Where to stay in Belfast, Northern Ireland

Belfast is a great option for a UK city break or weekend staycation. With plenty of things to do in Belfast, lots of great bars and food spots as well as history and attractions to visit, you’ll be wondering where to stay in Belfast and what the best accommodation option is for your trip.

We were in the Belfast area for two nights and experienced two different types of accommodation and areas. I also did extensive research on where to stay as part of our two month Ireland road trip.

grand exterior of the Merchant Hotel in Belfast

The Merchant Hotel, Belfast

I was invited to stay at The Merchant Hotel, Belfast for one of those nights in Belfast so I will be including my review of my stay there too.

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The best area to stay in Belfast

cobbled street with string lights and colourful decor

Cathedral Quarter

I would absolutely recommend staying in the Cathedral Quarter during your trip to Belfast.

The Cathedral Quarter is the historic area of the city where you’ll not only find some of the oldest buildings and streets in the city, but it’s also home to some fantastic local bars, brilliant hotels and characterful buildings which are such a big part of Belfast’s charm.

If you are planning to stay in the Cathedral Quarter, it’s the best location to stay in Belfast for easy walkability in the city.

If you’re perhaps planning to explore more of the coast, you could stay further outside of the city as an alternative, so you’re within easy driving distance of the city and the coast. For our second night we stayed near the Belfast Zoo and Belfast Castle, in the Cave Hill Country Park. This is a lovely, quiet suburban area if you prefer to stay outside of the city centre.


Best hotel in Belfast

exterior of the Merchant Hotel Belfast

The Merchant Hotel Belfast

I’ve never stayed somewhere where I’ve been so in awe of every small detail. But that’s definitely a big reason why The Merchant Hotel is the best hotel Belfast has to offer!

The Merchant Hotel is the only 5-star hotel in Belfast and with a multi-award winning cocktail bar, 2 AA Rosettes for culinary excellence being awarded to its Great Room restaurant and a luxurious rooftop spa and jacuzzi, it really is an incredible experience to have as part of your Belfast getaway.

All their rooms are either Victorian or Art Deco themed, with huge comfortable beds, luxurious free-standing roll-top baths, walk-in showers and dressing rooms. Free slippers and robes, turn-down service and exceptional staff make this the most luxurious and relaxing stay ever!

I highly recommend eating at the Great Room restaurant, even if you choose not to stay at the Merchant Hotel itself, you can still experience the fine dining here. The menu is seasonal and absolutely exquisite, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so well at a hotel! All the drinks pairings are amazing and I was honestly blown away by the knowledge that the staff had about the dishes and food available.

You can also choose to visit the Cocktail Bar for pre- or post-dinner drinks. Being the most highly awarded cocktail bar in the city, again you can choose to visit the bar itself without staying at the hotel. The staff were super helpful in recommending cocktails that I would love based on my preferences.

I started the following morning with a soak in the rooftop jacuzzi and a relaxing sauna and steam room session, all with amazing views across the city skyline.

The Merchant Hotel is located in the centre of the Cathedral Quarter, just a 2 minute walk from Commercial Court and the famous Duke of York pub. It’s also just around the corner from The Dirty Onion and Yardbird which is Belfast’s oldest building.

In this area you’ll also find the Whiskey Week Festival, the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival as well as theatres, coffee shops and plenty of alleyways and cobbled streets to explore.


Where to stay in Belfast city centre

Although The Merchant Hotel is very centrally located, if you’d prefer to find alternative accommodation options based on your budget, check out these hotels in Belfast which are all some of the best Belfast hotels, all centrally located and budget friendly.

The Malmaison is a great option if you’re looking for a similar boutique style hotel in the same area as the Merchant Hotel. - Book here.

Also located in the Cathedral Quarter but for a much more budget friendly price is the Ramada by Wyndham Belfast. - Book here.

For a Belfast city centre hotel, check out the Ten Square Hotel. This is a modern minimal hotel for a great budget price and it has thousands of positive reviews! - Book here.

If you’re simply after a bed for the night, you can’t go wrong with the Jury’s Inn. Basic, clean, budget friendly and centrally located. - Book here.

If you need something close to the train station and on a budget, the Holiday Inn Belfast is the one for you. - Book here.

dry dock at the Titanic experience Belfast

Unique places to stay in Belfast

If you’re on the hunt for unique places to stay in Belfast, what could be better than on the Barge at Titanic.

Stay on a barge boat in the Titanic Quarter, just a very short walk to the Titanic Experience and the SS Nomadic.

Your room on the barge comes with a private terrace, private bathroom and spacious living area.


Places to stay near Belfast

Belfast castle

Belfast Castle

If you’d prefer to stay near Belfast or around the Belfast area but perhaps closer to the coast, there are fortunately plenty of options north of the city which gives you great opportunity to explore the city as well as drive the famous Causeway Coast driving route.

Loughview Chalet

Located just 15 minutes drive north of Belfast city centre, this quirky chalet is located in the back garden of a residential home in the suburbs. But don’t be put off by that, check-in is non-contact, there’s adequate parking and we absolutely loved how cute and quirky these cosy lodges were and very budget friendly too.

Book Loughview Chalet here.

For a cute and cosy stay on the coast, why not stay at the Coastguard Boat house on Belfast Lough. Book here.

Or how about treating yourself to a luxurious stay, east of the city at The Culloden Estate and Spa with spectacular views, amazing facilities and just a 10 minutes drive from Belfast. 

If you’re planning to visit the Gobbins Cliff Path or you perhaps would prefer to stay close to Whitehead, check out this super budget-friendly option. 


Summary: Places to stay in Belfast

There are countless options and hotels to stay in Belfast for a night, a weekend or longer. What I love about deciding where to stay in Belfast, NI, is that you can stay in luxury for a very affordable price, which is often very rare in European capital cities!

Whether you decide to stay in the city or not, there are plenty of options for all budgets and lengths of stay so make sure you make the most of your trip to Belfast.

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