Page last updated at 08:48 GMT, Friday, 13 March 2009

New five-star hotel opens in city

Room in the Fitzwilliam Hotel
The hotel is located close to the Grand Opera House in Belfast city centre

A new five-star hotel, which has created approximately 100 new jobs, is to open in Belfast on Friday.

The 130-room Fitzwilliam Hotel is situated adjacent to the Grand Opera House on Great Victoria Street.

Its opening comes in the same week it was reported Northern Ireland's much documented hotel boom appears to have come to an end.

According to a PwC report, the overall figure for people staying in hotels dropped by nearly 7% in 2008.

However, the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) study said the fall, which was the first since 2002, was in line with a UK-wide downturn.

Hotel occupancy levels in Northern Ireland had previously enjoyed unprecedented growth.

This was attributed to the peace process as well as an increase in the number of conferences being held in Belfast.

The hotel represents an investment of about 30m and is owned by June Burgess of Graffan Properties.

The company has a number of investments in Northern Ireland and overseas.

"It's good news for Belfast that there is a new hotel opening, and no, I wouldn't particularly choose this time to open a luxury hotel," said Ms Burgess.

"But, if I had to open a luxury hotel anywhere in the world I would pick Belfast to do it. It's in all of the major travel guides, it's one of the must see destiniations."

The hotel was designed by Ian Halliday of Belfast firm Halliday Ramsey, and is run by a company called Hotel Partners, which also runs the five-star Fitzwilliam Hotel in Dublin.



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'Hotel boom appears to be over'
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