I’m back at theÂ sumptuousÂ Merchant HotelÂ in Belfast’sÂ CathedralÂ Quarter,Â site of a rather infamous party I threw almost three years ago. (let’s just say people are still talking about it, thank you very much.) It’s posh, for lack of a better word – meaning attentive, attractive, and very well-proportioned – with an Italianate sandstone facade of columns and capitals backed by carefully restored High Victorian interiors. In fact, the former Ulster BankÂ headquartersÂ wouldn’t look out-of-place in London or Paris. For a city which ten years ago had but a single boutique hotel, theÂ MerchantÂ is a perfect example of how much in this city has changed. Even atÂ the height of the property bust two years ago the hotel was able to build an Art Deco extension and more than double in size, adding rooms, a spa, and the city’s only authentic jazz bar. To call it a success would be an understatement. From the soaring grandeur of the Great Room Restaurant (where even the profiteroles are swan-necked),Â to theÂ perfectly judged and beautifully friendly staff,Â to the overstuffed beds and ample marble bathrooms, the Merchant is an all-out triumph.