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Hastings Hotels A beautifully simple brand for a simply beautiful new icon.

We helped Hastings Hotels develop a new brand for their revival of the Grand Central Hotel.

The Challenge

The Grand Central Hotel, Hastings Hotels newest and most luxurious offering needed a brand to live up to its glamorous and important place in Belfast’s history. A re-imagining and revival of a hotel that once stood at the centre of the city and its social life, the new Grand Central had to embody elegance and sophistication – from the marque colour to the typeface to the tone of voice.

The Approach

The hippocampus (and its more recent visual translation, the seahorse) is a recurring motif in Belfast’s iconography. Once featuring on coins issued by the city’s merchants, today it appears on the city’s coat of arms; in the leadlight windows at city hall; and in many public artworks. It was part of the original Grand Central’s branding and a natural choice for the new brand.

The Execution

The original Grand Central’s charm and magnificence made it a Belfast institution, a social hub that was celebrated as the finest hotel in Ireland, hosting guests such as Mario Lanza, Winston Churchill and the Beatles. It was one of the iconic buildings that celebrated the city’s success in the 19th century, along with the City Hall, Queen’s University and the Ulster Hall. The new Grand Central aspires to the same renown, combining sky-high standards in design, luxury and service with grounded Northern Irish hospitality.

The new brand reflects this balance in the hotel’s visual style and tone of voice. We drew on the hotel’s historical records and annals of Belfast in the 19th century to create collateral that welcomed visitors into a very different but utterly authentic Belfast experience. We commissioned new photography that leveraged the hotel’s unique architecture and endless views. We crafted a new typography, imprinted with the character of this stately place.

Inside grandeur meets glamour just as it did in the Grand Central of yesteryear. Historic stories, of the linen families and the maritime history of Belfast featuring the omnipresent ‘seahorse’ inspire the contemporary design, and luxury is elevated by local authenticity. The hotel is truly something to behold, a new jewel for Belfast with an old soul.

The Results

The new brand is polished, stylish and effortlessly cool, all the while drawing on the heritage of this Belfast icon. The modern Grand Central Hotel is beautifully simple, yet simply beautiful with a unique visual language and tone of voice that has swiftly become synonymous with the Grand Central’s elegance, professional service and warm hospitality. We’ve been delighted to work with Hastings on a project that has already helped reshape Belfast for the incoming era.