The Titanic may have sunk 105 years ago, but its legacy lives on through an unforgettable film, countless of museums and now, at a luxury hotel in Belfast. Titanic Hotel Belfast opened its doors to the public earlier this month, much to the fascination of history fans. That’s because the hotel is housed within the former Harland & Wolff headquarters and historic Drawing Offices — the birth place of the Titanic.
The legendary passenger liner is famous for the tragic end that it had met on 15 April 1912. During her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York, the RMS Titanic fatally collided with an iceberg and sank to the depths of the North Atlantic Ocean.
It dealt a major blow to the engineers and shipbuilders behind the Titanic, who were driven by the admirable goal of building the world’s largest ship at the time. They had made their first sketches and drafts of the ill-fated ocean liner within the Harland & Wolff Drawing Offices, which has since been restored by the Harcourt Developments team to form a part of the £28 million hotel.
In its place, guests of the Titanic Hotel Belfast will find a bar, lounge, ballroom and exhibition space instead. Other heritage spaces that have been preserved include the board room, the directors’ entrance, lobby and the offices of the Titanic’s leading architects and other influential figures of the former company.
“History and heritage helped build this hotel, and it can be seen in every aspect of the finish, form the carpet to the cornices,” said John Doherty, group creative director at Harcourt Developments.
Thanks to its prime location, the hotel’s 119 rooms offer views that capture Belfast’s rich shipbuilding history. The sights include Queen’s Island; the Titanic Belfast visitor experience that sits next to the hotel; the notable Harland & Wolff gantry cranes in the east; and the slipways in the west. Starting at £125 a night, the Art-Deco-inspired rooms feature subtle nods to the building’s history as well, with Harland and Wolff artwork and bespoke furniture. On top of deluxe and superior rooms, the luxury hotel also boasts a number of suites, a penthouse and a champagne bar.
To commemorate its inauguration, Titanic Hotel Belfast is hosting public-access tours of the main Drawing Offices, along with a six-week exhibition that chronicles the building’s construction and conservation.