Hastings Hotels has announced the completion of a five-year renewal project of the Europa Hotel following a £15 million investment.
The extensive renovation programme encompasses upgrades to all 272 guest bedrooms, the Lobby Bar, Piano Restaurant, the meeting rooms on the second floor and a remodelling of the Penthouse on the 12th floor.

To celebrate, the leading hotel collection has commissioned renowned local artist Colin Davidson to create a new painting. ‘The ‘71’ measures 7 foot by 5 foot and is an abstract rendering of the bus that Colin used to take on his journey home from school.

Howard Hastings, Chairman of Hastings Hotels said: “It is no mean feat to completely renovate a hotel, especially when it’s one of the busiest hotels in Northern Ireland. However, that is what we have done and are thrilled to have now fully upgraded the front and back of house at the Europa Hotel, representing a £15 million investment over a period of five years. An iconic property and an important landmark to Belfast, the investments were designed to modernise the hotel’s facilities and preserve its rich history.

To mark the completion of this momentous project, we are delighted to have commissioned Colin Davidson to create a stunning painting that is now proudly displayed in the lobby. ‘No 71’ was the bus that took Colin from his school, Methody, to near where he lived on the Upper Malone Road in Belfast. From close up, it is an abstract blaze of red and yellow brushstrokes and only by looking at it from a distance can the image of the double decker bus be discerned. The painting evokes fond nostalgic childhood memories of growing up in Belfast, for Colin, myself and I hope lots of our guests and is a unique nod to the once in a generation renewal project of this special hotel.”
Colin Davidson said: “It’s a real privilege for me, not just as an artist but also a man who was born in Belfast and grew up during the dark days in this city, to have a painting hanging in this iconic hotel and to see it renewed once again and looking to the future. This painting is personal to both me and Howard. ‘The 71’ is a red double-decker bus that we both got to and from our different schools, albeit a bit further down the road and a few years apart! As my child-self moved into adulthood, this was my journey home. I captured every landmark on that route as I looked outward. It became my escape. This is a painting of a memory.

It’s an iconic part of Belfast’s history that I wanted to reflect. The lovely synergy in this, is that not only is ‘The 71’ a memory of our childhood, but the Europa was also opened for the first time in 1971, so it makes me feel that this painting is meant to be here and that is a delight for me.”
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