Plans for the new europa hotel £4m extension unveiled
Plans have been unveiled for a £4m extension at the Europa Hotel in Belfast which Hastings Group said would make it the largest hotel in Northern Ireland.
Work is due to start in the New Year on the revamp, which will add 33 new executive rooms to the hotel, producing a total room count of 273.
Dr Billy Hastings, chairman of Hastings Hotels, said all 240 existing rooms had recently been modernised at a cost of £350,000 per floor.
Alvin Schuster, former London correspondent for the New York Times, is pictured left being welcomed back to Belfast after a 30-year absence by Gerry Lennon of the Belfast Visitor and Convention Bureau, and Dr Billy Hastings.
Dr Hastings said: "In addition to the upgrade and renovations of bedrooms, the hotel's legendary Brasserie will be re-branded as a Causerie, a large open kitchen, which will front onto Glengall Street."
The Europa will face increased competition in the next few years, with four new hotels currently under construction in the city centre and due to open in 2009.
News of the Europa development was released as Hastings Group announced that the Europa - once notorious for being the most bombed hotel in Europe - said it had achieved record occupancy rates in July and August.
Dr Hastings said the lack of sunshine had not put a dampener on business at the Europa, which had attracted visitors all over the world.
This success, he said, had been mirrored at the group's five other hotels, all of which had experienced "fantastic" levels of business.
Gerry Lennon, chief executive of Belfast Visitor and Convention Bureau said new direct flights were boosting tourist numbers in the city.