AUCTIONEERS will tell you that when advertising a property you need three strong sales pitches: Location, location, location.
The huge growth in visitor numbers to the heritage village of Adare over the past two years, can, according to the local hoteliers, be attributed also to three critical factors: Shannon Airport, Shannon Airport, Shannon Airport.
Hotels have never been as busy. And a new arrival on the tourism scene, JP McManus has aleady injected extra glitz with a huge celebration night at his Adare Manor recently which attracted royalty, the rich and famous. He bought the five-star property for a reputed €30m and plans to spend as much again on a major upgrade of the hotel. This work is due to commence early in the new year and it is believed the long-term goal is to bring the Ryder Cup to Adare in 2022.
Another long-established hotel, the Woodlands House Hotel owned by the Fitzgerald family, has just undergone a major €1m redevelopment, and been upgraded to four stars.
General manager David Fitzgerald says their new status will further boost business at the 89-room hotel which boasts a spa with swimming pool, fitness centre, gym, and a conference centre.
Mr Fitzgerald said: “We are enjoying a great year and business is up about 6%. The US and European markets are very strong and all the new routes into Shannon from the US and Ryanair’s new European routes are yielding huge results with regards to numbers. Shannon is critical to tourism in the Mid-West.
“The Wild Atlantic Way is also bringing lots of visitors to Adare. Although we are off the coastal route, many people travelling the Wild Atlantic Way like to take the opportunity to visit places such as Adare. After all, we are only less than a half-hour drive from the coast along the estuary. There is now a move by the tourism agencies to create loops off the Wild Atlantic Way to try to encourage people to come to places like Adare which are just off the main route.”
He said that as a four-star hotel they will attract more tour operators who are looking for four-star facilities for their clients: “We found that a lot of tour operators would not consider the three-star market. Being four-star we will be able to grow our business having access to a new and wider market. We have carried out a major re-development over the past three years investing over €1m.”
Adare Town Park
The Woodlands House is one of the country’s busiest wedding venues. Mr Fitzgerald said: “During the recession we found the number of weddings did not fall off very significantly, but there was a noticeable drop in the number of guests attending. Basically a lot of people declined invitations, due to factors such as unemployment and having less disposable income. And many guests who did attend weddings, did not stay overnight.”
Meanwhile, the Murphy family took over the four-star Dunraven Arms in the late-1980s from Lord Dunraven.
Louis Murphy said: “We are very busy and this increase in business is being fuelled by the new US flights into Shannon. The transatlantic services into Shannon are very good. Many US golfers now prefer to fly into Shannon rather than Dublin, because of all the fine courses that are relatively short distances from Shannon. And here in Adare we have two fabulous courses — the Adare Manor Hotel course has been voted the best parkland course in this country. Another factor with regard to the US market this year is that American visitors are getting great value for their dollar as are UK visitors getting more for sterling. We have weddings on Fridays and Saturdays and only do one wedding each day so a couple and their guests have exclusive use of the hotel. And Adare is such a beautiful place to have a wedding. We have 86 rooms and the Dunraven Arms is a quality product, offering a very personal service, dating back to 1792.”
The Blue Door Restaurant in Adare
Mr Murphy said the European market is also very strong this year.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved