Foreign investors to have designs on boutique hotel

DUBLIN’S style-driven Morrison Hotel has been put on the market with international buyers expected, thanks to its profile and trading figures.

With the rooms and the look of the 140-bed boutique hotel dictated by designer John Rocha, the Morrison Hotel opened to acclaim in 1999.

Its business base crumbled last summer when Anglo Irish Bank pulled the plug, prompting an unsuccessful months-long legal struggle by owner Hugh O’Regan to save his flagship city centre hotel.

The Morrison is still trading well in receivership with Ferris & Associates, and is largely controlled by NAMA.

In far deeper trouble is O’Regan’s Kiltiernan Hotel and Country Club for which Irish Nationwide’s Michael Fingleton loaned Mr O’Regan close to €180 million for its redevelopment. He also was a buyer for Cork’s IFI plant at Marion Point, currently for sale for a fraction of his purchase price.

International selling agents CBRE hope the recent reported resurgence in Dublin’s hotel market will help secure a strong buyer for the Morrison.

The Morrison Hotel shares a rock star niche in the capital with the likes of U2-owned The Clarence, and “is trading its socks off, occupancy is up in the 70% bracket”, CBRE says.

The quayside setting is over the Ha’penny Bridge, north of the Liffey.

Shortly after its 1999 opening, the Morrison Hotel hosted the MTV Europe Music Awards’ aftershow party, headlined by Whitney Houston, setting a trend of rock and celeb clientele.

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