Fodor's Expert Review The Merchant Hotel

16 Skipper St., Belfast, Co. Down, BT1 2DY, Northern Ireland Fodor's Choice

A mix of glorious Victorian grandeur and Art Deco–inspired modernity, this hotel—regarded by some as Ireland's most spectacular—was built as the headquarters of Ulster Bank in the mid-19th century and still leads the way in style and sophistication. Once past the exuberantly Italianate facade, made of formidable Giffnock sandstone and crowned with a dramatic group of sculptures, you are greeted with a marble riot of tall urns, fruit, foliage designs, and plump ebullient cherubs on show, climaxing in the magnificent Great Room restaurant (the former banking hall) with Ireland's biggest chandelier. Upstairs, the ornate guest rooms come with antique furnishings, works of art, rich fabrics, and enormous flat-screen TVs. Children can hear a recorded bedtime story, "The Children of Lir," specially narrated for the hotel by Northern Irish actor James Nesbitt. There's an underground spa with five treatment rooms and a champagne nail bar; afterward, repair to the cool Bert's Jazz Bar, which serves French bistro–style food—ranging from moules frites to chateaubriand—in an informal setting. Sink into the rooftop hot tub or while you work out in the gym enjoy panoramic views over the city skyline.

Best value room rates are available through online booking via the hotel website.


  • super-helpful staff
  • fabulous gym and spa
  • discounted off-street parking available just steps away


  • elevator occasionally unreliable
  • Wi-Fi access intermittent in some rooms
  • labyrinthine corridors




Phones: 028-9023–4888


67 rooms
Rate Includes: Free Breakfast

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