It's a great sign when you leave with no photos, not so great for a blogger when writing a blog though but please take my word for it. The homemade sausage rolls, finger sandwiches and selection of Pastries where a talking point throughout and eyes lit up when the colourful and detailed trays landed on the table. Trust me when I say I didn't fancy my chances asking the girls to wait for me to take a few snaps of the food... I could see a glimmer in their eyes (totally not taking the blame that I just got stuck in, would never make a food blogger!)
After I received the invite for the afternoon tea Colin and I decided we would stay up in Belfast and make it our Christmas night away. We try to make it an annual thing to see if we can still maintain a conversation instead of just a handover of information and instructions, see if we can still have a laugh together and ensure that we want to head into another year together. Glad to report I still like him and 2018 is go.
On a serious note though the day and night was a tonic. I was feeling it before I took a night away, the pressure of this time of year, the juggle of work and home getting heavy and the 'busyness' sucking the joy from everyday. To be honest at one stage I said I didn't feel like I had the time to go away for the day, that the work was piling up, that I needed to spend my week off work with the girls and I shouldn't be being selfish. But it was the opposite.
I felt reset, I laughed hearty 'get your teeth out' laughs (people with prominent teeth will get this 😜) and felt raring to go again.
Anyway I digress!
We stayed in the Europa right beside the Train Station so Colin hopped on a train and met me from the Afternoon tea.
The hotel is situated in the centre of Belfast and within walking distance of bars, restaurants and shopping.
I used the valet car parking and left my car for the day and night for only £18 which is a bargain compared to some of the parking prices in the city.
I have been to the Europa twice for afternoon tea before (it's so stunning, I highly recommend) and it's been the venue for many work conferences but I have never had the pleasure of staying before.
The rooms are traditional but opulent with elegant furnishings and all the modern amenities that's needed (including a Nespresso machine.... as essential as the shower in my eyes 😉☕️)
The 4 Star hotel has hosted many VIPs and we stayed in the same suite that President Clinton stayed in when he visited Belfast so technically I've slept in the Presidents bed (far from the First Lady to say this I'm sure 😜)
The prices are very reasonable for such a central hotel with the finest hospitality and it offers a huge range of local produce (nothing beats a proper Irish cooked breakfast especially after a night out!)
This months current offer is 'bed, bags and bubbles' and is for 2 people sharing for an overnight stay in a classic double room, £30 shopping voucher for Victoria Square, Christmas cocktail for when you need to rest after a hard day shopping and full Irish breakfast the next morning. The prices for this are from just £70 per person sharing. They also offer gift vouchers and a perfect gift for someone special to be used towards a special night out, luxurious overnight stay, spa treatments, afternoon tea or even getting a round at the bar. The gift cards can be used at any of the 6 Hastings Hotels as well as the new Grand Central hotel that will be opening in summer 2018. You can purchase their gift cards here. We were very kindly invited to stay in The Europa but were under no obligation to post, blog or big them up. I get asked a lot on what hotels I would recommend for people visiting Belfast and Ireland and I love to be being able to direct them to the blog for pictures and a snap shot of our experience.
An extra special thanks to my mum and Nana extraordinaire who without we wouldn't get to snap up little opportunities like this, we can truly relax knowing the girls are in the very best care. Again this was not requested but she did sponsor my overnight stays for 21 years.