Northern Ireland’s Hastings Hotels group is mourning the death of patriarch William Hastings (89). The elder Hastings left school at the age of 16 and built a multi-million dollar hospitality business over a period of 50 years.
"We cannot describe the huge void that he has left in our lives but we take comfort in the fact that he was an inspiration to so many people and has left a lasting legacy which we will remain dedicated in honoring," his family said. Hastings was about to see the debut of what is to be the seventh Hastings hotel and was very much looking forward to seeing the rebirth of the Grand Central Hotel when it opens next year.
Colin Neill, CEO of industry group, Hospitality Ulster, said “He always stayed true to his values, and was respected by not only the industry but by all of his staff. He has left a legacy which has formed the foundation for our now successful tourism industry. It is suiting that with his family so embedded in the industry, his legacy will be carried on for generations to come,” he said.
A spokesperson said he passed away peacefully at home December 15 following a short illness and was surrounded by his wife Joy and children Julie, Howard, Allyson and Aileen. Hastings, who bought the Europa Hotel in Belfast in 1993, also served on the board of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and was also a publican in a varied career.
Hastings purchased his first hotel in 1964 in Ballymena and acquired a portfolio of hotels across Northern Ireland including the Europa Hotel, which was once described as “the most bombed hotel in Europe.” The group os also part owner of Dublin’s five-star Merrion Hotel.
Today, the Hastings Hotels group is one of Northern Ireland’s largest locally owned hospitality businesses, employing more than 1,000 people.
His son Howard who is managing director of the Hastings Group and his daughters Julie, Allyson and Aileen, who are also directors, together with Mr Hastings wife, Joy will continue operating the hotel group as a tribute to his legacy.