Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Prime location near the Peace Bridge on the River Foyle
City Hotel Derry has an excellent location on the River Foyle, just up the street from the Peace Bridge and within walking distance of the city walls.
Derry is a city in transition. It's most famous -- or infamous, rather -- for the Bloody Sunday massacre in 1972, when the British Army fired upon 26 unarmed protestors, killing 14. Even the name of the city reflects the deep-rooted tension between the city's Protestant unionists (who generally want to remain a part of the UK) and Catholic nationalists (who want to be part of a united Ireland): The city is alternately called Londonderry and Derry, which can be confusing for visitors unfamiliar with the city's history. But Derry is struggling to break free of its violent past to become a major tourist destination in Northern Ireland. Signs of this transformation are everywhere, but are best demonstrated by the Peace Bridge across the River Foyle opened in 2011, linking mostly unionist East Derry to mostly nationalist West Derry; and the Hands Across the Divide sculpture, symbolizing reconciliation.
Though some friction does remain (some anti-nationalist wall graffiti looked recent), many citizens here seem ready to move on. The English Prime Minister's apology for Bloody Sunday in 2010 went a long way toward healing old wounds, and the fact that Derry was named the UK City of Culture for 2013 -- a year of cultural celebration with events focusing on drama, music, visual arts, and more -- is an indication of just how far things have come.
The 146-room City Hotel Derry is a contemporary, upscale hotel with a prime location on the River Foyle just up the street from the Peace Bridge. It's got all the features you'd expect from a four-pearl hotel -- a fitness center, restaurant, bar, even an indoor pool -- though some may find the decor a bit generic. Rooms do have stylish accents, such as bold pops of color, as well as free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and tea and coffee facilities; Family Rooms provide flexible sleeping arrangements. Bathrooms are pretty basic, however, with white tile and shower/tub combos. All in all, it's a solid pick for both business and leisure travelers, and the central location is hard to top.