Hotels at Titanic ports
3 of a kind
GRAND HARBOUR, SOUTHAMPTON
West Quay Road, Southampton, Hampshire. Tel: 0044-2380-633033, devere-hotels.co.uk
The Titanic called to Southampton on April 4th, 1912, and of the 1,523 people who lost their lives 549 came from the town.
This nautical-themed hotel overlooks the water and its massive glass atrium has the look of a prow. Its meeting rooms are named after ships that sailed with the pilgrim fathers to America in 1620 and it also has an exhibition in its banqueting hall with pieces from the Titanic.
Aer Arann now flies to Southampton from Ireland and the city has plenty of nautical events through the year including many, this year, linked to the Titanic including walks, visits to graveyards and the setting off of distress flares in the evening (details on Southampton.gov.uk).
After Southampton, the Titanic went to Cherbourg (on April 10th), where the La Regence Hotel, in the old town facing the port comes recommended (42 quai Caligny, Cherbourg-Octeville, laregence.com). Cherbourg is also holding Titanic events, including an exhibition.
Rooms: There are 173 bedrooms, some with balconies looking out to sea. Room types include traditional rooms with bath and shower, executive rooms with balconies and lounges, and Deluxe Rooms with kingsize beds and waterfront deluxe rooms. There are also suites. Doubles from £99 (€119).
34-38 Victoria Street, Belfast BT1 3GH. Tel: 0044-2890-220200, malmaison.com
The hotel is in a key position, between the city centre and the point where the river goes out to the docks. Malmaison has a maritime history itself having been a seed warehouse and it retains its carved, stone exterior, oak beams, tall ceilings and cast-iron features.
The hotel has also just been refurbished with a nautical theme. The public areas downstairs have lost the trademark Malmaison mystical, shady atmosphere and been brightened with a New England beach house look (although of course the Titanic never reached that coast). It includes tongue-and-groove timber, blue and white fabrics, plantation shutters, vintage buoys from Nova Scotia, ships lanterns and 1950s photos of beach holidays.
The hotel has a Titanic package costing £120 (€144) each for two nights with full Irish breakfast, Titanic cocktail (loosely based on the last desserts served on the ship) and two tickets to the new Titanic Belfast, visitor centre – known locally, due to its shape, as the “iceberg”. Oh that Northern humour.
Rooms: There are 64 guest rooms including 38 doubles/ twins, 24 superior doubles and two suites (named Samson and Goliath after the Harland Wolff cranes). Samson spans almost the whole end of the building and has a full-size pool table, sumptuous furniture (including 8ft bed), flaming gas fire and two giant plasma TVs. In the middle of the bathroom is a bath and there are two showers, side by side. Other bedrooms have crisp cottons and plump pillows, moody lighting and snazzy decor and slate-floored bathrooms with power-showers. Doubles from £99 (€118) a night at weekends and £150 (€180) during the week, suites from £315 (€378).
COMMODORE HOTEL, COBH
Cobh, Co Cork, Ireland. Tel: 021-4811277, commodorehotel.ie
This hotel was built just after the Famine, in 1854, in what was then known as Queenstown, the last port of call for many Irish emigrants, and so it existed when the Titanic called by on April 11th and picked up 123 passengers (44 survived).
A German called Otto Humbert and his English wife owned the hotel in 1914 when war broke out and his family had to hide in a wine cellar for a while when the British RMS Lusitania sank off the Cork coast after being torpedoed by a German submarine, just three years after the Titanic disaster. Bodies and survivors were brought ashore and the hotel was converted into a hospital.
The classic seafront building is part of a terrace overlooking the harbour. Traditional activities can still be enjoyed here, such as reading books and taking tea by an open fire, or watching liners dock, from the roof garden. The Captain’s Table Restaurant is adorned with maritime mementoes.
Rooms: There are 42 rooms many of which have views of the harbour. Doubles start at €49 (although current special offers have rooms from €25). There are also various Titanic packages that include a visit to the Queenstown Heritage Story, the new Titanic Experience in the White Star Line Building and a Titanic Trail walking tour, from €104 each for two nights B+B and a dinner.