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.[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]


As of late 2008, the hotel has 272 bedrooms following major refurbishment, including 92 executive suites. On the first floor are the Piano Bar Restaurant, a bistro, and a bar. The hotel also has a Eurobusiness centre, conference and exhibition centre, 16 flexible conference and banqueting suites, as well as a 12th-floor penthouse suite.[1]


The hotel, designed by architects Sydney Kaye, Eric Firkin & Partners, opened in July 1971. It was built on the site of the former Great Northern Railway station and stands 51 metres high.[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. Its first official event was 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 suite used by the Clintons was subsequently renamed the Clinton Suite.[6] The presidential entourage booked 110 rooms at the hotel.[5]

Started in early 2008, an extension to the hotel increased the height of a rear wing by seven floors, to twelve floors, 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
  • 1986-1993:[who?]
  • 1993–2003: John Toner
  • 2003–  : James McGinn

In popular culture[edit]


  • Two series of a BBC documentary series Lobby Lives were filmed at the hotel.[citation needed]
  • The Europa Hotel – Bombs, Bullets and Business as Usual (26 September 2011) is an hour-long documentary aired on BBC1 Northern Ireland.[7] Produced and Directed by Richard Weller, the documentary tracked those eventful 40 years through the eyes of a diverse array of contributors.


  • In Sons of Anarchy, season 3, episode 11 ("Bainne"), the couple who adopted Abel stays at and is assassinated at the Europa Hotel, Belfast.

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.