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Monday, 26 September 2011

The Europa Hotel at 40

This year marks one of Belfast's most iconic modern buildings 40th birthday. The Europa Hotel has stood on the site of the old Great Victoria Street Railway Station for 40 years and in that time has survived multiple bombings and welcomed famous faces from around the world. Tonight on BBC One Northern Ireland a special documentary entitled "The Europa Hotel - Bombs, Bullets and Business as Usual" tracks the eventful 40 years through a series of contributions and archive footage.

The Europa Hotel - Bombs, Bullets and Business as Usual airs on BBC One Northern Ireland at 10:35pm tonight (Monday 26 September 2011).

Photo by antwerpenR on flickr.com.

The Europa Hotel is situated on the site of the Great Northern Railway Companys Belfast Terminus. Built in 1840 the station was demolished in the 1960’s when planning permission was granted to develop a hotel of 200 bedrooms and 5 suites. The Europa Hotel was constructed between 1969 and July 1971 for the Ulster Transport Authority. Farrans Construction built the twelve storey building from a design by Sydney Kaye, Eric Firkin & Partners of London.  
From February 1983 to October 1986 the Europa was briefly re-branded as the 'Forum Hotel' in line with Grand Metropolitan Trading's policy of naming all of their hotels the same name. In October 1986 the Europa's new owner Colin Noble (Emerald Group) immediately reverted back to the Europa name.  
During the latter half of 1993 the hotel received a major face-lift after new owner - Hastings Hotel Group - purchased the hotel for £4.4m. The hotel has been placed in receivership for two years and had acquired around £3m worth of bomb damage. The new owners appointed Robinson McIlwaine Architects and Graham Construction to transform the dilapidated building into a 184 room, 4 star hotel at a cost of around £6m. The new Europa re-opened in January 1994. Since then the Europa has grown by a further 56 rooms to make it the largest hotel in Northern Ireland at 240 rooms.

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