Castlemartyr - the king of hotel resorts

ONE by one, Munster’s jewel resort hotels are finding appreciative new owners and investment: now, the stunning, five-star Castlemartyr Resort, in east Cork, may join the changing of the guard of ownership, having been developed at a cost of €70-€80m in the mid-2000s.

Castlemartyr - the king of hotel resorts

Recent guests have included Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, on their surprise Irish honeymoon after their Italian wedding, Bruce Springsteen, when he played a Cork gig, and former US president, Bill Clinton.

Hitting the market this week, at €13m, via Savills, and trading well with 100 weddings a year, Castlemartyr Resort is likely to attract the attention of international buyers, and possibly several with local Irish links and advisors, as the sell-off of rare gems continues post-crash and into economic recovery mode.

Most overseas buyers of Irish hotels have had an Irish involvement, says hotel sales specialist, Tom Barrett, of Savills, while a DTZ report records €126m in Irish hotel sales this year, spearheaded by JP McManus’s purchase of Adare Manor, for €30m. Other major Munster hotel sales in the last several years have included Fota, Parknasilla, Sheen Falls, several top Killarney hotels, and investments like the River Lee Hotel. And at least one other significant hotel offer is imminent.

The resort status of Castlemartyr Resort, via Nama, will propel it into a specialist buying niche, and it includes 220 acres with links-style golf course designed by Ron Kirby, 19 luxury courtyard lodges, and, in a separate offer, nine houses at the estate’s entrance for €1m. Design was by Reddy O’Riordan Staehli architects, knitting a modern hotel wing and spectacular spa onto a manor house by a lake, adjacent to a Norman, 13th century castle.

At the time of opening, in 2007/08, bedroom rates were a whopping €540 a night, initially run for its owners and developers, the Supple family, by the Capella group, who’d planned several Irish hotels, including the mothballed Dunboy Castle. Castlemartyr was later managed by Dromoland Castle Hotel.

Run by the Supples, it is trading well, especially at weekends and for golf, gets strong Tripadvisor ratings, and the recovery in the Irish economy will increasingly attract corporate business, suggests Savills Tom Barrett, noting its proximity to attractions like Ballymaloe, Shanagarry and Midleton.

  • Also close to a sale, in the vicinity, is comedian Pat Shortt’s acclaimed bar in Castlemartyr, which has been visited by many of the resort hotel’s guests. The bar sale is well-advanced, according to sources.

Details: Savills 01-6181300, 021-4271371

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