Wexford People

| 5°C Dublin

Kelly's Resort Hotel

THE KEY to the continuing success of Kelly's Resort Hotel in Rosslare lies in its history and individuality. There is no hotel quite like it in Ireland for continuity, location, service and uniqueness.

Established in the early 1890's , Kelly's has survived and thrived through 120 years of changing social trends.

It is a family-run jewel with a proud history of excellence - proprietor Bill Kelly is the fourth generation to carry on that tradition.

Likewise, generations of other families have returned to this special seaside place for holidays decade after decade.

They come back again and again for another serving of the Kelly's Hotel magic.

The hotel is still turning heads and winning awards - last year it was named Hotel of the Year.

So what's the secret? The answer is a combination of things that makes Kelly's stand out from the crowd.

The hotel is rooted in history but has its feet firmly planted in the 21st century.

It offers real hospitality and personal service with a confidence borne of experience.

Its standards are consistently high and its character different than anywhere else.

'It's very much the same ethos while keeping up with changing demands,' said Bill Kelly whose greatgrandfather William Joseph established the business.

'We have 1,800 man years of experience across the staff,' he said.

'There is a continuity of service and friendliness that I think is essential.'

'You can build a palace but it's only people who will bring people back again.'

It all started when William Joseph and his wife Mary opened a tea rooms in a timber structure on the site, to cater for 19th century visitors arriving on the train to go to the beach.

Within a few years, they expanded and began offering accommodation.

Bill's grandfather Nicholas and his father William J. followed on, making their own contributions to the development of the hotel. His mother Breda is still involved.

Today Kelly's employs 190 people, has three restaurants, two bars, 118 bedrooms, two indoor swimming pools, a fitness centre, steam room, sauna, outdoor Canadian hot tub and indoor and outdoor tennis courts. Development and re-investment never stops. Kelly's has just completed a €1 million renovation of bedrooms and public areas which will be publicly unveiled when the hotel re-opens after its annual winter break on February 10.

Among the new features are woven murals in the bedrooms which were made by Ceadogan Rugs.

Design is important to Kelly's which has an impressive collection of Irish contemporary art.

The long-established hotel which enjoyed 90% occupancy last year, has lived through tougher times than the current economic downturn.

But rather than cutting corners or reducing staff, Bill Kelly and his wife Isabelle are taking a different approach.

'I believe it's important to keep up the quality during a period of distress like this,' he said.

'We want to look after the customer better than we looked after them prior to the recession.'

''At times like this, it's crucial to give more for less,' said Bill whose daughter Laura may well become the fifth generation of the family involved in the hotel.

She is currently studying Hotel Management in her parents' alma mater in Lausanne, Switzerland.