More about Merchant Hotel
Probably the most modern, artistic and European part of Belfast. I love this place- my university is right in the heart of the Cathedral quarter and it's a lovely place to spend time- both day and night. Start at St. Anne's Cathedral (Right beside the University of Ulster). Opposite the cathedral you'll find writers square- a nice place to sit for lunch if it's not too cold, whilst you stand in this square dedicated to Belfast Literary history. To the left of the cathedral, on the same road you'll find Belfast exposed which houses lovely photography exhibitions- one of my regular haunts! There's also Open Window productions.
I only noticed the War memorial building recently while wandering aimlessly around the cathedral quarter on my lunch break. You'll find it while walking along Waring Street. The Merchant Hotel is around here also- absolutely stunning in my opinion! There are a lot of little bars and places to eat around this area also. The John Hewitt is really popular but there' so many places that are lovely- I couldn't possibly name them all! Oh and check out the jazz sessions here at weekends, I'd also advise you to try Mc Hugh's bar as it's nice and cosy!
You'll stumble across the river lagan at the end of the Cathedral Quarter. Also a lovely place. There are Titanic boat tours here and you can check out laganboatcompany.com for more info.
For the artists out there, this is THE area for you. The university of ulster campus you'll see it the art college for Northern Ireland. There are many sculptures around cathedral quarter including the Big Fish, The Harmony of Belfast (my favourite!), the mapping history... Check out the Albert Clock too (it's featured in the images on this page) Recently it was restored to it's full glory- beautiful!
Beautiful, but no hot water in our rooms!
The first thing I should say is that the Merchant Hotel is a beautiful place to stay. The building is amazing, and the interior is incredibly well decorated. The staff we always courteous and polite.
Sadly my stay at the hotel was spoilt by a constant lack of hot water! This is a luxury hotel, however, during my 2 night stay, I only had hot water in my room once. Every other time the water was cold. I complained to reception, and the staff arranged for an engineer to rectify the problem. Sadly he did not! He told them that it must be caused by the fact that everyone tried to draw a bath at the same time. Given that there are only 26 rooms in the hotel, I can only imagine that their hot water bolier is woefully inadequate for the job, if it can’t provide hot water to each room on demand. I can’t remember the last time I stayed in a hotel that could not provide this basic amenity.
The staff gave us a free drink in the hotel bar (1 drink per person), but given that we spent over £1500 on accommodation and food, this really was a drop in the ocean.
I have read a number of reviews on this site, where people have complained about the rooms being dark / dim. I can confirm that the rooms are intentionally dim to create a sense of atmosphere in the hotel. It really works. The rooms are lovely. At times it is difficult to see into your case, so just take your case into the bathroom, where the lighting is much better.
Part of our party stayed in the MacNeigh suite. This was a lovely room, which had a great seating area. You could have stayed in the room and had a party, as it was huge.
I think the hotel could be improved by offering a mini-bar service in the room. While mini-bars are usually expensive, at least it saves you having to run out of the hotel to the local Spar to buy a packet of crisps.
One final whinge: The turndown service arrived at my room at 18.08 on Sunday evening! This is far too early. Surely the idea of a turndown service is that they do the job while you are out of the room. Maybe they should try to do it at a time when people are likely to be at dinner?
To summarise, this is a lovely hotel. The lack of hot water ruined my stay. Given that no-one else has complained on this site, I can only assume that my experience was just incredibly unlucky. When we checked out the hotel’s billing system had charged us full price for the rooms, when we had negotiated a discount for our rooms. Make sure you take a printout of your agreed price to avoid any unpleasantness! I think I will stay at the Malmasion next time and just visit the Merchant for dinner and drinks.
My wife and i booked into the merchant for a romantic weekend away from the kids. The merchant sells itself as a real destination hotel, not just a bed for the night. First impressions are impressive although there is a hint of an 18th century french brothel designed by lawrence llewelyn bowen about the decor. Still, it adds a certain something to the mood! On reaching the room our ardour was dimmed by the air conditioning set at arctic temperature, soon fixed by the porter. then a bath seemed a good idea-but wait, the bathroom had no bath. Ah well, a nice cup of coffee would warm us up-oops, no tea and coffee facilities. The money spent on the curtains in our room would have paid for kettles in every room. Still, the dim lighting was nice, as long as you didnt want to read, apply make up, get dressed, move around etc etc. After dinner elsewhere(Ginger in Belfast-excellent, have the chocolate pudding), we went back for a drink. The bar was full so we were shown to the residents lounge to then be greeted by a bar full of "members" who accused us of gatecrashing. We retreated to a table near the restaurant for a welcome if overpriced gin and tonic. At a price of £220 a night, the merchant should be a fantastic experience, unfortunately it needs to get its act together very quickly. I shudder to think what overseas tourists will think if this is the best belfast has to offer.
Absolutey The Best
This is the only place to stay in Belfast. My wife and i have stayed here twice, and on both occasions the quality of service was
Rooms were extremely clean, staff very professional. Other hotels in Belfast are average in comparison.
If its a special time your after the Merchant will not disapoint. Simply the best!!!!.
We loved this hotel. I read some of the reviews posted here the day before I travlled and I was nervous that we would be disappointed... but far from it.
The staff were very helpful and professional. The hotel was clean. The decor in the hotel was amazing, the attention to detail was very obvious with each piece of furtniture throughout the hotel gorgeous in it's own right. We stayed in a Deluxe Double and the room was beautiful, the bathroom was huge.
The only thing I could fault was the noise from the people leaving the nightclub and bar downstairs, we had a room at the front of the hotel and we returned from our night out at 2.30am and the noise outside was quite loud... but this cannot helped in such a city centre location.
We loved the hotel and enjoyed our stay, i hope to stay again.
Loved the Merchant
I stayed at The Merchant and thought it was fantastic. The staff could not have been more welcoming and professional. They were attentive and helpful. The accomodation was stunning, fantastic huge room, big beds and an amazing bathroom. The cocktail bar was excellent and breakfast the next morning was great with lots of choice. I only wish I could have stayed longer. I will be back at the earliest opportunity.
Fabulous surroundings, incredible service
I received a gift voucher for The Merchant as a Christmas present and decided to do the total Merchant Experience. Pre dinner drinks in The Cloth Ear bar, attached to the hotel, dinner in the truly beautiful restaurant and sophisticated cocktails in the bar. From check in to check out I found the level of service to be exceptional, staff were friendly and efficient, food was delicious, and the setting is amazing.
I can't wait to return and have been dropping hints that Merchant gift vouchers would make a great birthday present ever since!
excellent hotel, superb staff
Spent a few nights there recently.
Everything excellent. Especially cocktail bar, the staff, and the dinners in the main restaurant. Set menu is only 25 for 3 courses but is unchanging between mon-thu. All drinks and wines were superb. I recommend the hot apple toddy and the fruit punch..
Also has wifi (you get cards from reception - bt openzone) which was iffy but its not their fault.
Only issue was breakfasts which were poor especially if you had it in your room as basically cold by the time it reaches you. Best to have your breakfast downstairs and get ready to insist on hot coffee and avoid the full irish as the meats on it are fairly dire TBH.
The location is also great. The spanish tapas bar over the road is good for dinner too.
Again - can't fault it, easily best irish hotel I have stayed in and would certainly stay again. Service was a joy and all staff extremely friendly (most seemed eastern european)
Note they add 10% gratuity to all bills. Its fairly handy as you dont feel obliged to tip.
From the outset our impression was not favourable. This was the first time that we had been to a “5*” hotel where there was no one at the door to greet us, so we were left to find our own way. What appeared to be the entrance to the hotel was actually the entrance to the restaurant and we found after coming outside again a small sign indicating that the hotel reception is down a narrow alley to the side. Once in we were told that someone would be out to our car to help us – naively, we believed this would include bringing our bags into the hotel. It did not and we were left to our own devices. It was not until later that we understood why the valet and porter service was so poor; it is because the valet and porter are the same person (he also carries the title of concierge) and that the hotel only had one person working in this capacity at the time. I would like to say that the man who works as the valet/porter/concierge is a very friendly and hardworking man, unfortunately he was left to do the job of 3 people.
The room was fine, but was very dark and very basic (despite the obviously expensive decor). We later found out that it was also very noisy, because of the nightclub across the street, and it felt like we were staying at a disco until the wee hours of the morning. After check in, we decided to make our way to the hotel bar, which at the time we went in was not busy. The bar is staffed by “mixologists”, who seemed to be very happy to offer and mix the “ultimate gin & tonic” (complete with handcrafted ice cubes), but not too interested in removing empties or offering new drinks. At the time we made our reservations, we requested that the “concierge” make dinner reservations at a nearby establishment for us, which they recommended for their sushi. We were told at check-in this was taken care of. Twenty minutes later, we were told that the restaurant did not have our reservations. We requested that they try to contact 3 other high-end restaurants for reservations, but that was to no avail. We then requested a table in the hotel restaurant, but were told that there were 125 covers that night and they would not be able to make room for 2 paying residents of the hotel. The bar manager of the Merchant then called the establishment that we were originally supposed to go to and was told that we could sit at the “sushi bar”, so we decided to give it a chance. Upon arriving at the restaurant (which the hotel recommends), we found that the “sushi bar” is located under hot lamps and next to a hot grill, which anyone who eats sushi knows is not the ideal environment for raw fish. So, we contacted the hotel to see if they might be able to use their “connections” to find another suitable establishment. The receptionist at the hotel laughed when we called for assistance. Then she sent to a pub! We used our own initiative and were able to get a table at a high-end restaurant, and thoroughly enjoy ourselves (for once that evening). At check-out we registered our dissatisfaction with the level of service at the hotel. Apart from a very feeble “sorry”, the receptionist made absolutely no effort to offer any sort of concession – not even a small discount or taking off the tab from the bar off the bill for the inconvenience. We left our details with the manager and after two days of not hearing back from him contacted him ourselves. Interestingly, he failed to see how the service of the hotel could have failed and also denied that they did not offer us a table in the hotel restaurant. I was led to believe that I would be staying a 5* hotel with 5* service. It was not until after my stay that I found out that the Merchant is still awaiting classification. If the Merchant wants to entertain international guests and obtain 5* status, they need to look further afield to understand the level of service that other 5*international hotels offer and learn from them. As it stands, it falls very short of the mark. We will not be staying there again and would not recommend it.