The Bullitt Hotel – Stay and Play at Belfast’s hippest hotel

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Finding the perfect hotel for your short break trip requires a strategic decision. Firstly you need one that fits your budget and secondly it needs to be centrally located to maximise the time you have in a destination. The Bullitt Hotel in Belfast city centre ticked all those boxes and more during my recent stay in the capital.

Bullitt is so much more than just a bed for the night, the mantra is written on the walls, Work, Relax And Play, it aims to be more of a millennial social space than a traditional hotel, similar to the successful establishments of the Hoxton & Soho hotels in London , each recess is functional yet swanky.

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Bullitt Hotel Location
Bullitt Hotel Location - Vagabond Joe

Opened in late 2016, Bullitt has quickly become a hotel of choice in Belfast city centre and it’s not hard to see why. The hotel’s location can be summed up in one word, superb. Situated in Belfast’s Cathedral quarter, it’s a stone’s throw from the shopping mecca, Victoria Square, Belfast central station and walking distance to everything we wanted to see, eat and do.

Every bar, restaurant and attraction I wanted to frequent was a short walk from the Bullitt, even Titanic Belfast which is 30 mins on foot, or if your feet are tired like mine were, take an Uber, it was less than a fiver!

Access to Bullitt is via the arcade style Church Lane which is decorated with colourful murals, which then opens out into a vast walled courtyard and at the centre is a sculpture comprised of Jameson barrels.

Bullitt Hotel Courtyard - Vagabond Joe
Walled courtyard and at the centre is a sculpture comprised of Jameson barrels
Why “Bullitt”?

The name might give it away to some, but there’s a subtle and discreet tribute to the 1960’s classic Steve McQueen film which runs throughout the hotel.

Bullitt, Belfast Trendy and Fun Hotel - Vagabond Joe

The free flowing open plan layout enables each facet to pay homage to McQueen in their own unique way, including the name of the hotel’s 68-seater restaurant ‘Taylor and Clay’, is another nod to the movie.

Rooms at the Bullitt Hotel
Rooms at the Bullitt Hotel - Vagabond Joe

Bullitt offers 43 rooms in 3 styles and sizes, dinky, comfy & roomy, all with a king size bed, rainfall showers, steady and free WiFi and smart wall-mounted TVs. Bullitt does away with minibars and rather provides fresh milk in an otherwise empty bar fridge and a digital personal in-roof safe for valuables.

Embracing the Scandi style of minimalism, Bullitt does away with conventional wardrobes, providing a free-standing rack with a few coat hangers to keep your items crease free. Perfect for a weekend but perhaps not ideal for a week long stay.

Bullitt Hotel wardrobes to maximise space- Vagabond Joe
Bullitt does away with traditional wardrobes to maximise space

Bathrooms are fitted out in a floor to ceiling monochrome tile, powerful rainfall showers with a handheld wand and Filbert & Mason toiletries. Changes could be made to the bathroom lighting, which currently has just two settings, off and blinding, which is quite bedazzling especially in the wee-hours of the morning. Pun intended 😉

Filbert & Mason toiletries - Vagabond Joe
Bullitt Hotel Filbert & Mason toiletries
Bullitt Hotel Bathroom - Vagabond Joe

Rooms are complete with a complementary tea tray, this is the United Kingdom after all! The addition of British brands like Dragonfly tea and Lyons coffee bags don’t go unnoticed and certainly are a welcome inclusion, and head and shoulders above granulated coffee sachets you find in many 4 and 5-star establishments.

Complementary tea tray - Vagabond Joe

While I don’t consider myself a light sleeper, considerable noise from the courtyard and/or the rooftop bar invaded my peaceful slumber, granted it was earlier than I’d normally crash, about 10pm. Bullitt is the ideal refuge for night owls and hip individuals, it’s certainly a place to be seen. Simply pack some ear plugs if you’re staying on a weekend and easily woken.

It’s the small things that matter. Unbeknownst to me at the time, when the elevator doors closed Belfast based TV and radio presenter and broadcaster Joe Lindsay would announce “Doors closing… so they are”. Each room features stylish copper lamps, Do Not Disturb signs use commissioned artwork from artist, Frank Moth, notepads, even upturned mugs and pencils with a creative messages of “Hello Brewtiful” and “2B or not 2B”. It’s as though designers covered every possible angle.

Bullitt Hotel upturned mugs and pencils with a creative messages - Vagabond Joe
Grub to Go at Bullitt Hotel - Vagabond Joe

It’s always nice to have options and breakfast at Bullitt is no different. Included in the rate and available in each room is a Grub to Go bag. Simply nominate the hour you’d like it, hang the paper bag on the handle outside your room and the food fairy will drop it outside your door overnight. Featuring yogurt with granola, juice and a piece of fruit it’s ideal to throw in your day bag and snack your way around the city. If you’re seeking something more substantial, a full Ulster breakfast is available at the Taylor & Clay downstairs.

Food & Drink at the Bullitt Hotel
Food & Drink at the Bullitt Hotel - Vagabond Joe

Whether it’s a space for meetings, a quick coffee in the Espresso bar and lunch during the day and a place to socialise and mingle over cocktails and food at night, Bullitt offers it all at its numerous food and drink outlets throughout the hotel namely the Bullitt and Courtyard Bar, Baltic and Babel.

During warmer drier weather, the walled Bullitt courtyard stocked with tables, wicker chairs and a nearby bar is a sure-fire destination for alfresco drinkers and diners. The large glass panels of the lobby separate inside and out, enabling the lively and open-plan Bullitt Bar to smoothly transition into the Taylor & Clay restaurant which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, decked out with masculine tones of exposed brick, earthy colours and leather throughout.

Walled Bullitt hotel courtyard - Vagabond Joe
The walled Bullitt courtyard Bar

Most days I left early in the morning and the lobby and Bullitt bar was a quiet and tranquil space. Upon returning to the hotel after a day of sightseeing, the ambiance changed significantly, it can only be described as lively, bustling with groups and couples sipping mouth-watering cocktails and craft beers and freelance workers getting their caffeine fix from the Espresso Bar.

Baltic is Bullitt’s cosy bar located just off reception. With vintage skis hanging from the ceiling and ski posters on the walls, it feels a bit disjointed from the theme from rest of the hotel. However, Baltic is Belfast’s only ski-themed bar and a great little drinking den for a quiet beverage if Bullitt bar and the lobby is pumping.

Babel, Bullitt hotel’s rooftop bar - Vagabond Joe
Babel, the hotel’s rooftop bar

The Bullitt crew describes Babel, the hotel’s rooftop bar and garden, as a way to ‘elevate your evening’. The latest addition to Belfast’s growing social scene, Babel offers live music and DJ’s to attract the weekend crowd, so be sure to spruce yourself up for the sophistication of the top floor and enjoy views over the city.

Play at Bullitt
Bullitt Hotel Belfast Street Art - Vagabond Joe

A refreshing take on a ‘traditional hotel’, some of the trimmings have been stripped away in the Bullitt design to provide guests with maximum comfort at a reasonable price. As a result, there’s no spa, gym or pool but who really has time for that on a city break anyway?

Other features include a multi-purpose function room. Despite sharing the floor with it, I left without seeing the Good Room. It’s available for private functions, the self contained function room seats up to 40 people and offers an eclectic events calendar. Candle making anyone?

Bullitt Hotel Highlights
staff-generated map of the hot places to eat, drink and frequent - Vagabond Joe

People can sometimes make or break an experience, and the staff at Bullitt raise the bar to a whole new level. The front of house staff I encountered during my stay were Adam and Niall, both young, cheerful and clearly passionate about the Bullitt brand. My check in was swift and I was provided with a staff-generated map of the hot places to eat, drink and frequent. Clearly they have all the answers and share a passion for their city, the offer to ‘ask us anything throughout your stay here in Belfast’ was clearly a genuine one.

Awarded Newcomer Of The Year 2018 in Georgina Campbell’s longest-running independent hospitality awards in Ireland, Bullitt is clearly doing something right.

Would I stay here again? Absolutely, without a doubt!

Where: 40a Church Lane, Belfast, BT1 4QN

Price Point: From £100 p/n, incl Grub to Go breakfast.

Stay at the Bullitt Hotel
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