Belfast – The New Milan??

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Posted by Chris

Belfast? Milan? I can hear your doubtful minds from my room  (well, its the Clinton Suite to be precise – where President Clinton and the first lady stayed when they were in Belfast during the ‘troubles’, but one doesn’t like to brag) here at the famous Europa Hotel.  Well I had a bit of a hard time believing it myself, but I can honestly say that the Belfast that I see today is a far, far cry from the city that I visited for the first time twelve years ago when things here weren’t exactly so rosy.

Chic boutiques, amazingly cosmopolitan bars and celebrity chef restaurants have taken over the city. Add in the amazingly warm welcome and the fantastic architecture (the City Hall is probably one of the best examples of its period in the UK) and I really believe that you have a city break destination that has it

I arrived early evening yesterday and walked to the traditional Christmas market, if you ignored the Northern Irish accents you could have been in Munich.  Then, I had a walk around the main shops expecting a typical British selection of M&S, Boots and maybe a Zara but not much else – boy was I surprised, yes … the high streets names were there but side by side with some of the nicest little finds selling everything from designer clothes to fantastic modern art.  Needless to say, I spent a small fortune and may need to buy a new case to get it all back to York.

This morning I ventured to The Culloden Hotel and Spa just outside of the city overlooking the sea.  What an amazing property, no wonder all the stars stay here.  The Spa (using ESPA products) is one of the best I have seen in the world and the bedrooms, views and restaurant are to die for – the best thing, it really is great value.  So good in fact that I am going to fly back in January to stay for the weekend.

Back to work for me now, more hotels to visit – watch this space for news of some new properties we are going to be working with in the city soon.

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