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Small Belfast hotel one of UK's best places to stay, says Tripadvisor

By John Mulgrew

A quaint and unassuming small Belfast hotel has again been named as one of the UK's top places to stay.

Despite being located in the unlikely surroundings of a Botanic Avenue side street, Tara Lodge is continuing to win over visitors.

It has now been awarded Tripadvisor's Travellers Choice Award 2016.

That makes it one of the top 25 places to stay in the UK.

The hotel is run by general manager Nora Douds and Pauline McCullough, who will replace Ms Douds in the role later this year.

"Every year Tripadvisor collates the reviews we get before deciding on the top 25," Ms McCullough explained.

"Tara Lodge came in at number 19 this year.

"We are completely over the Moon.

"We have worked our socks off to get it back. In doing so, we have won pretty much every hospitality award."

The hotel employs 17 staff.

It also made the top 25 list in 2013.

Tara Lodge has won a host of other awards over the last few years, including being named Northern Ireland's top bed and breakfast establishment, an honour it has retained since 2007.

Established in 1999, it is owned by Conor O'Donnell. Rooms in the four-star establishment are priced at between £60 and £100 a night.

And the secret to Tara Lodge's success?

Ms McCullough said: "We rarely ever get a bad review, and it's a great place to work.

"Everyone is invested in it, and there's no negative atmosphere. And we have great guests. "We are in the middle of a massive refurbishment, and even in the midst of that we are getting fantastic reviews."

The hotel has updated the technology in its rooms, which now include Smart televisions.

But the owner has no aspirations of growing the 34-bedroom, three-storey operation any further.

"The size and scale will stay the same, and we will focus on what we do best," said Ms McCullough.

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