Monday 20 November 2017

Five-star resort up for sale as receivers move in

Doonbeg Lodge.
Doonbeg Lodge.

Peter Flanagan Commercial Property Editor

One of the most prestigious resorts in the country has fallen into receivership, as it struggles under the burden of huge property debts.

The five-star Lodge at Doonbeg and Doonbeg Golf Club in Co Clare were taken over by receivers Luke Charleton and David Hughes of EY last night, with the business expected to be sold "within a short timeframe".

In a statement, Mr Charleton said: "The Lodge at Doonbeg and Doonbeg Golf Club will continue to trade as normal with all employment being maintained and suppliers being retained. Additionally, there will be no change in the status of members of the golf club."

There has already been interest from potential buyers, he added. The hotel and golf club confirmed all vouchers and bookings would be honoured. Staff are not affected by the change.

The receivers were appointed by Doonbeg's American owners Kiawah Partners, a property developer that specialises in high-end golf developments.

Kiawah Partners built the Kiawah Island resort in North Carolina, where Rory McIlroy won the US PGA championship in 2012. As a result of that connection, Doonbeg regularly attracts American celebrities, including NFL superstar Dan Marino.

Mr Marino sits on the advisory board to the club, along with former senator George Mitchell, and Terry Wogan. The singer Andrea Corr held her wedding reception there in 2009.

Last year, Kiawah Partners itself was bought by another US firm. Speaking to the Irish Independent, a spokesman for Kiawah Partners said that deal, and the debts run up on property development at Doonbeg, had prompted the receivership.

Doonbeg was opened in 2002; apart from the hotel, the property also features a golf course designed by Greg Norman. The business has never made a profit in the 11 years it has been operating.

The most recent accounts available for the Doonbeg Investment Holding Company show it posted a loss of €6.4m in 2011 on revenues of €10.4m. Accumulated losses topped €54m by the end of that year.

Irish Independent

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