Sunday 25 September 2016

Spanish hotel group Riu sizes up the Dublin market for debut

Published 28/05/2016 | 02:30

A giant Riu hotel in the Mexican resort of Cancun. The Spanish chain is looking at city markets.
A giant Riu hotel in the Mexican resort of Cancun. The Spanish chain is looking at city markets.

International hotel operator Riu, which is 49pc-owned by the TUI travel giant, is eyeing its first property in Ireland, the Irish Independent has learned.

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The Spain-based hotel group confirmed it's looking at the possibility of opening a premises in Dublin, where there is a significant shortage of hotel rooms.

The Riu group operates just over 100 hotels and resorts around the world, in countries such as the United States, Morocco, Mexico and Jamaica.

It was established by the Riu family in 1953. Riu Hotels also owns a 3pc stake in TUI.

It's the biggest hotel brand within the TUI group and employs around 11,000 people.

A spokeswoman for Riu Hotels said the company is examining Dublin as an opportunity for one of its premises. The Irish Independent believes that it may have moved beyond sizing up the market, however. "We are looking into expanding our Riu Plaza city hotels line in major cities in the world, and Dublin is one of them," she said. The Plaza brand is targeted at business and leisure travellers.

"We find Dublin attractive because of its beauty, history, and cultural life as well as its leading position as the capital of the country."

She added: "We are studying opportunities to invest in Dublin, as we are in other cities such as Buenos Aires, London, Bogota, Paris and Barcelona, but nothing is confirmed yet in any of these destinations."

Meanwhile, Hilton Group owner Blackstone Group is planning to sell the former Burlington Hotel in Dublin along with hotel buildings in London and Amsterdam for about €980m.

The hotels all operate under Blackstone owned Hilton's DoubleTree brand, and each has more than 500 rooms.

Irish Independent

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