One third of Irish hotels have changed owners since 2011, including four out of five in Cork City, generating almost €2.5bn in sales, according to a study by property consultants Savills Ireland.
High-profile transactions in Cork in the past six years include Ireland’s largest hotel operator Dalata taking over the former Clarion and Silver Springs at Lapps Quay and Tivoli and rebranding them under the Clayton banner.
The River Lee Hotel, the Ambassador on Military Hill, and The Radisson in Little Island also changed hands since 2011.
Half of the hotels in Dublin and Limerick changed hands, while one third saw new owners in Galway.
Tom Barrett, head of hotels and leisure at Savills Ireland, said compared to other markets, Ireland is unique in terms of the sheer volume of hotel sales in recent years.
He added continued strong performance in the Irish hotel market and under-supply in Dublin made a strong case for more bedrooms to meet demand.
“Hotel development, like many areas of the property sector, stopped during the downturn, so there is a big element of catch-up in Dublin. This, coupled with air traffic surpassing all previous records in 2016, with further growth expected this year, means there is a real need for new bedroom stock in the right areas,” he said.
Savills said supply would remain small in 2017 with about 180 new bedrooms that are extensions to existing properties.
In 2018, Savills said it expected about 1,500 new bedrooms, including Dalata opening two hotels, a Clayton on Charlemont St in Dublin with 178 bedrooms, and a Maldron on Kevin St in Dublin with 150 rooms.
Last year, over €850m of hotels traded. Major sales include the former Doubletree by Hilton Burlington Road for €182m, The Gresham Hotel for €91m, the Temple Bar Hotel for €55m and The Fitzpatrick Lifestyle Portfolio, consisting of the Morgan, Spencer and Beacon for a combined price of €150m.
Meanwhile, the success of the Wild Atlantic Way and Galway’s many festivals contributed to pre-tax profits at the largest hotel in the west of Ireland, the Connacht in Galway city, increasing eight-fold to just under €1.46m last year.
Newly-filed accounts for the hotel’s holding company Connacht Hospitality show revenues increased 17% to €11.48m in the year to the end of last April.
The hotel was built in 1969 and rebranded as the Connacht Hotel in 2012 after it was purchased and restructured. The hotel sector in Galway is booming and it benefits from the annual Galway International Arts Festival and the yearly Galway Races.
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