Ireland’s most exuberant and tallest Hotel
Following the acquisition of the Former Windsor House building by the Hastings Hotel Group, RPP were commissioned by Graham construction to transform the once iconic 1970s concrete structure into a 4 star, 300 bedroom signature hotel on behalf of their long standing and valued client.
Working in close collaboration with Belfast City Council’s Specialist Planning Department, the material palette and external composition of the building mass was sensitively developed to ensure the context of the existing Linen Quarters historic fabric was respected and complimented through the new addition.
Drawing aesthetic inspiration from the contextual setting of Belfast’s skyline and the natural landscape of Black Mountain in the distance, the facade of the main tower, a subtle graduation of basalt tones which varies with changing seasonal conditions, viewing angles and time of day, was composed to reaffirm the buildings position as a key landmark for the city.
The lower podium facade, considered equally as important as that of the main tower during the design development process, focuses primarily on providing an engaging and elegant contribution to Bedford Street. The transparent glass envelope and linear 3 storey high bronze vertical fins delicately encapsulate the beating heart of the hotel’s cafes, restaurants and conference facilities, while ensuring a mutually beneficial dialogue between the inviting interior of the hotel and the bustling city atmosphere outside is maintained.
Resting aloft the landmark structure, its jewel in the crown, the Observatory bar was designed to sit within the clouds and offer an unparalleled 360 degree panorama of the surrounding cityscape to the hotels guests and visitors alike, all of which can be enjoyed from the luxurious surroundings of the RPP designed bespoke interior.
The ground floor interior features a double height reception area and the Grand Cafe which operates from early morning until late at night. The first floor houses the double height Seahorse Bar, restaurant and lounge while the second floor houses the panorama lounge, an 80 seater event space, along with multiple conference and meeting facilities, gym and all associated back of house staff areas throughout the building. The top floor houses the Observatory offering unrivalled views over Belfast which serves afternoon tea with a full bar & cocktail service throughout the day and into the evening.
The Grand Central interior has been designed with a contemporary twist to an “art deco” aesthetic in mind given the clients strap-line “beautifully simple and simply beautiful.”
As our inspiration we developed the interior to compliment the contemporary functional required for a new build hotel with a classic Hospitality design style reminiscent of a classic New York design.
Given the hotel’s location at the heart of the Linen Quarter and the clients brief to incorporate the story of Belfast, great care was taken to reference local heritage and traditional materials and the interior design utilised local craftsmanship were possible sourcing marble and quartz from Coleraine, specialist joinery and bedroom case-goods from Ballymena, bespoke upholstery and furniture from Carrickfergus and bespoke carpet from Portadown.
In addition all the feature lighting was designed by RPP, is bespoke to the hotel and was manufactured and supplied by a Belfast based supplier. All finishes including floor-covering , and wall finishes where either designed and specified by RPP or contractor proposals were approved by RPP to ensure full co-ordination of the interior scheme.
Commercial Fit-Out of the YearBelfast Telegraph Property Awards 2018