By Geoff Percival
The Choice Hotel Group is looking to continue expanding both in Ireland and the UK after announcing the addition of three hotels to its roster.
The Irish-owned group has acquired the Waterside Hotel in Donabate, in north Co Dublin for an undisclosed sum. That deal is due to be completed in the next few weeks. In addition, it has taken on the management contracts for well-known Galway hotels, the Meyrick and the G Hotel.
The new additions bring to eight the number of hotels in Choice’s portfolio. It manages Cork’s Montenotte Hotel and has management contracts for the Malone Lodge Hotel in Belfast and London’s Croydon Park Hotel.
As well as the Waterside, it owns outright the Hotel Woodstock in Ennis and the House Hotel in Galway.
Management is understood to be particularly keen on expanding in the west, and specifically in the Galway area, as it sees the region being largely Brexit-proof.
“We’re not standing still. We are planning significant refurbishment of several of our hotels and envisage several million euros upgrading our new acquisitions and some of our existing hotel stock,” said Choice chief executive Andy O’Neill.
“We said last year that we intended growing the business and I believe we are ahead of our target expansion, doubling the numbers of hotels we own or operate in the space of 18 months... We will continue to pursue opportunities both in Ireland and in the UK as they arise,” said Mr O’Neill.
It is understood that Choice will spend around €2m on refurbishing the Meyrick, the G Hotel, the Croydon Park — the lease of which Choice re-acquired last year — and the Waterside, which it plans to convert into a boutique hotel.
“Our relationship with Choice International is very important in our expansion also, allowing us the ability to connect hotels globally through their central reservations system, with access to several global brands,” he added.
Competition in the Irish and UK hotels market is hotting up, partially on the back of Swedish group Pandox and Israel’s Fattal Hotels recently buying Jurys Inn for €908m with an eye on expansion; but also on the Maldron/Clayton-owning Dalata Hotels Group having five UK hotels in the planning stages and a pipeline of 1,281 new rooms across Britain and Ireland opening this year and next.
Recent hotel sector data showed a strong end to 2017, with revenue per available room up nearly 8% in Dublin and almost 9% for regional Ireland, with occupancy rates up strongly across the country.