Ireland's foremost resort Carton House Hotel at €60m
Its most famous visitor may have come and gone in 1849, and some 157 years before it opened for business as a hotel, but the arrival of the luxurious Carton House Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort on the market is still a big deal - a €60m deal, to be precise.
In more recent times and prior to the crash of 2008, the Kildare hotel and more specifically its impressive golf club made a name for itself as the destination of choice for Ireland's business elite. Among those who took out memberships over the years are Riverdeep founder Barry O'Callaghan, former supermarket supremo turned gym tycoon Ben Dunne, Tullow Oil founder and non-executive chairman Aidan Heavey, former KPMG managing partner and current chairman of Enterprise Ireland Terence O'Rourke, and the leading estate agent Arthur French.
While the Maynooth-based hotel came through the recession to secure its place as the most prestigious and profitable hotel resort in the country, its current owners, the Mallaghan family and the Carton Development Partnership, have reached consensual agreement with Nama to put the property up for sale. Carton House Hotel had originally formed part of Nama's €1.5bn Project Tolka loan book - a portfolio of loans mainly associated with developers Paddy Kelly, John Flynn and Alanis, a property vehicle controlled by the Dublin-based McCormack family. Recognising the Kildare hotel's unique potential to secure a significant price in its own right, the Mallaghans, Mr Kelly and McCormacks came to an agreement that saw it removed from Project Tolka prior to the loan book's sale for €455m to US investment firm, Colony Capital.
A large number of hotel operators and investors from both at home and abroad are expected to submit competing bids for the Carton House resort, the origins of which date all the way back to the establishment of the Carton Demesne in the 11th century.
Today, the 668-acre Carton House resort's centrepiece is its 18th century Palladian mansion, which served originally as the country seat of the Dukes of Leinster. The prestigious property being offered for sale by joint agents CBRE and Savills is the result of seven years of painstaking and sensitive restoration engaged in by the Mallaghan family and their development partners, Paddy Kelly and Alanis, between 1999 and 2006. Quite apart from returning the main house to its former glory, the Mallaghans worked with developer Paddy Kelly and Alanis Capital to create a world-class spa and golf resort.
The hotel has 165 generously appointed bedrooms - including 18 suites located in the original house, all of which enjoy panoramic woodland and golf course views. The extensive food and beverage offering includes the Linden Tree Restaurant, the Kitchen Bar, Lobby Lounge, the Coach House and the Arch BBQ.
The resort offers an extensive range of meeting rooms, conference and banqueting facilities and is a popular and exclusive wedding venue, averaging 70 wedding receptions annually. The main ballroom can accommodate 350 guests. The luxury spa is located in an original stable block with seven treatment rooms and an 18m pool.
There are two 18-hole championship golf courses, designed by two-time Major winner Mark O'Meara and Ryder Cup legend Colin Montgomerie. Carton House has already hosted many championships including the Irish Open on three occasions, most recently in 2013.
Carton House is the pre-eminent high performance sports training camp in Ireland, regularly used by the Irish national rugby team and most recently by the 2017 British & Irish Lions. The resort's soccer pitches have been used in the past by clubs including Real Madrid and AC Milan.
The resort is being sold as a going concern into a thriving hotel market which has seen Dublin outperform the major European capital cities since 2013. Indeed, Dublin hotel RevPAR (Revenue per available room) was up 15.3pc in 2016 and is forecast to grow by 6.7pc this year.