Hastings Hotels is delighted to announce its reopening after a much anticipated wait. From tomorrow, Friday 3rd July, Northern Ireland’s top luxury hotels return to a ‘new normal’ ensuring guests are met with maximum safety and comfort throughout their stay. A brand new ‘Peace of Mind’ policy has been brought into place to provide all guests with the brand’s renowned high-end service whilst still abiding with all social distancing and hygiene measures.
After a long pause on travel and hospitality in Northern Ireland all seven of the hotels from the family owned company are welcoming staycation guests for a long-awaited break. Visitors to Hastings Hotels can enjoy a safe and fulfilling stay from the following dates:
Grand Central Hotel Belfast – 3rd July
Ballygally Castle – 3rd July
Slieve Donard Resort & Spa – 3rd July
Stormont Hotel Belfast – 3rd July
Culloden Estate & Spa – 17th July
Everglades Hotel Belfast – 14th August
Europa Hotel Belfast– 26th August
Why Northern Ireland?
Stepping off the mainland was once a distant memory during the period of lockdown, but as restrictions ease and the appetite to travel grows, Northern Ireland returns as an appealing spot with as an easy-to-get-to location. Catching a short flight to this nearby haven is once again possible from multiple UK airports and for those wishing to steer clear of flying a little longer, the option of ferry transport is available from Liverpool to Belfast, avoiding airports, tight security measures and potential crowding. Enjoy a stress-free staycation without having to worry about changing currency or packing your passport (pound sterling and ID required).
Landing in Northern Ireland, you are always met with a warm and friendly welcome, but that’s not all this place has to offer. Northern Ireland is arguably a must-see destination with legendary natural attractions, such as the mystical World Heritage-listed Giant’s Causeway and newer arrivals such as Belfast Titanic. Hiring a car is an excellent option allowing visitors to enjoy the beautiful beaches, dunes and rolling waves at Portrush where, if feeling brave, can take yourself for a dip. An easy 10-minute drive west and you can stroll through the picturesque village of Bushmills, bringing you to the ruined medieval Dunluce Castle perched precipitously on the cliff edge.
Memorable Activities and Experiences
Recently, waves of tourists have been embarking on a trip to Northern Ireland to cast their eye on 20 key filming locations from Game of Thrones, celebrating this ever popular and successful TV series. With much of the filming taking place in Belfast and across various locations in Northern Ireland, two of Hastings’ fabulous properties, Slieve Donard Resort & Spa and Ballygally Castle are ideally located to explore these key sites and channel their favourite characters. An incredible private excursion to Winterfell is included in the package allowing guests to walk in the footsteps of Tyrion Lannister and Jon Snow. That isn’t the only TV tour on offer – Hastings Hotels has unleashed a brand new tour package experience devoted to the smash hit Channel 4 show, Derry Girls, where visitors can walk through the life of a true Derry Girl, visit key scenes during the Walled City Walking Tour, hear about life in the Bodside during the troubles from an expert local guide and finally treat themselves to a Derry Girls inspired afternoon tea.*
Calling all foodies… Because Northern Irish dishes are worth talking about. From traditional tastes such as Ulster fry and The Comber Potato, to food from Northern Ireland’s waters, there’s a lot of heritage and delicious recipes ready to be shared. Starting with Potato Apple Bread – this delicacy from Armagh County, famous for its apples, is widely appreciated. It consists of mashed potatoes, cored and sliced apples, sugar, salt, flour, and butter… Simple, but highly effective. Next, we can’t not mention Irish stew, a traditional folk dish that first appeared at the beginning of the 19th century developed out of necessity to make a meal out of available and leftover ingredients – but don’t go thinking this dish is slap-dash… This dish is so delicious it can be found on the menus of most Irish restaurants throughout the year. With many delicious foods to mention; Champ, Irish Oysters, Barmbrack and Vegetable Roll we can only recommend guests visit to try for themselves. And if not tempted enough, why not finish it off with a Bushmills whisky? Boasting prestigious centuries-old distilling heritage, Bushmills exports to cosy traditional pubs all over Northern Ireland. Visitors can also take part in a Bushmills tour with Hastings Hotels.
Born out of Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland wouldn’t be what it is today without its colourful combination of characters. There are many familiar faces to come from this diverse land that’s worth getting to know. A lot of patriotism and pride comes from Northern Ireland’s golf scene, since seven major titles have been brought home to date with a notable mention for four-time major winner Rory Mcllroy. Upon return to Northern Ireland, he can often be spotted pottering around at his home course of Holywood Golf Club where he’s celebrated with memorabilia, awards and photographs throughout the grounds.
Television presenter, likely to be known from her appearances on Rip off Britain and Loose Women, Gloria Hunniford is a Northern Ireland gem. In 2019 she was named in a new guide of the most influential people from around the world called the Who’s Who guide for 2020. She was awarded an OBE for her charity work through the Caron Keating Foundation, she set up in memory of her daughter, which helps breast-screening services nationwide.
As the successful list goes on, other noteworthy Northern Ireland-born mentions go to Jamie Dorman, actor and model ranked 25 Biggest Male Models of All Time” by Vogue in 2015; Gary Lightbody, best known as the lead singer and rhythm guitarist of Snow Patrol; and the man with “a very particular set of skills, skills (he has) acquired over a very long career”, Taken star himself, Liam Neeson.
Slieve Donard Resort & Spa
Nestling at the foot of the Mountains of Mourne, the Slieve Donard Resort and Spa stands in six acres of immaculate private grounds and is a top choice for those seeking an active break immersed in an idyllic location. A golden strand of beach borders one side while the mighty Royal County Down Golf Links frames the other. This lovingly maintained Victorian hotel is now home to one of Europe’s finest resort spas and is equally suited to a short relaxing break or activity fuelled getaway. Just 30 miles south of Belfast and 90 miles north of Dublin, the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa is the perfect choice for touring and sightseeing, and although guests may never want to venture away from the sumptuous luxury and exquisite surroundings, there is a range of must-visit local attractions all within close proximity to the hotel.