For a city that grew up along the lough, making the most of its aquatic origins is still a work in progress. Titanic Quarter, with Titanic Belfast, HMS Caroline and the SSE Arena, is at the forefront of this development, but across the lough are emerging new buildings and public promenades embracing their riverside façade.
And for visitors craving a waterfront view, the Marriott's stylish AC Hotel Belfast is the place to berth. This purpose-built overnight option opened in April 2018 and overlooks Belfast Lough and the Titanic Quarter. The contemporary building makes the most of its location with floor to ceiling windows swathing the exterior. While inside, cosy seating, art books and modern sculptures dominate the minimalist-chic communal space.
Food & Drink
Grab a seat at Novelli at City Quays ground floor restaurant where multi-Michelin-starred chef Jean-Christophe Novelli has curated a menu inspired by his favourite French and Mediterranean food. Lunch, Afternoon Tea and Dinner provide day to night pit-stops in a contemporary, sun-steeped setting. And in fairer weather, the outdoor terrace delivers a pew with a view at every hour.
Come the evening, expect such epicurean delights as succulent Seared Scallop, melt-on the-mouth Confit Duck and a Loin of Sugar Pit Pork that positively oozes flavour. And complete your meal with an indulgent, but oh so worth it Chocolate Strawberry Clafoutis or Candied Cointreau Crème Brûlée Catalan. What a treat! Veggie, vegan and kids menus ensure everyone’s appetites are satiated in style.
The bar’s elegant cocktails and bottles of fizz make the perfect al fresco tipple to toast its riverside vista. And the hotel’s proximity to the SSE Arena has the restaurant and bar sitting pretty for a pre-concert meal or drink before gentle strolling across the nearby footbridge to the venue’s Titanic Quarter home.
And so to bed...
When the sun kisses the lough and it’s time to retire to your boudoir, standard and superior queen, king and twin rooms and a one bedroom suite beckon with their calming neutral tones and comfy pillows. Again, those full height windows welcome in the views, whether cityscape or river-facing. Each room also features spacious double showers (steady), a Nespresso coffee maker (what else?) and Smart TVs with Chromecast so you can stream from your own devices. And with eight storeys and 188 rooms, you’re guaranteed a great Insta moment.
Out and about
As well as its proximity to Titanic Quarter, the AC Marriott is also a short saunter to the city centre’s shops, sightseeing, restaurants and nightlife. One particular tour you should definitely experience is the Titanic Boat Tour (don’t worry, this one stays afloat). Owned and operated by the Lagan Boat Company, these unique tours take in the birthplace of RMS Titanic and show Belfast Lough’s very own wildlife; keep an eye out for a seal or two.
To find the boats, turn left from the hotel and walk a few metres to the Obel (Ireland’s highest building) to find the Titanic Boat Tours Ticket Shop. Their jetty is just the other side of the skyscraper beside the Big Fish sculpture. Alternatively, book ahead at laganboatcompany.com then head straight for the jetty.
If you're arriving by car, discounted parking is available across the road at an NCP Car Park. The public transport Glider bus is a couple of minutes' walk away, and an info screen in the foyer displays the latest departure times for Titanic Quarter and beyond.
As new hotels go, what the AC Hotel Belfast offers is an unrivalled waterfront setting with the city right on its doorstep. Stylish yet welcoming, and with very friendly and helpful staff, its Belfast arrival is something to be celebrated and experienced.
To book your stay contact AC Hotel Belfast, Donegall Quay, Belfast BT1 3FE, tel. (+44) (0)28 9531 3180, achotelbelfast.com. Check online for latest room rates.