23 Stories 16 – Interview with Amanda Ramsey, Director of Interiors and Floor Design, Carryduff

Amanda Ramsey is one of Northern Ireland’s most renowned interior designers and is responsible for the Grand Central Hotel’s glamorous décor which will wow thousands of guests when the hotel opens this June. Amanda spoke recently about her job and how she came up with the design scheme for Northern Ireland’s most anticipated new hotel.

– Amanda, tell us about your design scheme for the hotel

The original Grand Central Hotel was widely known for its flair and decoration and that is what we want for the new hotel. The Grand Central was a social hub in Belfast and Hastings Hotels hope that this will carry through for generations to come. The Grand Café on the ground floor will be a place to drop in and catch up, while the Observatory Bar on the top floor will be an iconic destination providing spectacular views over Belfast.

The concept of the interior on the ground and first floors is to keep the area as open as possible using the fantastic double height spaces. Within this social space we wanted to create defined areas that felt similar and coherent yet maintained their own identity. Working with the design team at Ulster Carpets we created an organic abstract design with lots of texture. Subtle changes of greens to gold help to define each area and ensure flow through the restaurant, afternoon tea and bar areas.

In the guestrooms and 16 suites the carpet design is a play on geometrics in soft grey tones.

At the top of the building on the 23rd floor you’ll find the Observatory Bar, the highest bar in Ireland. Here we emphasised strong watermark type textures and highlights of copper to give warmth and contrast, creating a bold design for this must visit venue.

– So what impact do you hope the design will have on hotel guests and visitors?
We want the Grand Central Hotel to evoke that sense of nostalgia from the original hotel while also being up-to-date with current trends and expectations. We have used artefacts from the original hotel, but we’ve also used statement carpets and rugs to create visual impact.

The Observatory Bar is a key example of this. It offers magnificent views over Belfast and the surrounding areas so to complement this we created a strong, striking carpet design that gives a sense of being in an iconic space.

– How did you come up with the colour palettes?
The palettes used in the Grand Central reflect current trends for neutrals with accent colours. We’ve used rich warm bronze and copper tones to create an exclusive look in some areas, relaxing soft greys in the guestrooms and bright greens and golds in the open plan public areas. The fabrics and upholstery through the hotel will match and complement the exciting carpet designs.

– What were your sources of inspiration?
Inspiration came from a number of places. There are some art deco influences seen throughout the hotel as well as modern luxury. We’ve tried to blend old and new leaning on the luxury feel of the former Grand Central Hotel while giving it a fresh 21st century twist.

Thank you to Ulster Carpets who have worked alongside Amanda, supplying over 12000sqm of bespoke carpet for the Grand Central Hotel for giving us permission to share this interview.



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