The Merchant Hotel in Waring Street Belfast has long been admired for its distinctive architectural style. Both in its former life as the headquarters of the Ulster Bank and now, its new incarnation as a five star luxury hotel. The original grade a listed building was greatly enhanced in the summer of 2010 by the addition of a £16.5 million extension featuring a wealth of new facilities. This history section deals with the Grade A listed original building. This formidable Giffnock sandstone structure was purpose built as the headquarters of the Ulster bank. The site was originally acquired in 1836. However, the decision to build was not taken until 1857. Bank Directors Robert Grimshaw and James Heron visited Glasgow and Edinburgh to glean as much information as possible on the best banking buildings. It was their earnest wish that the building should appear elegant, substantial and prosperous.
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