I live in a Victorian townhouse in a leafy part of Belfast’s prestigious Malone Road. A few years ago I saw an opportunity to develop a portion of the property into a successful airbnb. In the day to day running I’ve learnt the following three things about myself:
• I love people.
• I love Belfast.
• I want to connect more visitors with an eclectic and authentic taste of all Belfast and NI has to offer.
The opportunity recently arose to acquire the two adjacent townhouses on he Malone Road. So the creation of the Harrison began.
The Harrison will offer unique flexible guest accommodation in unpretentious yet eclectic, inspiring and interesting surroundings It is a lifestyle space here travellers can stay in comfort and luxury and also feel part of a community. Guests can soak in the history of a 1879 Victorian townhouse experience the rich diverse culture of the Queens University and Museum quarter with its many eateries,art galleries and botanical gardens.
I aim to build on the legacy of Belfast’s Victorian heritage through the décor which successfully blends finest Victoriana with humorous conversation pieces and colour. The individually styled en suite bedrooms feature high quality beds surrounded by eclectic, antique furnishings. The large, front of house bedrooms will have comfortable seating areas where guests can enjoy a cup of tea and the paper.
Independent travellers will have the opportunity to experience the warmth of genuine N. Ireland hospitality while being attended to by friendly and helpful staff who will serve food and advice on Belfast’s best kept secrets in equal measure.
Guests will have the opportunity to receive a flavour of the local arts and culture scene through the communal spaces running local events and workshops.In this sense The Harrison is neither a hotel or a guesthouse. It is a concept accommodation where guests can experience the best of local culture in a home from home environment along with local people.
Steeped in History
Did you know that 37- 53 Malone Road originally went by the by the address of 1 - 9 Windsor Gardens?
The terrace in which "The Harrison" is to be found today was designed by the Belfast architect William Eaton (1854-1896) who practised from nearby Botanic Avenue and was built during the period 1886-1887.
Such was the appeal of the houses that many of Belfast’s most successful merchants soon took up residence here.
One of the first was John Cleaver, a partner in the Royal Irish Linen Warehouse of Robinson & Cleaver, later to become Belfast's grandest Department Store who moved to No 5 Windsor Gardens (now 45 Malone Road the site of the Harrison from Ashley Villa in Ashley Avenue. Cleaver had 3 sons and 5 daughters and required a substantial property in which to house them!
I need the money raised from crowdfunding to fix the damaged cornicing from 1879 and to replace the mahogany floors with reclaimed mahogany form the old Royal Victoria hospital a mile away.
You are invited to come and stay when the Harrison is completed this spring. Come and be my guest and enjoy the eclectic surroundings. Visit the Queens University, Ulster Museum and Botanic gardens nearby. Enjoy the Lyric theatre where Liam Neeson learnt his craft or the Grand Opera House where there is always top class musicals, plays and events. There are fine dining restaurants, bistros, cafes and bars all around us or why not just come and enjoy our surroundings for a romantic or relaxing break with your partner.
Our heritage rooms all have different features like four poster beds, original fireplaces and free standing Victorian baths in the rooms. The Victoriana rooms are decked out individual collectable pieces of art, antiques and quirky finds that I have picked out myself over years of travelling.
The mastersuite on the ground floor has a fourposter bed and another room that sleeps two more people and a walk in shower suitable for wheelchairs. It is furnished with the finest antiques and beautiful luxurious velvets.