Europa Hotel, Belfast

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Coordinates: 54°35′42″N 5°56′10″W / 54.595°N 5.936°W / 54.595; -5.936

The Europa Hotel

The Europa Hotel is a four-star hotel in Great Victoria Street, Belfast, Northern Ireland. It has hosted presidents, prime ministers and celebrities, including President Bill Clinton during his visits to Belfast in 1995 and 1998.[1]

It is known as the "most bombed hotel in Europe" and the "most bombed hotel in the world" after having suffered 28 bomb attacks during the Troubles.[2][3]


The hotel has 272 bedrooms following major refurbishment, including 92 executive suites. On the first floor is the Piano Bar Restaurant and there is also a bistro and bar. It also has a Eurobusiness centre, conference and exhibition centre and 16 flexible conference and banqueting suites, as well as a 12th-floor penthouse suite.[1]


It opened in July 1971 and was built on the site of the former Great Northern Railway station. The architects were Sydney Kaye, Eric Firkin & Partners and the building height was 51 metres.[4] During the Troubles, the hotel, where most journalists covering the Troubles stayed, was known as Europe’s most bombed hotel, earning the name “the Hardboard Hotel”.[5] The hotel was blown up by the Provisional IRA in 1993 and damaged so badly that it sold for only £4.4m.[4]

The Europa Hotel became part of the Hastings Hotels group on 3 August 1993, whereupon it was announced that it would close for the first time in its 22-year history to allow for major refurbishment. Following an £8m investment, the hotel reopened in February 1994, the first official event being the Flax Trust Ball, a gala evening for 500 local and international dignitaries. President Clinton and First Lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton stayed in the hotel in November 1995.[6] The presidential entourage booked 110 rooms at the hotel.[5] The suite used by the Clintons was subsequently renamed the Clinton Suite.[6]

Started in early 2008, an extension to the hotel increased the height of a rear wing of the hotel by seven floors to twelve and increased bedrooms from 240 to 272. The extension was designed by Robinson McIlwaine Architects and was completed late in 2008.[4]

General managers[edit]

The following men have served as General Manager of the hotel.[citation needed]

  • 1971–1984: Harper Brown.
  • 1984–1986: John O'Carroll.
  • 1993–2003: John Toner.
  • 2003–  : James McGinn.


Lobby Lives[edit]

Two series of a BBC documentary series Lobby Lives were filmed at the hotel.

The Europa Hotel – Bombs, Bullets and Business as Usual[edit]

An hour-long documentary called The Europa Hotel – Bombs, Bullets and Business as Usual to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Europa Hotel was aired on BBC1 Northern Ireland on 26 September 2011.[7] Produced and Directed by Richard Weller, the documentary tracked those eventful 40 years through the eyes of a diverse array of contributors.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Europa Hotel, Belfast". Europa Hotel website. Retrieved 10 August 2010. 
  2. ^ "Appeal for stories of the 'most bombed hotel in Europe'". BBC News. 31 January 2011. Retrieved 19 March 2011. 
  3. ^ Heydari, Farhad (12 September 2007). "Ten hotels that made history". Forbes Traveler. Retrieved 19 March 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c "Europa Hotel". Skyscraper News. Retrieved 10 August 2010. 
  5. ^ a b "Hillary Clinton suffers ‘mis-speaking’ relapse with Belfast bomb claims". The Times (David Sharrock, 19 October 2009) (London). 19 October 2009. Retrieved 10 August 2010. 
  6. ^ a b "History". Europa Hotel website. Retrieved 10 August 2010.