Monday 18 December 2017

Guinness pours cold water on talk of city hotel

And FBD Hotels and Resorts sells Irish property to focus on other assets

Visitors look out over the Dublin city skyline from the viewing gallery in the Guinness Gravity Bar based at the company's St. James's Gate Brewery, in Dublin
Visitors look out over the Dublin city skyline from the viewing gallery in the Guinness Gravity Bar based at the company's St. James's Gate Brewery, in Dublin
Michael Cogley

Michael Cogley

Guinness Storehouse managing director Paul Carty has hinted at the idea of a new Dublin hotel based around the famous Irish stout.

The Storehouse, in the Liberties area of the capital, has brought 200 jobs to the inner city. The brewer's headcount in the city centre could bloat significantly however as the Storehouse boss said a hotel is "a possibility" in an interview with Britain's 'Daily Telegraph'.

"I think there'd be a huge interest if we had a Guinness-themed hotel on the site. I don't think its beyond the realms of possibility. A Guinness-themed hotel in black and white," he said. The museum was named Europe's leading tourist attraction at the World Tourist Awards last year.

After brewing responsibilities were moved, there are now large undeveloped swathes of Guinness' St James's Gate site.

The move could be a well timed one as Dublin continues to suffer from a lack of hotel rooms to deal with demand.

Up to 7,600 new rooms are expected to be built across the country over the next three years, of which 6,100 are tipped to be built in the capital.

Paul Carty, managing director of the Guinness Storehouse, believes there would be interest in a ‘Guinness-themed hotel on the site’ in the capital
Paul Carty, managing director of the Guinness Storehouse, believes there would be interest in a ‘Guinness-themed hotel on the site’ in the capital

Outside of the hotel Mr Carty also spoke about improving the way in which the company's archives are displayed and extending the Storehouse itself.

"Brewing moved to a site near Heuston Station some time ago, which released a lot of buildings," Mr Carty said.

"What we're looking at doing is maybe showcasing archives there and perhaps building a brewing facility around those. We have hundreds and hundreds of documents and the public should be able to see them," he said in the interview. Mr Carty also outlined his concerns around Britain leaving the European Union, making special reference to fluctuations in currencies, which could make Ireland more expensive for tourists from the UK.

Diageo, the drinks giant behind Guinness, spent €42m on establishing the Storehouse with the project in profit for the last number of years.

The tourism industry is now estimated to worth in the region of €7.3bn to the economy and has grown further in 2016, reaching record levels.

However, Guinness played down talk of a hotel plan, with a spokeswoman saying: "The Guinness Storehouse, Ireland's No 1 visitor attraction, strives to be at the forefront of innovation.

"Last year we attracted 1.5 million visitors and we are continually enhancing our offering to ensure both first-time and repeat visitors enjoy an unforgettable experience.

"We have no plans to develop a Guinness hotel."

l Meanwhile, FBD Hotels and Resorts is to sell the Tower Hotel Waterford to Neville Hotels.

An agreement to sell the hotel along with adjoining properties has been reached and is expected to conclude within the next 30 days. The proceeds of the sale will be reinvested in FBD Hotels and Resorts' existing portfolio of hotels and resorts in Ireland and Spain.

These are the Castleknock Hotel in Dublin; Faithlegg House Hotel and Golf Resort in Waterford; La Cala Resort in Malaga, Spain; and Sunset Beach Club, also in Malaga.

The company said it will be business as usual at the Tower Hotel, with no impact on existing hotel bookings or events.

The Tower Hotel employs 120 full-time staff, all of whom are unaffected by the sale.

Irish Independent

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