Europa Hotel, Belfast
It is known as the "most bombed hotel in Europe" and the "most bombed hotel in the world" after having suffered 36 bomb attacks during the Troubles.
As of late 2008, the hotel has 272 bedrooms following major refurbishment, including 92 executive suites. On the ground floor there are the lobby bar and the causerie restaurant, first floor are the Piano Bar lounge The hotel also has a conference and exhibition center, 16 flexible conference and banqueting suites, as well as a 12th-floor penthouse suite.
The hotel, designed by architects Sydney Kaye, Eric Firkin & Partners, opened in July 1971. It was built on the site of the former Great Northern Railway station and stands 51 metres high. During The Troubles, the hotel, where most journalists covering the Troubles stayed, was known as Europe’s most bombed hotel, earning the name "the Hardboard Hotel". The hotel was blown up by the Provisional IRA in 1993 and damaged so badly that it sold for only £4.4m.
The Europa Hotel became part of the Hastings Hotels group on 3 August 1993, whereupon it was announced that it would close for the first time in its 22-year history to allow for major refurbishment. Following an £8m investment, the hotel reopened in February 1994. Its first official event was the Flax Trust Ball, a gala evening for 500 local and international dignitaries. President Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton stayed in the hotel in November 1995; the suite used by the Clintons was subsequently renamed the Clinton Suite. The presidential entourage booked 110 rooms at the hotel.
Started in early 2008, an extension to the hotel increased the height of a rear wing by seven floors, to twelve floors, and increased bedrooms from 240 to 272. The extension was designed by Robinson McIlwaine Architects and was completed late in 2008.
The following people have served as General Manager of the hotel.
- 1971–1984: Harper Brown
- 1984–1986: John O'Carroll
- 1993–2003: John Toner
- 2003– : James McGinn
In popular culture
- Two series of a BBC documentary series Lobby Lives were filmed at the hotel.
- The Europa Hotel – Bombs, Bullets and Business as Usual (26 September 2011) is an hour-long documentary aired on BBC1 Northern Ireland. Produced and Directed by Richard Weller, the documentary tracked those eventful 40 years through the eyes of a diverse array of contributors.
- In the BBC TV programme Great British Railway Journeys (Series 3, Episode 24), Michael Portillo visited the hotel and stayed in the room occupied by US President Bill Clinton in 1995.
- In Sons of Anarchy, season 3, episode 11 ("Bainne"), the couple who adopted Abel stays at and is assassinated at the Europa Hotel, Belfast.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Europa Hotel, Belfast.|
- "Europa Hotel, Belfast". Europa Hotel website. Retrieved 10 August 2010.
- "Appeal for stories of the 'most bombed hotel in Europe'". BBC News. 31 January 2011. Retrieved 19 March 2011.
- Heydari, Farhad (12 September 2007). "Ten hotels that made history". Forbes Traveler. Retrieved 19 March 2011.
- "Europa Hotel". Skyscraper News. Retrieved 10 August 2010.
- "Hillary Clinton suffers 'mis-speaking' relapse with Belfast bomb claims". The Times (David Sharrock, 19 October 2009). London. 19 October 2009. Retrieved 10 August 2010.
- "History". Europa Hotel website. Retrieved 10 August 2010.