Friday 30 September 2016

Recovery sees luxury hotel packages selling fast... for Christmas

Ho, ho, holy moly

Published 28/08/2015 | 06:59

Adare Manor, Co. Limerick, in the winter snow.
Adare Manor, Co. Limerick, in the winter snow.
Harvey's Point, Donegal, in winter

The calender says August, but sleigh bells are already ringing in the sales and marketing departments of Ireland's top hotels.

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This week, Adare Manor (above) sent a promotional email advertising two and three-night festive packages starting from €1,199pp.

The Adare five-star is promising "a truly unforgettable Christmas", with packages bundling slap-up meals, snacks, entertainment, sing-alongs and a visit from Santa Claus himself from December 24-26.

It's the first time in a decade the hotel has offered Christmas residential packages, and Marketing Executive Sarah Ormston says it has received "a huge amount of enquiries" and is delighted with bookings so far.

It's not alone. The summer holidays have yet to conclude, but several top-end hotels are already reporting brisk sales of their Christmas packages.

Harvey's Point (below), the Donegal four-star voted TripAdvisor's top Irish hotel, says rooms "are about three-quarters full at this stage", with bookings up on this time last year.

"We have regular guests who come for Christmas year after year and who are like friends of the family," says its General Manager, Deirdre McGlone. "New guests are very welcome too of course."

Christmas Harveys Point 2.jpg
Harvey's Point, Donegal

The hotel, which introduced  the new Lodge @ Harvey's Point to cater for groups this year, has three-night residential packages from €749pp, including meals, Christmas activities, entertainment and more.

Christmas packages are expensive to produce and challenging to organise, but clearly guests are prepared to pay to skip the cooking or washing-up in style.

"Some people even rebook for Christmas the following year on checkout or in early in January," said a spokesperson for Mount Juliet in Co. Kilkenny.

Going to press, it had a handful of rooms and Rose Garden Lodges still available.

Although Adare Manor's recently revealed lead-in rates of €1,199pp may seem expensive, they are not the most lavish on the market.

Ballyfin, the Co. Laois five-star where Kim Kardashian and Kanye West spent part of their Irish honeymoon in 2014, is advertising Christmas packages from €1,200 per night (with a three-night minimum), including horse-drawn carriage rides.

Ashford Castle, recently voted the world's best hotel, has two-night packages from €1,320pp, including all meals, snacks and entertainment.

According to its website, just five rooms are left at that price.

NB: All prices subject to change/availability.

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