Belfast. What can I say? An incredible city with a wealth of things to see and do. I had a day and a half to fit in the sights of the city.
My journey started with the SS Nomadic. We were greeted by a lady dressed in an authentic, sequinned gown and given an insight of life on Titanic’s little sister. This was followed by a tour of the event space at the Titanic Museum where one of the highlights included a replica of that infamous staircase. A fabulous focal point for any gala dinner!
Next up was a visit to T13 – a large, warehouse used for a variety of things including music videos, parties and upcoming reality TV shows. There we met the wonderful Zoe Ball and the gorgeous Ashley Banjo – lead dancer of Diversity.
From there we were taken to where I would be staying – the stunning, 5* Merchant Hotel. From the ornate, painted ceiling in the entrance, to the rooftop, cocktail bar, to the fine dining restaurant, to the professional, friendly staff and the onsite Christian Louboutin shop (!) this was a hotel where you would struggle to find a negative point.
Our next port of call was the Hilton Templepatrick. Here we were given a brief “chipping” lesson with their golf professional along with a tour of the conference facilities. With ten meeting rooms (holding a maximum of 500 delegates), a championship golf course and a spa it is easy to see why this venue is rated highly.
Our final venue of the day (before our dinner) was the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum. The title of the venue didn’t evoke much enthusiasm within me, but, my opinion certainly changed once I had seen the place. Among the highlights was the DeLorean car that I got to sit in and pretend to be Marty McFly!
Our evening consisted of a Gala dinner at the Belfast Waterfront – again another large and versatile conference venue with endless possibilities. Here we were treated to a Game of Thrones welcome, a three course dinner and some comedy and magic. A chance to mingle with employees from businesses all across Northern Ireland. The evening was nicely rounded off by a nightcap in the Dark Horse.
Breakfast the next morning was bright and early, after which we were whisked over to the Bedford Hotel for a “hard hat” tour. The venue – previously the Scottish Mutual building – has just been bought with plans to turn it into a boutique hotel with a Parisian theme. It was wonderful to look around a venue before work had started on it – I really hope I can visit again when it is complete to see what they have done.
Our final planned visit was of the Culloden Estate and Spa; what a stunning venue with amazing views. This hotel is definitely worth a visit. Among the highlights were the spa, the beautifully designed bedrooms and the wonderful general manager whose passion for the job shone through his words.
Over those short two days I fell in love with Belfast and the people who live there. I would urge anyone to go, it will not disappoint. Thank you Visit Belfast for the opportunity!
Written by Andrea Green, Venue Finding Coordinator