The George Best hotel is making fast progress in becoming the city?s most luxurious and coveted hotels.
After Signature Living announced plans to turn it into a boutique hotel in Belfast, the city will not be disappointed in the promise to turn the building into a strong competitor for the most beautiful building on Donegall Square.
The fiercest competition for the title comes from Belfast City Hall, a magnificent and breath-taking building that dominates the area.
A Beacon of Civic Pride
The building is over 100 years old and was built to reflect Belfast?s newly acquired status of ?city?. After Belfast gained the title in 1888, work began to commemorate the title and provide a home for the workers performing civic duties in the 20th century.
At the time, Belfast was in a season of great prosperity and industrial success, as well as briefly taking over Dublin as the most populous city in Ireland.
Belfast City Hall was designed by architect Sir Alfred Brumwell Thomas. He was known for being an exponent of the Baroque Revival and Belfast City Hall is considered the finest example of Edwardian Baroque in the British Isles.
The design is so iconic that it?s spawned lookalikes all over the world. Durban City Hall in South Africa is nearly an exact replica of Belfast City Hall, while the Port of Liverpool building is eerily similar.
Beautiful Gardens for Everyone to Enjoy
Surrounding the stunning City Hall is a formation of well-kept and gorgeous grassy areas. The grounds are public property and can often be found littered with professionals, tourists and teenagers. All enjoying the sun of Belfast and the beautiful setting.
The grounds are also home to a number of memorials and statues that pay respect to lives lost and great figures of Belfast.
A granite column dedicated to the American Expeditionary force, the Titanic Memorial dedicated to those who lost their life in the sinking of RMS Titanic, the Imjin River Memorial for the Irish troops who fell in the Battle of Chaegunghyon during the Korean War and Northern Ireland?s main war memorial, the Garden of Remembrance and Cenotaph, all take pride of place in the gardens.
Queen Victoria has a monument dedicated to her, as do several of Belfast?s mayors from over the years. James Magennis VC was the only Northern Irish soldier to receive the Victoria Cross during World War II and he is now forever remembered in the grounds of Belfast City Hall.
Belfast?s latest legend was pegged to be added to the variety of statues, with Belfast City Council ratifying a plan to erect a statue to the great man himself. The total cost of getting the statue in lace was estimated at ?200,000 and fundraising is still ongoing.
The View from The George Best Hotel
Two of the best-looking buildings in Belfast are only a stone?s throw away from each other. From the windows of the former Scottish Mutual Building, you can overlook the beautiful gardens and gaze upon the magnificence of Belfast City Hall.
In 2005, a Memorial Trust was launched to gain public funds to erect a temporary statue in front of the city hall. This trust was separate from the council but has the council’s blessings. Unfortunately, the trust was closed in 2008 after not managing to reach its ?200,000 target.
Thankfully, George best will still get his lasting monument. The George Best Hotel will be a dedication to?one of football?s greatest, with memorabilia from his life and career.
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