Rare George Best memorabilia to go on display in new Belfast hotel
The hotel will be also named in honour of the late footballer
The soon to be opened George Best hotel on Belfast’s Donegall Square
Only the Best memorabilia will be on display in a soon to be opened Belfast hotel named in honour of the city’s most famous son and one of the most talented footballers to ever play the beautiful game.
George’s sister and brother-in-law Barbara and Norman McNarry have agreed to lend a number of personal items of memorabilia from his illustrious football career to be put on display at the George Best hotel.
The collection includes a painting of the footballer, a Northern Ireland jersey - signed at his funeral by Sir Alex Ferguson, Eamon Holmes, Alex Higgins and others – the very first George Best Ulster Bank £5 note, some of his most famous clothes, his personal book collection, awards, diaries, trophies, and unseen photos.
The hotel’s general manager Damian Gilvary and head of sales Gareth Milligan travelled to what they described as “a secret location” to meet Barbara and her husband to view the items and personal effects of the legendary player that will be on display.
“It was a very surreal and amazing experience to see all of these incredible items that Barbara and Norman have agreed to share with the hotel and guests,” Mr Gilvary said.
“It was very overwhelming to meet the people who knew George so well and being able to discuss and touch George’s personal effects, possessions, clothes and diaries. This just merely enhances the exciting prospect and vision of what the George Best Hotel will be, simply the best.”
While Belfast’s airport has also been named in Best’s honour, the hotel will be the only place showcasing his personal memorabilia.
“George Best was the David Beckham of his day,” Mr Gilvary said. “Even back then he was a worldwide brand that defined the celebrity status of a footballer renowned for his good looks, sense of fashion and style. But most of all he left a legacy in football that will never be forgotten, even Pelé described him as “the greatest player in the world”.
The development of the listed former Scottish Mutual building will be the first of four hotels and an £80 million pound investment into Belfast by Signature Living.
The substantial investment into the City includes the £25 million redevelopment of the historic Crumlin Road Court House to create a 150 bedroom hotel along with the Waring Hotel, the former War Memorial Building on Waring Street.
The George Best Hotel will be the fourth football themed hotel within the Signature Living hotel group. The Group’s football themed hotel portfolio includes the renowned Shankly Hotel Liverpool – conceived as a tribute to the legendary Bill Shankly, the £12 million development of the Dixie Dean Hotel Liverpool in tribute to Everton and England player Dixie Dean and the £15 million development of the Shankly Hotel in Preston where Bill Shankly spent most of his playing career at Preston North End FC.