The idea behind Bullitt was from around 2013/2014 and this came to life when the property opened in October 2016. The owners of the company saw a gap in the market in the 3- and 4-star properties and just wanted to bring something new and vibrant to the city. Three years on, Bullitt has brought to you stylish, comfy rooms; fresh, local food; delicious drinks and an eclectic events calendar, all in the heart of Belfast city centre.
We sat down with Michael Sullivan, General Manager of Bullitt Hotel, to discuss all things Bullitt and Belfast and to find out a little bit more about this urban hotel.
What makes Bullitt unique?
One thing that makes separates Bullitt from other hotels is our line-up of eclectic events and activities for locals and visitors to the hotel, from chunky knitting to rooftop yoga. We have become the home to a lot of the local music and cultural festivals as well as celebrating and exploring the worlds of art and literature. While other hotels can be quite corporate focused, we like to embrace the creativity and communal side of running a city-centre business. However we still provide a home for corporate customers through our unique meeting spaces and by hosting networking events.
Our staff also make Bullitt unique. When we opened in 2016 there was quite a recruitment shortage here in Northern Ireland so, during the recruitment process, we hired people based on their attitude rather than solely focusing on experience. This allowed us to then train people to the highest standard and as a company this is where our expertise lies. We encourage our staff to bring through their own personality in everything they do, to live by our no-nonsense philosophy and deliver a top-quality service with no nasty surprises. You won’t find the guy at the front door in top hat and tails, but what you will find is friendly, quirky, hard-working staff who will go above and beyond to help make your stay as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. A lot of the feedback you read from the likes of TripAdvisor and other online platforms mention how great our staff our and the relaxed atmosphere that we create here, and we often see that result in repeat custom.
We try to add something unique and different to every part of the building. We have Babel which is the rooftop bar and it is unique in itself with a fabulous seating area, amazing city views and artwork on the roof space as visitors look over the balcony. We also have 3 different styles of rooms for customers to enjoy with access to rain showers and smart TVs. In our lifts we have Northern Ireland accents which a lot of visitors from outside of Northern Ireland enjoy.
What do you love about managing Bullitt?
There is so much that I love about managing a hotel like Bullitt.
No two days will ever be the same as every day brings up a new and exciting challenge, but I think the best thing about running this particular property is the fact that it is positively perceived by the people of Belfast and further afield. We see this through online reviews about the food and quality of the rooms, but above all is the staff friendliness which gives me a special pride because I was part of it from the very beginning and it is great to see three years later that it is at the same level. I love the guest feedback and seeing the experience they have when they come through the doors.
Where would you recommend visitors to go?
When we opened, we created a ‘Bullitt Recommends’ map and these are available for all our guests at reception. Many people who come here are visitors who aren’t familiar with the city so by providing this map we are acting as a guide, breaking it down into categories of shopping, food and drink.
One of the best things to happen to the city is the Taste and Tour food tours, where they take groups of people on food and drink walks around the city centre, so this would be a popular activity that I would recommend to guests.
Overall, we let people choose for themselves and I think the fact our location is so central, vibrant and close to popular attractions such as Victoria Square, St George’s Market and popular restaurants and bars that there is something for everyone.
Whats next on the cards for Bullitt?
For Bullitt in Belfast, next on the cards would be building on what we already have here. Within the hospitality industry, some hotels become quite stagnant over a period of time, so we are trying to avoid that and constantly aim to reinvent the wheel and do different events and activities to appeal to various cross-sections of the community.
For Bullitt as a brand, we will try to replicate what we have done here in Dublin within the next 18 months. We have purchased a site on Capel Street, and we are confident that what we have created here will translate very well in Dublin City.