Belfast, Northern Ireland

November 29th, 2010 4:53 pm

During our recent trip to Ireland, we headed North to explore the rural Ireland, rather than South, where most tourist guides will direct you. First, we explored Dublin. Then, we drove up. As the capital of Northern Ireland, Belfast is a relatively young city (in European history), which grew extensively in the Victorian times. Hence, its versatile Victorian architecture next to Art Deco and contemporary, full of glass and metal structures.

Cloudier, colder and less approachable, so it seemed at first, Belfast can not compete with Dublin.

However, it too brings something unique to the table, that makes for a worth-while tourist destination. From a massive and architecturally rich City Hall, Linen Hall Library, Royal Courts of Justice and numerous churches and cathedrals, through the beautiful and famous Opera House, to more casual night life, Belfast does offer it all.
We chose to stay at a recently remodeled, 4star hotel, internationally known as a numerous and unfortunate bombing target. No serious and life-threatening happening took place during our stay. Thank God. The Europa Hotel, located right beside the Opera House on Great Victoria Street in the center of Belfast, offers luxurious accommodations and dining experiences. Guests can choose from a casual cocktail lounge called Lobby Bar, to an afternoon tea room with an array of specialty coffees and snacks in the Piano Bar and Lounge, or a fine dining Causerie Restaurant.

The lobby, even though fairly large, provides a minimal lounge area. Two small seating pods flanking the fireplace are a bit too small for 12 floors of guest rooms. Comfortable and cozy, nonetheless. The tea room, located right above the lobby, provides another sitting and lounge area, though in a much more upscale manner.

Our room was an upgrade and it rocked.

A large comfortable bed with white linens and contemporary throw pillows and an accent throw at the foot of the bed. The soothing color scheme allowed for maximum relaxation. I really enjoyed the warm wood tones contrasted by a settle lavender and cool taupe paint colors, fun textiles and an organic carpet pattern.

As  much as we liked the bedroom, we instantly fell in love with the bathroom. Welcome to the top class, luxury and functionality combined, bathing & showering extravaganza.

Outfitted in large scale marble and porcelain tiles, the space was kept monochromatic but high-end. A giant wood-framed mirror accentuated the size of the bathroom, and the ledge below it functioned as an architectural detail as well as a surface for toiletries. We didn’t miss a traditional counter top. It was nice to have both shower and a tub. A little bit of color was introduced in the  decorative glass panel embedded in the wall between the two spaces. Motion-censored lights were a bit of pain, especially during a longer bath-soaking experience.

I must say, we loved the high end amenities of the Europa. What we struggled with was the attitude of the staff and locals. Somehow the Irish represent a much higher level of hospitality and friendliness, which is lost when you cross the Ireland/UK border. Nonetheless, we had a blast, and would recommend Europa to others.

One Response to “Belfast, Northern Ireland”

  1. Nancy says:

    Very useful, thank you for your help.

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