Hastings Hotels History
Hastings Hotels in Northern Ireland - the local hotel chain which has stayed upbeat through thick and thin!
Hastings Hotels is the largest independent hotel group in Northern Ireland with six luxurious properties across the province. This family owned company was established in the late 1960's and its founder, Dr Billy Hastings, is still at the helm today as Chairman. Over the past fifteen years has introduced all four of his children to the group in the roles of Managing Director, Sales Director, Marketing Director and Events Director. It has not been an easy thirty years for Dr Hastings and his group of hotels, and despite numerous setbacks and obstacles over the years, the company has continued to grow and grow.
Sir William Hastings founded Hastings Hotels in 1968 by with the purchase of the Stormont and Adair Arms Hotels. In 1971 he bought a group of six run-down railway hotels, but "the troubles" were at their height and very few tourists dared to venture to Northern Ireland. Many of the hotels were heavily bombed and destroyed. In fact the Slieve Donard hotel in Newcastle was at one point nicknamed the 'Titanic' as it was feared it would sink the whole group! Ironic really, as the Slieve is the only remaining hotel of the original six which operates as a hotel today, and it has recently undergone a huge expansion and £15 million investment with the addition of over 50 new Resort bedrooms and a state of the art Spa which was designed in conjunction with world spa consultants, ESPA. Billy Hastings has always been an optimistic man and continued to reinvest whenever he could in his hotels. Proof of this confidence came when he purchased the Europa hotel in Belfast in 1993 as a bombed-out wreck. He proceeded to spend £10 million on rebuilding the hotel, transforming it to the magnificent City centre landmark it is today.
During the 1970's and 80's no international hotel chains had established themselves in Northern Ireland as no one was keen to invest in the Province when there was such little business and continued political unrest. In the early nineties when the Europa hotel came on the market, several hotel chains, including Hyatt, Mariott and Sheraton expressed an interest. However, all interest waned when it suffered that final bomb in 1992. It lay idle for several months until Dr. Hastings had the foresight to see the huge potential opportunities to be gained by incorporating the Europa hotel into the Hastings portfolio. He purchased the hotel in 1995, and now has one of the finest hotels in the Province and certainly the most famous!
Peace in the city
With the onset of the "peace process" business started to pour into Northern Ireland, and within a few years, many of the world's most famous hotel chains started to develop properties across the country. There are now over 4000 bedrooms in Belfast, with three Hastings hotels, the Hilton, Ramada, Jury's, Holiday Inn, Malmaison and Radisson!
Hastings Hotels continue to trade profitably with six hotels in Northern Ireland and a 50% share of the 5 star Merrion Hotel in Dublin. Hastings is today recognised and respected as the leading hotel group in Northern Ireland and is renowned for the warmth of its welcome and personal touch combined with its international standards.
The Hastings portfolio now includes the 5 star Culloden Estate and Spa, the Europa and the Stormont Hotels in Belfast, the Everglades in Derry, the Slieve Donard Resort and Spa in Newcastle and the Ballygally Castle on the Antrim Coast outside Larne. The six fabulous properties offer guests an impressive choice of venues, from city based hotels with easy access to all major air, sea and road links to those that are located amidst breathtaking scenery and world famous golf courses, with a host of leisure and sporting pursuits for all the family – there is something for everyone!
Sales and marketing operations at Hastings have changed dramatically over the years. The challenges faced today are no longer about playing down "the troubles" and encouraging people to come and visit Northern Ireland, but increasingly Hastings are striving to compete on a level playing field in the face of the increased competition in this growing international tourist destination.
So when you're next looking for hotel accommodation in Northern Ireland, or for a relaxing break away, why not consider Hastings Hotels as your first choice. For further information on Hastings hotels please call + 44 (0) 28 9047 1066