Saturday 27 December 2014

Sales at Dromoland hotels set to reach €17m this year

Gordon Deegan

Published 11/08/2014 | 02:30

Mark Nolan, Dromoland Castle, Co Clare. Pic:Brian Arthur/Press 22
General manager Mark Nolan outside Dromoland Castle, which has hosted guests including US Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton (pictured at the hotel) Nelson Mandela and, more recently, Bono

The long-time head of one of the country's best-known luxury hotels has said sales will be up by more than €1m this year.

Mark Nolan, the general manager of the five-star Dromoland Castle hotel in Co Clare, said yesterday he expected revenues at the hotel and adjoining Inn at Dromoland to top €17m this year.

Mr Nolan, who is celebrating 25 years in the post this year, said: "We are in a growth pattern at the moment and Dromoland Castle has enjoyed a 93pc bed occupancy over the past six weeks.

"A lot of that is down to very significant North American business we secured three years ago," he added.

In 2012, Dromoland purchased the adjoining Clare Inn hotel for €2.1m and spent additional monies in the fitting out and rebranding of the hotel as the Inn at Dromoland.

Around 330 people are employed across the two hotels, and refurbishment costs at the Inn at Dromoland hit profits at the group last year.

"We were a little unrealistic in our aims for the hotel last year, but it is on its way to being one of the best three-star hotels in the country. The business there is moving in the right direction and it is hitting budget at the moment," he said.

Mr Nolan said that the business had spent €1.5m on refurbishment on the Inn at Dromoland and intended to spend a further €750,000 this year, which will include the refurbishment of 60 rooms.

Mr Nolan - who is also a minor shareholder in Dromoland Castle Holdings - said that the five-star hotel was "trading well".

Further confirming the hotel's five-star status, rock star Bono recently took time out from recording to spend a short break at the hotel, while television chat show host Graham Norton was also a recent guest.

Last year, Dromoland Castle Holdings recorded a sharp decrease in profits, from €242,477 to €63,816, in spite of revenues increasing by a more modest 14pc, to go from €13.7m to €15.59m.

He said that the first quarter at the five-star Dromoland "was challenging enough, but it has been very positive since".

Mr Nolan said that he was optimistic about 2015.

"The trends are very positive and we are looking at growth on growth."

Irish Independent

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