The problem with the rooms at the Fitzwilliam Hotel, Belfast is that they’re so lovely you won’t want to leave them - even if it is for a slap up meal at the restaurant.
Nestled on the corner of Great Victoria Street, the Fitzwilliam is a hotel that grabs your attention from the start.
If it isn’t the concierge complete with top hat and tails offering to take your suitcase (even if it was a tiny one like mine), then it’s the open plan lobby where you’re likely to meet people from countries all over the world.
For easy access to the city centre you can’t do much better than the Fitzwilliam, just a stone’s throw away you’ll find Belfast’s most popular pub, the Crown (more on that later) or lively Robinson’s.
A five minute stroll takes you into the heart of Belfast.
But the likes of the Titanic Centre are just a short bus or cab drive away.
But that’s only if you want to leave the hotel, and once we’d seen the room, we really didn’t want to.
Set across eight floors the Fitzwilliam Hotel is the height of luxury.
The deluxe king rooms are without question the best.
It’s all those extra little touches that make it special.
The huge bed takes up most the room but there’s still room for a sofa and ornate tables.
As you walk in, the built in sound system is playing Classic FM but you can change that if it isn’t to your fancy.
The bathrooms at the Fitzwilliam though are what will knock your socks off.
The bath can either be in the middle of the room or you can section it off if you want some privacy.
I don’t pretend to be an expert in such things but I tend to rate hotels by their robes.
The Fitzwilliam robes are certainly up to scratch, as are their slippers.
The toiletries in the room are made by Noir, and are definitely worth sampling.
Before dinner we decided to walk to The Crown Bar.
In all the time I’ve ever been there the Crown has never changed. The place was alive, as you’d expect on a Saturday afternoon.
We stood nursing our pints for a while before securing our own booth.
We had it to ourselves for all of ten minutes before a group of travellers asked if they could sit at our table.
I wasn’t so keen but my husband invited them in - it’s not Crown etiquette to refuse to share your table, he told me.
A pint later and we were all talking like old friends. The visitors were very interested in seeing the shamrock on top of the pint of Guinness.
The Fitzwilliam restaurant simply called ‘The Restaurant’ can be found on the first floor.
We started with a few gin and tonics before settling on a bottle of red.
It’s a not a huge menu but there’s certainly plenty to choose from,
It was salads all round for the starters - himself opting for the crab while I had the goat’s cheese.
But you can also choose from slow braised ham hock terrine, prawn macaroni, slow cooked belly pork and smoked Donegal salmon.
The mains include Half Roast Fermanagh Chicken, Fillet of Donegal Salmon with Peas, Cured Pork Cutlet,
Smoked Donegal Haddock, Fillet of Irish Beef, 10oz Sirloin of Ulster Beef.
Side orders include new potatoes with herbs and butter, root veg puree, creamed cabbage and triple cooked chips.
We opted for fillet of beef and salmon which we had with baby potatoes.
We’re not normally fans of dessert so we opted for some liqueur coffees for after, himself having an Irish coffee while I had a Bailey’s.
It was refreshing change to be in a hotel which serves after dinner coffees with proper whipped cream and not the “squirty” stuff. Chef doesn’t allow that, the waitress told us.
The breakfasts are probably what the Fitzwilliam can brag about most.
While the continental breakfast is served in a buffet style the cooked breakfasts are cooked to order.
The Fitzwilliam breakfast will set you up for the day or you can opt for an omelette served with the filling of your choice or even kippers.
For more information about the hotel, telephone 0044 28 9044 2080, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call in Fitzwilliam Belfast, Great Victoria Street, Belfast, BT2 7BQ.