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Mapped: The UK’s future hotel supply 2018-2021

Hamish Kilburn

Commercial property specialists Savoy Stewart predicts the rise in UK hotel development between now and 2021…

As the industry gears up to this year’s Brit List, which will recognise and celebrate Britain’s best interior designs, hoteliers and architects, a report by commercial property specialist Savoy Stewart suggests that the UK will remain an international hotel design hub as figures suggest major growth in tier two cities in particular.

Last year, the proportion of new build hotels in the UK rose by 37 per cent, which reflects 2.4 per cent growth in the UK hotel supply.

In 2018, new build hotel growth in Britain has continued its upward trajectory. Per Knight Frank’s report UK Hotel Development Opportunities 2018, projected forecasts proclaim the UK hotel market will grow by 3.3 per cent this year, eclipsing 2017 and equating to over 21,000 new hotel rooms. In fact, more than 5,200 new hotel rooms opened during the first six months of 2018 and a further 15,000 hotel rooms have been in the works since then.

“Belfast has experienced the largest increase in new hotel supply.”

Such extensive growth in new build hotels is, after all, fuelling the pace of hotel development across the UK. To achieve this, Savoy Stewart analysed Knight Frank’s Hotel Development Opportunities report in depth, to pull the facts together and present a picture of what the future hotel supply will look like in the next three years (2018 to 2021.)

Belfast has experienced the largest increase in new hotel supply and hotels under construction (as a % of supply) in 2018 – at 34 per cent. Meanwhile, Glasgow (18 per cent) and Manchester (17 per cent) have experienced healthy growth in new hotel supply and hotels under construction in 2018 too.

“London aside, Manchester holds the next highest total of new rooms in the pipeline.”

Comparatively, Hull has experienced the smallest increase in new hotel supply and hotels under construction (as a % of supply) in 2018 – at 2 per cent. Meanwhile, Newcastle (7 per cent) and Leeds (8 per cent) have experienced similar, slow levels of growth in new hotel supply and hotels under construction in 2018.

Future Hotel Supply 2018-2021

In terms of rooms in the pipeline/under construction (2018-2021), it may come as no surprise that London will see the highest number of new rooms developing in the future – at 14,699. The capital accounts for 40 per cent of the development pipeline of hotels under construction in the UK.

London aside, Manchester holds the next highest total of new rooms in the pipeline, with an impressive 2,895 expected, followed closely by Edinburgh with 2,122. With the successful regeneration, transformation and reshaping of several UK cities, largely through joint public/private initiatives and institutional investment; targeted hotel development in key UK cities has been the driving force behind such growth. Manchester is a prime example.

Tier two cities such as Glasgow (1,431), Birmingham (1,371) and Liverpool (1,161) will follow suit, with considerable numbers of new rooms in the pipeline over the next few years.

At the other end of the scale, with far fewer new rooms forecast 2018-2021 is Bath (225), Southampton (209) and Gloucester with 128. East Yorkshire’s port city, Hull, lands last in the list with just 35 new rooms in the pipeline.

With the aim to celebrate the best British designers, architects and hoteliers, this year’s Brit List will take place on November 22 at BEAT London. Please click here in order to purchase your ticket.

Main image credit: Titanic Hotel, Belfast


Lobby of the hotel

The Grand Central hotel in Belfast opens

1024 576 Hamish Kilburn

The latest addition to Belfast and the seventh hotel in the Hastings Hotels portfolio, Grand Central Hotel, which features Ireland’s tallest bar, has opened its doors…

Northern Ireland’s tallest hotel, standing 23-storeys high on Bedford Street, aims to bring a new era of glamour and grandeur to the heart of Belfast as it opens today. This Grand Central, which we took a sneak peek at the other week, is a contemporary reincarnation of a Victorian hotel with the same name that stood on Royal Avenue from 1893 to the 1970s. Inside, past the warm Irish welcome, are historic stories that have inspired contemporary design. The new branding for the hotel incorporates the Seahorse, a further nod towards Belfast’s Coat of Arms and a celebration of the City’s Maritime history.

Belfast-based RPP Architects, which is also working to redesign and modernise Belfast Harbour, was responsible for transforming Winsdor House into the new Grand Central Hotel. Briefed by Hastings Hotels to create a larger hotel that can cope comfortably with the growing demand of business travellers in the area, the award-winning architects have seamlessly added an additional 104 guestrooms bringing the total more than 300.


At Grand Central Hotel, guests will be welcomed into rooms and suites offering privacy, relaxation and comfort. The Grand Central Hotel offers intricately designed luxury bedrooms including 10 suites, all with spectacular views over the city. Thoughtfully crafted as a cityscape sanctuary, all rooms are contemporary in design with touchable, tactile fabrics and state-of-the-art finishes. Furthermore, each room and suite is complemented by modern amenities and the famous Hastings Hotels Cloud Bed.

guestroom boasting stunning views of the city

Drinks & Dining

The hotel features three exceptional restaurants and bars, giving guests the option to wine and dine in laid-back elegance and true grandeur style.

With its own private entrance off Bedford Street, The Grande Café, showcases a vibrant yet stylish design. The walls of windows flood the space with natural light whilst the sweeping counter and assorted seating invites all manners of get togethers.

open-plan restaurant

A further homage to Belfast’s maritime history, the Seahorse Bar & Bistro on the first floor will offer two distinct spaces within one exquisite venue.

The jewel of Grand Central will be The Observatory, opening in September 2018. Located sky-high on the 23rd floor, this awe-inspiring cocktail lounge provides incredible panoramic views over Belfast and beyond. From pavement to panorama, this is the highest bar in all of Ireland The Grand Central is all about showcasing the very best of Belfast, and with decadent décor and stunning vistas, the Observatory does that in high-definition.

Meetings and events

The two meeting rooms – the Blackstaff and the Farset – are appropriately named after the rivers of Belfast. The meeting areas are complete with two boardrooms and the Panorama Suite – a spectacular, 80-seat reception room. Each event space can be adapted for a wide variety of business and social events, from meetings to conferences, private dinners and press conferences.


A legend reborn, the Grand Central Hotel is a new jewel for Belfast with an old soul, very much open for business.

Large open-plan lobby

Grand Central Hotel Belfast prepares to open

800 600 Hamish Kilburn

Northern Ireland’s largest hotel in Belfast will shelter 300 rooms as well as the highest bar in Ireland…

Hastings Hotels has announced that it will open its seventh property on June 18, 2018. The Grand Central Hotel, Northern Ireland’s largest hotel, will open following a £53M investment into Belfast’s Grand Central.

Belfast-based RPP architects, which is also working to redesign and modernise Belfast Harbour, was responsible for transforming Winsdor House into the new Grand Central Hotel. Briefed by Hastings Hotels to create a larger hotel that can cope comfortably with the growing demand of business travellers in the area, the award-winning architects have seamlessly added an additional 104 guestrooms bringing the total more than 300.

The 300 luxurious guestrooms, including 10 suites, have been designed for absolute comfort and relaxation. With room to breathe and boasting spectacular views over the glittering city, each room has been lovingly created as an oasis of calm – blended with touchable, tactile fabrics and state-of-the-art finishes.

The Observatory on the 23rd floor is what the hotel regards to as its jewel. The highest bar in Ireland offers unparalleled high-definition views of Belfast and beyond, while the decadent décor creates an intimate setting.

Light, contemporary bar with accents of gold in the finishes

Hastings Hotels, which now has seven hotels in its portfolios in Northern Ireland, describes the new Grand Central Hotel as being “more than a hotel. It’s an ode to a city. Standing tall in Bedford Street, [the hotel] fuses glamour and grandeur with a unique Belfast spirit.”

As the city is seen more and more as a ‘must-see business destination in 2018’, the hotel has announced that its first guests to be welcomed in will be a group of international delegates. The business men and women will attend the prestigious Hosts Global Forum, an influential global Meetings and Incentive Travel trade event. Adding to the significance of the occasion, this is the first time the Forum has ever been hosted in Europe, highlighting the allure of Northern Ireland as well as the hotel to business travellers.

Managing director of Hastings Hotels, Julie Hastings said: “We are incredibly excited by the Grand Central Hotel’s opening in June and we are confident it will be incredibly enticing for business travellers and leisure travellers alike. The hotel is now the largest in Northern Ireland and is the ideal base for travellers wanting to experience and explore the beautiful city of Belfast. We are delighted to be hosting some of the world’s major meetings and incentive travel buyers as our firsts guests, who will be attending the prestigious Hosts Global Forum.  We are absolutely thrilled to have secured this opportunity in partnership with Tourism Northern Ireland and Moloney & Kelly and have invested heavily to win it for Belfast & Northern Ireland. Not only will this event showcase Belfast and Northern Ireland on a worldwide level, but it will introduce The Grand Central Hotel as the perfect venue to host prestigious events and international business travellers.”

The new branding for the hotel will incorporate the Seahorse which is part of Belfast’s Coat of Arms and celebrates the City’s Maritime history. Old photographs from the glory days of the Grand Central show the Seahorse motif feature on menus and plates. This new interpretation of the classic Belfast emblem is a permanent reminder of the new Grand Central’s connection with its elegant past.

Titanic Hotel Belfast

Titanic Hotel Belfast opens for business

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Belfast has welcomed a new link to its famous ship with the opening of the new Titanic Hotel in the Northern Irish capital.

The city’s newest luxury hotel opened its doors this weekend following a £28 million restoration of the former Harland & Wolff drawing offices and headquarters. The 119-room hotel has been transformed with the help of a £5 million Heritage Lottery Fund grant secured by the Titanic Foundation.

During the restoration the telephone exchange, which received the first communication of Titanic hitting the iceberg, has been retained. Designers have tried to make the hotel as authentic as possible, with porters wearing period costumes on hand to welcome guests to the hotel.


Director of hotel operator Harcourt Developments, John Doherty, told Northern Irish press: “To be finally ready to open this historical and authentic hotel is another mark in the history of Queen’s Island. Titanic Hotel Belfast is a hub of heritage and legacy, and we’re delighted to open the doors to the public and our first guests on Sunday.

“To celebrate, the Queen’s Island Male Voice Choir will be performing in the drawing offices after we create a bit of theatre and fanfare when officially declaring the hotel open at noon.”


Grand Central Hotel, Belfast

Sir William Hastings ‘proud’ of £53m Grand Central, Belfast investment

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Following revised planning permission being granted for the Grand Central Hotel, Hastings Hotels has announced that its investment will be £53 million on what will be Northern Ireland’s largest hotel.

Building work is now well under way following the approval of the revised plans by Belfast City Council which will see an additional 104 bedrooms bringing the total number to 304 with the creation of over 150 jobs.

Sir William Hastings, Chairman of Hastings Hotels said: “We are pleased that the revised planning permission for the Grand Central Hotel has been approved. This represents our company’s biggest single investment to date of £53 million and is the sum required to create a top quality hotel befitting the name, Grand Central, and of which Belfast City can be proud.

“The Grand Central Hotel will be more than a hotel when it opens in mid 2018. The original Grand Central was built in 1893 and was the thriving hub of Victorian Belfast as well as the finest hotel in Ireland. Winston Churchill, the King of Belgium, Al Jolson, Mario Lanza and the Beatles were all guests who enjoyed its luxurious hospitality. I am extremely proud to be able to pay tribute to this much loved property of the past by naming Belfast’s newest hotel after it.

“The new branding for the hotel will incorporate the Seahorse which is part of Belfast’s Coat of Arms and celebrates the City’s Maritime history. Old photos from the Glory Days of the Grand Central show the Seahorse motif featuring on menus and plates and our new interpretation of this classic Belfast emblem is a permanent reminder of the new Grand Central’s connection with its elegant past,” Sir William continued.

“The Grand Central is a legend reborn and to celebrate this we have created a building wrap which will be changed at regular intervals before the hotel opens. It will help tell the story of the hotel as it is being built and pay tribute to some of the local companies we are working with who are each playing key roles in helping Hastings Hotels create this major development.

“We look forward to working with a wide range of local companies during this major project. Our lead construction partner is Graham Construction and their building expertise and quality of workmanship is second to none. The structural steel has been fabricated in Lisburn and the cladding is being designed and procured through a company based in Moira. The mechanical and electrical contractors are also local as are the bricklayers, joiners, plasterers and even the tower crane driver,” Sir William concluded.

Titanic - themed hotel in Belfast

Belfast’s Titanic-themed hotel nearing completion

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Harland and Wolff has been transforming their Belfast headquarters into a Titanic-themed luxury hotel, aptly names the Titanic Hotel Belfast.

The building, some of which dates from the 1880s and where plans for incredible steamships, including the doomed Titanic, were drawn up, is to be given a new lease of life as a 4-star hotel with amazing period details. These Drawing Offices were also where the idea of the “floating hotel”, the model for many of today’s modern cruise ships, was conceived.

The new boutique hotel will offer 84 prestigious new rooms and suites, such as the Superior King Titanic View, which affords the visitor impressive views of the Belfast Titanic building through industrial-style windows, the Penthouse Suite and Corner Suites, which give panoramic views over the entire Titanic Quarter. The rooms are a mixture of industrial chic, the original character of the building, Art Deco inspiration and modern refinement. Exposed brick walls and Herringbone-tiled floors give the rooms a warmth, Egyptian cotton bedlinen and plush carpets lend a sense of comfort and minimal decoration give the room a contemporary edge.

The new hotel will also provide a host of corporate and entertainment spaces for events and conferences. The grand architectural studio of the Drawing Offices will now be available for use, with a capacity of 250 people for a variety of events. Smaller events can be held in the Heritage Rooms, which also have the possibility of being catered. A team of award winning chefs use locally sourced ingredients to create their delicious plates, and the dining rooms looks out onto the buildings that make up this historic Belfast neighbourhood.

Marriott International Belfast

Marriott International to open first Northern Ireland hotel in Belfast

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Belfast waterfront will be the site of the city’s newest hotel with the construction of Marriott International’s City Quays Hotel.

This will be Marriott’s first hotel in Northern Ireland, joining the company’s portfolio of nearly 4,500 hotels located in 87 countries and territories around the world. The four-star hotel will include 188 rooms, a restaurant, a bar/lounge, fitness facilities and meeting rooms.

Graeme Johnston, Belfast Harbour ’s Property Director, said: “Bringing Marriott to Northern Ireland for the first time is great news for both business and leisure travellers as well as for the city.

“The hotel will also be well placed to tap into Belfast’s growing reputation as a conference destination with the newly-refurbished Waterfront Hall just a short riverside walk away.

“With views of Titanic Belfast and SS Nomadic the hotel will also appeal to inbound tourists and – given Marriott’s reputation for quality – we’re confident that it will appeal strongly to local people looking for a new leisure experience.”

Marriott already has two hotels in Ireland: the world famous Shelbourne Dublin, a Renaissance Hotel and Powerscourt Hotel, Autograph Collection in Co Wicklow. Marriott International hotels in London include the five-star JW Marriott Grosvenor House and St Pancras Renaissance Hotel.

“We are delighted to bring our lifestyle hotel brand, AC Hotels by Marriott, to the revitalised City Quays area of Belfast,” said Paul Thomas, Director International Development.

“This will be the first AC Hotel by Marriott in Northern Ireland, demonstrating our commitment to opening design-led hotels in thriving destinations where we see growing demand from discerning travellers seeking a refreshed hotel experience. We look forward to being part of this exciting and flourishing city.”