Wednesday 21 March 2018

Ashford Castle revenues soar by 52pc on back of influx of high fliers from the US

The Red Carnation group invested €100m in resort revamp
The Red Carnation group invested €100m in resort revamp

Gordon Deegan

WEALTHY guests from the US are flying in on private jets and staying multiple nights at the €4,000-a-night Presidential suite and €3,500-per-night Hideaway Cottage at Ashford Castle.

That is according to the general manager of the five-star property, Niall Rochford, who said yesterday that the revamped resort "is attracting a new calibre of client".

Mr Rochford said the castle "is seeing a lot more this year of that type of high-end client".

He said the Presidential Suite and Hideaway Cottage have had "very strong occupancy" between May and September of this year "and people are staying multiple nights and enjoying the complete resort experience".

He said occupancy rates elsewhere at the resort have been strong too. During the summer it staged the Rory McIlroy-Erica Stoll wedding but Mr Rochford said it's is hard to say if there has been a bounce from this.

He added that "a lot of things are going our way - a strong US dollar and a strong US market. There has been good growth in all areas. The average room rate has increased."

Red Carnation Hotels invested €100m in the restoration of the hotel and Mr Rochford said the owners "want to make this the best hotel of its kind in the world and we are ahead of expectations in terms of how the resort is performing".

Mr Rochford was commenting on new accounts showing that earnings at Ashford Castle Hotel Ltd last year totalled €3.46m. Revenues rose by 52pc to €17.8m. Pre-tax losses reduced sharply from €23m to €3m and the loss takes account of non-cash deprecation costs of €5.8m.

Mr Rochford said that 2016 was the hotel's first full year of trading since the restoration.

He said the 2018 season is looking better than 2017 based on bookings to date.

Numbers employed rose to 400 and staff costs increased from €5.2m to €6.7m.

Irish Independent

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