a major waterside development including Grade A office space - home to law firm Baker & McKenzie as well as tech companies Cayan and BRS Golf.
Michael Williamson, director of consulting at business advisers ASM and an expert in hospitality, welcomed Marriott's arrival to the city.
"It means another global brand will be represented in the city - particularly now we have the newly extended Waterfront Hall which is targeting European and international conferences," he said.
"A lot of people travelling to these conferences will be seasoned travellers and often members of loyalty schemes with brands like Marriott.
"There's an element of familiarity they like to see."
The Marriott is one of around 20 new hotels being planned for Belfast. The news comes just days after plans to build a boutique hotel in Belfast city centre's Bank Square were given the green light.
And construction of Beannchor Group's Bullitt Hotel at the corner of Ann Street and Victoria Street is also close to completion. Work is also progressing on Hastings Hotels' new Grand Central in Bedford Street.
Graeme Johnston, Belfast Harbour's property director, said: "Marriott has a very strong presence in the business market which will complement the wider office developments planned for City Quays - the first office is already fully let to four US firms employing 800 people.
"The hotel will also be well placed to tap into Belfast's growing reputation as a conference destination with the newly-refurbished Waterfront Hall just a short riverside walk away.
"With views of Titanic Belfast and SS Nomadic, the hotel will also appeal to inbound tourists and - given Marriott's reputation for quality - we're confident that it will appeal strongly to local people looking for a new leisure experience."
City Quays Hotel will join Marriott International's portfolio of nearly 4,500 hotels worldwide. The chain already has two hotels in the Republic in the Shelbourne Dublin and Powerscourt Hotel in Co Wicklow.
The announcement comes as China's Ministry of Commerce reviews Marriot Interational's acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts.
The takeover would make Marriott the biggest hotel group in the world with a total of over one million hotel rooms and overtaking Hilton Worldwide. Marriott International turned over more than $14bn (£10.65bn) in 2015.