The changing face of Irish hotels

The face of the Irish hotel sector has changed significantly over the past number years as international owners and well-known brands have become more prevalent.

Since the economic crash and the nascent recovery, a number of hotels have changed hands. There has also been a reduction in stand-alone, family-owned hotels as many have rebranded or been subsumed into chains.

In 2014, almost 60 hotels changed ownership in deals worth €440m, double the value of 2013 transactions.

In the first few months of 2015, two notable deals have already been completed, with Lone Star purchasing the Jurys Inn Group for over €900m and Dalata completing its purchase of nine Moran Bewley hotels.

A further €200m of individual hotel sales have also been completed in the opening quarter of the year, including the landmark Adare Manor in Limerick, bought by businessman JP McManus for an estimated €30m.

“Traditionally, Ireland hasn’t been a location for hotel chains or brands; however we are now witnessing a change of the guard in that respect,” said Savills Ireland director of hotel and leisure Tom Barrett.

“For example, in January, the Four Seasons hotel in Dublin was renamed as the InterContinental Dublin. Last year, the Burlington Hotel was renamed as DoubleTree by Hilton and in the near future, Dalata will rebrand eight Irish and five UK hotels under the Clayton brand. We expect this trend to continue as more hotels are brought to the market for sale.”

Dalata’s intention to create the Clayton brand was revealed by the Irish Examiner in February.

Dalata CEO Pat McCann said the brand would be focused on the corporate market more than the Maldron group, which largely appeal to leisure customers.

The rebranded hotels will consist of eight of the nine Moran Bewley hotels acquired by Dalata — the exception being Bewleys Newlands Cross which is to become part of Maldron.

The remainder of the Clayton portfolio is to be made up of its newly acquired Belfast hotel, the Maldron on Cardiff Lane adjacent to the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre in Dublin, Whites of Wexford, its Cardiff property, and the already-named Clayton hotel in Galway.

The strong demand for hotels is likely to continue into the coming months as economic factors support increased occupancy and subsequent hotel deals.

“With more trips being taken, demand for hotel accommodation is strength-ening and this is feeding through to an increase in hotel transactions,” said Mr Barrett.


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