Five-star Ashford Castle eyes 2016 profitability after rebirth
The five-star Ashford Castle in Co Mayo - voted by travel agents this year as the world's best hotel - is on track to turn a profit next year after racking up €4m in losses last year.
Jonathan Raggett, the managing director of Red Carnation Hotels - the family-owned group that acquired the iconic 350-acre estate in 2013 - said Ashford Castle is likely to move into the black in 2016 now that a massive $50m (€45m) renovation has been completed.
He added that occupancy rates during the summer were strong, and that Red Carnation is now looking to lure well-heeled clientele to Ashford from all over the world.
Revenue at the resort - once a Guinness family home - jumped last year to €9m from €6.4m, but the property had also been closed for a number of months in 2014 as a complete overhaul of the estate was undertaken. It was also closed for three months this year as that project was completed.
Mr Raggett told the Irish Independent that staff had been retained on full pay even while the hotel was closed. It employs about 200 full-time staff. All the 820 windows in the hotel were replaced, a new roof was installed and the golf course upgraded. A spa was built, while a cinema and billiards room were also added.