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Merchant Hotel 5.0

Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Grand hotel with a mix of Victorian and Art Deco decor
  • In the centre of Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter
  • Large gym with a sauna and posh rooftop hot tub
  • Fine dining and afternoon tea at The Great Room restaurant
  • Two bars, with one awarded a “world’s best” title for classic cocktails
  • Live jazz every afternoon and evening at Bert's Bar
  • Champagne lounge and on-site nightclub
  • Hotel shop is Belfast’s sole stockest of Christian Louboutin shoes
  • Free Wi-Fi

Cons

  • Guest rooms can get noise from the surrounding bars
  • Combination of styles and various bars and restaurants can feel like overload

Bottom Line

Located in the heart of Belfast, The Merchant is grand and stylish, combining Victorian elegance with a modern Jazz Age vibe. There are several options for dining and drinks, including The Great Room, which serves a traditional afternoon tea, and Bert’s Bar, which has live jazz every night. Light sleepers might be wary of a hotel that provides earplugs to muffle noise from surrounding bars, particularly in some ground-floor rooms. Rates are in the splurge range, but that’s to be expected from the only five-star hotel in the city center — especially one that sells haute couture shoes in the gift shop. Travelers wanting a cheaper boutique hotel in the city center might try The Fitzwilliam Hotel, which has funky yet very modern decor.

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Scene

Old-fashioned Victorian grandeur combined with 1920s-inspired modern style

Housed in the former Ulster Bank headquarters, built in 1857, the hotel has Victorian bones but a modern feel thanks to Art Deco touches. An imposing, columned facade leads to a marble entranceway with lime green velvet curtains. Inside, the lobby and hallways are decked out with lavenders, pinks, and glossy blacks, plenty of mirrors, and attractive seating areas with throne-like velvet chairs and colorful modern art. Restaurants, too, feel opulent: The Great Room restaurant has ornate plasterwork and red velvet chairs, while Bert’s Bar sticks to a 1920s American speakeasy vibe, with red banquettes and a coffered wooden ceiling. Above it all is a stylish rooftop fitness center with an outdoor hot tub overlooking the city.

Location

In the center of Belfast, near restaurants and historic buildings

Map of Merchant Hotel

The Merchant is located in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter, so-called because of the nearby St. Anne's Cathedral. There are many restaurants and bars, as well as historic buildings -- including the Albert Memorial Clock at Queen's Square, and Belfast's oldest public buildings, The Assembly Rooms at the Four Corners, built in the late 1770s. From the front of the hotel, the iconic Harland & Wolff cranes are visible. The Corn Market is two blocks away, and Belfast City Hall, with its impressive stained-glass windows, is a 10-minute walk.

Rooms

Large and luxurious, with a choice between Victorian and Art Deco styles

The 62 air-conditioned rooms are split into two styles: Victorian and Art Deco. Victorian-style rooms have velvet throws and silk curtains, and large en-suite bathrooms with tub/rain-shower combos and travertine marble walls. The more modern, Art-Deco-style rooms are done up in pastels and black, with special touches like Le Corbusier chairs -- plus, marble-walled bathrooms complete with turquoise tiles, bathtubs, and separate, stall showers. All rooms have mini-fridges, robes and slippers, safes, and hairdryers. The flat-screen TVs offer free movies and stories read by actor James Nesbitt. Some rooms, especially on the ground floor, can get noise from the nearby bars, and the hotel provides earplugs.

Features

Restaurant with afternoon tea, bar with live jazz, luxurious spa

The Merchant is fully equipped for dining and drinking, with a restaurant, two bars, a champagne lounge, and a night club. The Great Room Restaurant serves upscale French-inspired cuisine for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch -- many non-guests come for afternoon tea and live classical music from Friday through Sunday. Bert’s Bar, which serves classic cocktails and French bistro food, has live jazz every night and afternoon -- the bar was once voted “World’s Best Hotel Bar” in the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards. The hotel spa has five private treatment rooms and a luxurious hydro-pool, as well as a rock sauna and steam room. A rooftop hot tub, which accommodates eight people, sets the hotel's modern gym apart. Christian Louboutin shoes are for sale in the hotel boutique.

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Address

16 Skipper Street, Belfast BT1 2DZ, United Kingdom

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