Belfast’s Grand Central Hotel has won a five-star rating from the AA, becoming just the fifth hotel in the province to currently bear the luxury hallmark.
The hotel was unveiled in 2018 by the family-run Hastings Hotels Group after an ambitious £53m conversion project on a 23-storey office block.
It now joins another Hastings venue, the Culloden Estate And Spa on the Co Down coast, in the five-star bracket, while Enniskillen’s Lough Erne Resort & Spa and Belfast’s Merchant and Fitzwilliam Hotels are the other Northern Ireland members in the five-star elite.
According to the Grand Central, the AA inspector’s report praised its “five-star service delivered by a friendly and engaging team”.
The inspector heaped praise on the property, remarking that “first impressions of the Hastings Grand Central are excellent, with a well-kept fascia in a highly accessible location”.
The AA added: “The diverse, spacious and versatile public areas present extremely well, having benefited from some serious investment. Bedrooms and bathrooms are equipped and furnished to a high standard.”
General manager Stephen Meldrum said: “We are thrilled to have been awarded a five-star rating by the AA and I would like to pay testament to every single member of staff, as it is because of them that this recognition has been made possible.
“It is great, not only for Hastings Hotels, but also for tourism in Northern Ireland as we continue to produce a first-class offering both in terms of the product and the people.
“When we opened the doors of the Grand Central in June 2018, we wanted to bring a different experience to Belfast and we have achieved that. From the very beginning we have provided a five-star proposition, so it is fantastic for this to have been made official.”
Janice Gault, chief executive of the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation (NIHF), said: “After a significant investment, Northern Ireland’s largest hotel, Grand Central Hotel Belfast, has been awarded five-star status by the AA, a recognition of the property’s standard and a classification that is recognised by guests globally.
“Star ratings from respected inspecting organisations still resonate with prospective customers and form part of the decision-making process. They are an indicator of the type of experience the guest expects.
“It is important that there is a wide range of properties on offer, something for everyone, to help customers make a choice that best suits their needs and budget.
“The NIHF congratulates the team at Grand Central Hotel Belfast on achieving five-star status, recognising the hotel as a landmark destination in Belfast.”
The Grand Central’s Seahorse restaurant has also been awarded an AA Rosette. The hotel is also renowned for its Observatory cocktail bar on the 23rd floor and its panoramic views over Belfast.