Tuesday 22 October 2019

Neville Hotel Group in bid for five-star Druid's Glen resort

Talks at 'advanced stage' for €45m golf hotel

Druids Glen restaurant
Druids Glen restaurant
Druids Glen spa and health club
Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan

The owners of the five-star Druid's Glen hotel and golf resort are in talks with the Neville Hotel Group in relation to the property's potential sale, the Irish Independent can reveal.

While an agreement has yet to be reached between the parties, sources familiar with the matter described the discussions as being at an "advanced stage".

A number of other potential purchasers are also said to be interested in securing ownership of the 349-acre resort should the current negotiations with the Neville Hotel Group end without a deal.

The Neville Hotel Group already owns and operates the Royal Marine Hotel in Dun Laoghaire, the Tower Hotel in Waterford City, and the Kilkenny River Court Hotel.

Druid's Glen was brought to the market by Tom Barrett of Savills Ireland last August for a guide price of €45m.

The North Wicklow resort, which has hosted four Irish Open golf championships, is owned by three Irish families - the Lappins, the Hurleys and the Flinns.

The five-star hotel traded as a Marriott resort when it first opened in 2002. It has 145 air-conditioned bedrooms and suites as well as a spa and health club, eight conference and event rooms, and a restaurant that can seat up to 160.

A relatively new function room overlooking the golf course can accommodate 400.

The clubhouse at the property, known as Woodstock House, dates back to 1770 and was once used as a writing and recording base by musicians, including Mike Oldfield and Rod Stewart.

A spokesman for Savills declined to comment on its negotiations or otherwise with the Neville Hotel Group when contacted by this newspaper. Efforts to contact Neville Hotels principal, Seamus Neville, for comment were unsuccessful. The CEO of Druid's Glen, Edward Stephenson, declined to comment on the matter when contacted.

Appeal

While the resort's appeal to prospective purchasers is enhanced by the absence of a brand or management agreement, the latest set of accounts for Obalus Hotel Company Ltd (the firm behind the Druid's Glen hotel) show it returned to pre-tax profitability in 2017.

Accounts filed for 2017 show the company recorded pre-tax profits of €978,887 after revenues increased by 6pc from €12.13m to €12.67m.

The company recorded the pre-tax profit after a pre-tax loss of €1.39m in 2016 that arose from exceptional costs of €2.77m.

According to the directors' report, the hotel continued to trade strongly in 2017, reporting an operating profit of €1.3m.

Commenting on the resort's performance at the time of filing the accounts for 2017, the directors added that "2018 is already proving to be a strong year".

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