Top 5 Popular Hotels in Belfast

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Of course I love the North, as it’s where I come from. But does the natural hospitality of Northerners come through in its hotels? In this article, I consider 5 of the most popular hotels in Belfast by bookings and provide a very honest take on the pros and cons of each of these locations from 2* star to 5*!

Etap Hotel – 2*

The Etap brand is one of the cheapest brands from Accor Hotels, but does that make it the worst? This Etap Hotel is situated on the Dublin Road in the centre of Belfast, between two more popular areas (Cathedral Quarter and Queens Quarter) and it’s on a stretch known for louder pubs. I found the staff to be very welcoming and polite, making me feel at home.

The room was budget, functional, with bright greens and navy blues. The bed was firm and comfortable and the pillows weren’t on the fluffier end of the spectrum.

Some will find the shower unit and sink being IN the room as problematic, particularly if you are sharing with a friend rather than a partner or solo. The toilet is, thankfully, behind a door.

There were quite a few maintenance issues, not least this broken lock intended to stop people from leaning out to smoke (or fall out).


  • Warm Welcome
  • Cooked Breakfast


  • Unclean floor & walls
  • Black mould in the window
  • Broken window lock

Ireton Hotel – 3*

When you think “hotel”, you may well think hotel reception, a warm welcome, and a comfortable room. Despite some really positive reviews on the usual sites, I found the Ireton lacking in any reception or discernible welcome. The front door bell calls a staff member in a different building who took some time to come over. His interest was in being paid, and the property did not (at the time I visited) accept credit cards, which is hard to believe, but was true.

The room was small, which is fine, but suffered from minor maintenance issues that were frustrating because they could so easily have been fixed. There were considerable stains down the wall where someone had spilled a can of soda.

The view from the window was over trash cans with further smells coming from a large restaurant vent. The curtains were simply hanging off the rail. I fixed this for them.

It’s hard to think of any good reason to stay here so I am providing no price comparison option.


  • Location is near Queen’s University, Belfast


  • Maintenance issues
  • Lack of welcome

Ramada Hotel – 3*

It’s funny how a past experience can put you off a brand name. Many years ago, I stayed at a Ramada in Dallas, Texas, which had an infestation of crickets! I’ve struggled to find redemption for Ramadas the world over ever since, but the Belfast incarnation *might* just have done that!

This is listed as a 3* hotel, on the fringes of the (desirable) Cathedral Quarter which is known for restaurants and great cocktail bars (try Muriel’s Café Bar or the cocktail bar at the Merchant Hotel).

I would rate this at more than a 3-star hotel, given the Ireton falls into that same category. The welcome was warm, the rooms were fabulous and we were gifted with a *welcome suitcase* containing drinks, crisps and some of the amenities normally left in the bathroom.

Breakfast here was the full Ulster fry and it was absolutely delicious. This hotel was a 10/10 experience for me, AND I got a deal for under £50 per room.

I’d go back in a flash.


  • Comfortable, clean room
  • Great location
  • Free upgrade


  • Squeaky floor (it’s all I could find).

Malmaison Hotel – 4*

The Malmaison is a 4 star hotel which was established near the Cathedral Quarter of Belfast almost before that area became the cool place for visitors to hang out. It has something of the established cool aunt about it. I’ve enjoyed staying here for a few years.

Aspects of the hotel are so comfortable (the beds are to die for) and a few details warrant correction: especially the seeming film of dust which gets everywhere. I don’t know if it’s the consequence of building work or something else, but it was enough for me to notice.

I had a super grumpy restaurant manager for my breakfast service which rather broke the spell of an otherwise welcoming and vibrant front desk team.

If you’re intending to pay extra for breakfast (it was included in my rate), it is expensive and you should choose wisely. The potato hash brown tater tots were not good, but the sausages were great.

Overall, a touch more attention to cleaning and you’d have a really great 4 star product.


  • Generous rooms
  • Comfortable bed
  • A little bit cool


  • A film of dust
  • Super grumpy restaurant manager
  • Parking is a walk

Merchant Hotel – 5*

The Merchant Hotel carries ALL the cachet of being the coolest hotel in Belfast. It’s right in the centre of the Cathedral Quarter, has a fantastic cocktail bar on site, has an interesting dinner venue in the atrium and also has its own pub on the corner, offering a bistro-style lunch and dinner alongside proper pints.

We visited for a friend’s 50th birthday party and had a corner suite (I think it’s called a Junior Suite – Art Deco). You have to be SO careful to book a deal at the Merchant if you’re on a budget, because otherwise it’s in such high demand, prices regularly top £500 a night. However, by shopping carefully for a mid-week adventure, you CAN get a double room for as little as £229 (including taxes) with a free bottle of Prosecco.

The bathroom is spectacular. I wish I had had time for a lingering bath…


  • Fabulous location, great staff
  • Delicious Breakfast
  • Everything you want IN the hotel


  • Corner suites can get some road noise
  • Can be pricy for extras

Don’t forget to check out the video associated with this article here:

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I'm Patrick, your Irish guide to the skies and beyond. With 58 countries visited, my journeys have taken me from busy economy to fabulous first-class.

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