Travel Notions- Belfast

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Hey guys, welcome back to the blog. I hope you all had a great weekend.

I’ve been quiet for awhile on here mainly due to time and not feeling motivated. Between rescheduled college exams and working full time, I’ve sadly had to push the blog down on my list of priorities.

I’m back this week with a post about my time in Belfast! I wanted to go away this year to give myself a much needed and deserved break, but due to the uncertainty about virus levels in certain countries I opted instead for a staycation and together with two friends, headed up to Belfast for a weekend away.

I’d only ever visited Belfast for the Titanic exhibition or to go shopping for Christmas/January bargains so I was excited to spend a full weekend in what I’ve come to learn is a beautiful city full of culture and hidden gems.

Where we stayed

To keep things affordable and manageable, we decided to stay in the centre of Belfast in The Bullit hotel. That way we were within walking distance of countless restaurants, pubs and shops so that way we saved on taxi fares. The hotel is a mere seventy metres from the iconic Victoria Square shopping centre which is FULL of your favourite high-street and designer stores.

The Hotel

The hotel looks rather unassuming from the outside with big wooden gates under an arch leading you into an internal courtyard where you’ll find plenty of outdoor seating space as well as an outdoor bar which is connected to one of the restaurants in the hotel, Taylor and Clay.

Once you continue in to the reception area, you’re greeted with comfortable seating areas as well as another fully stocked bar and the kitchen for the restaurant which fills the room with delicious cooking smells from the amazing food they have on offer.

The hotel offer three styles of room: The Dinky, The Cosy and The Roomy

The Dinky

The Dinky is the smallest but by no means the more basic room.Despite it measuring 12-14metres, it’s got a king sized bed, sleeps two people as well as having a smart tv.

qThe Cosy

The Cosy is the next room up from The Dinky. The Cosy sleeps between 2-4 people and has the added option of twin beds in the room if you wish.The room measures 15-20 square metres and is perfect for a group of friends going away that want to save money on rooms. The bigger cosy rooms can hold four with space for two big beds, or one double and two twin beds.

The Roomy

The next one up is The Roomy. The roomy is the biggest room offerings at 35 square metres which is perfect if you want the added luxury of space for those extra big suitcases or extra shopping bags from a day spent in neighbouring Victoria Square.

All rooms come with Smart TVs, free WiFi and the most amazing rainfall showers which do wonders for you when you’ve had one too many drinks the night before and need to be saved from imminent death…

One thing I will say is that as the rooms are small, they don’t offer wardrobe space. I’d almost recommend bringing your own hangars to ensure you’ve enough space for your outfits. The room does come with a kettle, safe, mini fridge and a hairdryer with ample power for that bouncy blow-dry or big quiff. I will say that the lack of full length mirrors was a bit of a let down and instead had to settle for a small but well lit mirror in the bathroom. For more information on the rooms including prices and dog friendly options, have a look here.

What we did

While we didn’t do any of the tourist things such as the Titanic exhibition as we had already done it, we just decided to potter around the city which is almost better than having a plan as you get to see the real side of the city you’re visiting and not the false side advertised to tourists and day trippers. Belfast is a city steeped in history with everything from its foundations in the maritime industry, to its use as location for several Game Of Thrones scenes.

Where we ate

As well as Taylor & Clay and two bars on the ground floor, The Bullit also has a rooftop terrace AND bar , Babel . Due to how conveniently located the hotel is, the rooftop terrace has spectacular views across Belfast city centre.

On our first night we ate in Pizza Punks, a nearby pizza restaurant before making a booking for the rooftop restaurant, Babel. It has that cosy and comfortable atmosphere where you’d happily spend hours with friends. The menu was quite limited as their main focus was Taylor & Clay downstairs. I’d 100% recommend Babel if you’re up visiting!

On the second night we ate in a bar called Union Street. Union Street is typically an LGBTQ+ bar with a rooftop terrace but has been adapted due to the current circumstances we find ourselves in. The table service is great and the staff are more than happy to help you with anything you may need and are vigilant when you’ve empty glasses on the table or your plates need cleaning. The staff couldn’t have been friendlier and the service was excellent.

Where we drank

Unlike the Republic, Northern Ireland has slightly less strict covid guidelines. You’re allowed to drink in a pub/bar as long as it’s outside and you acknowledge that it’s table service and that you’re not allowed leave your table unless it’s to go to the toilet which is fair.. .

On our first night, we had lovely cocktails in Pizza Punks which has a very cool, hip vibe to it and you can tell the staff love their jobs. A nice little touch was the matching face masks the staff were wearing with what looked like drawn on skulls which I thought really tied in with the overall vibe of the place. We ordered cocktails here before and after our meals and enjoyed the cocktails recommended by our waiter.

After this, we headed up to Babel where we had more cocktails before going out to the rooftop terrace and having a round of espresso martinis which were lovely and fresh which we sipped while talking and just having fun on the rooftop. We finished off the night with vodka 7ups and a round of shots before going to bed.

I’d highly recommend their signature cocktail, ‘The Babel which is Havana Club 3 Rum, lime, sugar, blackberry shrub and soda.The lime gives the rum a lovely sweet refreshing taste without being too overpowering.

The next evening, we headed to Union Street where we started with French martinis which were delicious and by far the nicest French martinis I’ve ever had. We finished the night with another round of these followed by Espresso martinis before moving onto a place called Granny Annie’s where we had a mix of cocktails and vodka 7ups/tonics.

 

Covid

To be totally honest, I forgot covid was a thing while I was in Belfast (and no, that had nothing to do with my hangover…). Everywhere we visited ensured they had your contact details for tracing, made sure there was legally enough people on the premises and in the case of drinking outside, that everyone stayed at their designated tables and didn’t move or mingle with others. When we got to the hotel, there were designated entry and exit doors to ensure numbers were accurately observed, When it came to checking in, they ensured that only one guest checked in at a time as well as party from the same party only being allowed to use the lift together.

When it came to the rooms, you were given a bag with all the usual things you would find in your room such as hot chocolate sachets, coffee, tea as well as a notepad and paper. The rooms had seals on the door to ensure that they were fresh and that no one had entered them after the cleaning staff had finished. Any extra towels or sheets you needed were left outside your door in clear plastic bags to ensure that there no staff were entering your room unless they absolutely had to. The rooms still had the usual shampoo and soap dispensers as well as remotes which were placed in clear bags to ensure they’d been cleaned after the previous guest had checked out. All in all, I was thoroughly impressed with how the staff acted and made sure guidelines were being enforced and customers corrected, if necessary.

When it came to having drinks, all venues operate a policy where you must have a booking for food in order to sit inside or if you were just going for drinks, you must sit outside and wait for table service. The table service can be handy as it cuts down on people congregating at bars plus makes it a more relaxed night for you. In any of the bars we went to, I never noticed or saw any customers becoming unruly or getting too drunk after drinking for too long – people were just out to have a good time with their friends and to enjoy themselves.

I’m already currently planning my next staycation with friends so make sure to keep an eye on my Instagram story for updates on that!

Til next time,

Conor X

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