Super budget brand easyHotel's plans to open in Belfast could be held up by officials despite the company receiving "reassurances" its small, affordable room concept would get the green light.
Legislators in Northern Ireland have not issued an operators licence for the 81-bedroom hotel in Howard Street, which is due to open in September 2018 following a £5m investment.
A number of the double rooms in the hotel are below the 13sq m required by Northern Ireland legislation, which has yet to be updated to bring it in line with the rest of the UK.
A spokesperson for the company said: "easyHotel makes a significant contribution to local economies. Our popular room format offers basic comfortable accommodation from £19.99 a room so that guests have more to spend in the space outside their rooms.
"That means more expenditure in local restaurants, shops and tourist locations. Our rooms are fully compliant with the very latest national guidance on room sizes. Procedural delays at the assembly mean that guidance has not yet been updated in Northern Ireland, but in our on-going dialogue with Tourism Northern Ireland throughout the planning process we have received reassurances.
"Ultimately this is a discretionary matter and we have written to the Permanent Secretary at the Department for the Economy and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, seeking urgent clarification."
David Crowe and Kevin Baird (pictured) are behind Belfast's first super budget hotel. Crowe had previously said: "We believe Belfast is ready for this hotel and this brand. As a super budget hotel I'm very proud of the quality of this hotel, which will offer rooms at a reasonable price.
"It is perfect for someone who wants a clean and comfortable room, right at the heart of Belfast's city centre. It works for the discerning tourist who wants to explore the city, the historic pubs, museums, the many fine restaurants, as well as all that Belfast has to offer."