This review of the Hilton Belfast is the fifth in a series of six posts about my December 2019/January 2020 trip to Dublin and Belfast. My last post, covering the Giant’s Causeway and my exploration of Western Belfast, is available here. Note: this trip was taken before the COVID-19 pandemic, and thus may reflect a very different world than we are facing now.
For several reasons, I’m only going to do a quick review of the Hilton Belfast. One of the weird things about my stay is that the hotel was about half-renovated. There wasn’t construction which I noticed, but it felt like different areas of the hotel were in different eras. Hopefully by the time you go there, the renovation will be done.
The Hilton Belfast is on the edge of the city center, in an office park area near the Lanyon Place train station, on the way into town. The immediate area isn’t particularly charming, though close to St. George’s Market, but it’s easy enough to walk anywhere in the city center, and also to the Titanic Quarter- all of which I did, covered here.
The lobby is one of the parts of the hotel that hadn’t been renovated. It seemed like it was the original from the 1990s when the property was built, and the furniture was dated and showing some wear and tear. The lobby did also have a display showing renderings of the renovation, and, when complete, it looked like it will be an extraordinarily posh property. The bar off one side of the lobby has been renovated already, and seemed nice.
The agent at check-in was very friendly, and informed me I had been upgraded to a King Executive room as a Diamond member. The room was fine. It was on the 11th Floor, and I don’t know if it actually had been renovated. The hallways on the 11th floor were certainly not, as I could see other floors had been renovated to match the new design scheme. The main part of the room seemed like it had been recently refreshed, though no outlets near the bed. The room had a king-size bed, and nice views into the city. There were two bottles of water and a coffee/tea service.
The bathroom, however, had seen better days. The design was very old-school, and there was some mold on the shower head. There was a piece of plastic on the wall where there clearly had formerly been a phone.
One thing that was weird about the hotel is that, unlike any Hilton I’ve ever heard of, it completely shuts down from December 24 through 26, and has limited services the week after when it reopens. It was particularly surprising given how busy the hotel and Belfast actually were when I arrived on the 29th.
The hours of the facilities when I stayed were fine for my purposes. The lounge was on the same floor as my room, and was not renovated. It was pretty crowded and cramped.
I only went for the evening cocktail hour, where there was a full bar, but very little food. They would bring out one bowl of hot food at a time, and it would be gone in minutes. The first night, the two dishes were grilled cheese bites and wings, and the second night they were egg rolls and chicken satay. There was also some bread, hummus and cheese, and tortilla chips. A new lounge is coming and that will be good.
Breakfast was served at the Sonoma restaurant – a weird name for Belfast, I think. The restaurant had been renovated, and was a really nice space. There was a fairly standard buffet, which I had full access to as a diamond member. You could also order eggs, which I did on one of my two days.
The gym was small but functional.
The staff overall was friendly, and even helped me mail a letter by running it through their machine. I’d stay here again.
Up next: the conclusion of my trip, flying from Dublin to DC via London.