Once the world’s most bombed hotel, after being targeted 33 times, it’s metamorphosed in the Fifty years of Belfast’s Europa Hotel.
Part of the fixtures and fittings of the daycent old town they call Belfast.
It has been a favoured hangout for journos all that time.
Back in the day the Irish Times Belfast office relocated there (to work!) after their offices were gutted following a car bomb.
While there have been a pantheon of celebrated journalists who have frequented the Europa.
And those who reported on The Troubles are Trevor McDonald, Kate Adie and John Sergeant.
And yours truly and a group of journos from south of the Border.
Your only man
We got bombed too (drinks!).
And don’t get all PC on me as our Nordie pals are all about the gallows humour.
The night was a Van Morrison cabaret dinner and the drink was flowing.
While there was also the obligatory stumble across to Belfast institution the Crown for a nightcap or two.
In this instant orange stout, and I kid you not.
The Europa has been owned by the inimitable Hastings family for the past 30 years..
And as you would expect they’re laying out the red carpet for the big 50th anniversary celebrations.
Hastings the last word
They have invested over £40m in renovations and have added 88 new luxurious bedrooms to the existing 184.
A new renovation programme is currently underway.
It will see the 90 front-facing superior bedrooms, 85 classic bedrooms and six suites redesigned and upgraded.
Of course, there will always be some rooms which are kept for Presidents (and Travel Editors of the Year).
Clinton fits the bill
And as well as yours truly, Bill Clinton has been a visitor, in 1995.
He booked 110 rooms for his entourage. He returned to stay in 1998.
The Europa story was told in a book published ten years ago called In The Headlines because it always was.
And CEO Julie Hastings proudly recalled: ‘My father had the courage and optimism to buy it when nobody else wanted to.
‘He invested heavily at the time despite the bombings that followed over the next three years.
‘It was his confidence and that of many others that led to Belfast, and Northern Ireland, to begin its journey, to become the well-loved tourist destination that it is today.’
The Europa has launched a Golden Moments package from £115 per room which includes a plush stay, full Irish, signature cocktail in the Piano Lounge, signature truffles and exclusive golden Hastings duck.
And for those of you who haven’t stayed in a Hastings hotel, and if not why not, then you’ll know that rubber ducks are their signature.
Eider expect Julie will have one lined up with a typically punny name to join the likes of her others in the past such as Rory Quackilroy.