Ire­land’s fore­most re­sort Car­ton House Ho­tel at €60m

Irish Independent - Business Week - - COMMERCIAL PROPERTY - Ronald Quin­lan

ITS most fa­mous vis­i­tor may have come and gone in 1849, and some 157 years be­fore it opened for busi­ness as a ho­tel, but the ar­rival of the lux­u­ri­ous Car­ton House Ho­tel, Spa and Golf Re­sort on the mar­ket is still a big deal — a €60m deal, to be pre­cise.

In more re­cent times and prior to the crash of 2008, the Kil­dare ho­tel and more specif­i­cally its im­pres­sive golf club made a name for it­self as the destination of choice for Ire­land’s busi­ness elite. Among those who took out mem­ber­ships over the years are Riverdeep founder Barry O’Cal­laghan, for­mer su­per­mar­ket supremo turned gym ty­coon Ben Dunne, Tul­low Oil founder and non-ex­ec­u­tive chair­man Ai­dan Heavey, for­mer KPMG man­ag­ing part­ner and cur­rent chair­man of En­ter­prise Ire­land Ter­ence O’Rourke, and the lead­ing es­tate agent Arthur French.

While the Maynooth-based ho­tel came through the re­ces­sion to se­cure its place as the most pres­ti­gious and prof­itable ho­tel re­sort in the coun­try, its cur­rent own­ers, the Mal­laghan fam­ily and the Car­ton Development Part­ner­ship, have reached con­sen­sual agree­ment with Nama to put the prop­erty up for sale. Car­ton House Ho­tel had orig­i­nally formed part of Nama’s €1.5bn Project Tolka loan book — a port­fo­lio of loans mainly as­so­ci­ated with devel­op­ers Paddy Kelly, John Flynn and Ala­nis, a prop­erty ve­hi­cle con­trolled by the Dublin-based McCor­mack fam­ily. Recog­nis­ing the Kil­dare ho­tel’s unique po­ten­tial to se­cure a sig­nif­i­cant price in its own right, the Mal­laghans, Mr Kelly and McCor­ma­cks came to an agree­ment that saw it re­moved from Project Tolka prior to the loan book’s sale for €455m to US in­vest­ment firm, Colony Cap­i­tal.

A large number of ho­tel op­er­a­tors and in­vestors from both at home and abroad are ex­pected to sub­mit com­pet­ing bids for the Car­ton House re­sort, the ori­gins of which date all the way back to the es­tab­lish­ment of the Car­ton Demesne in the 11th cen­tury.

To­day, the 668-acre Car­ton House re­sort’s cen­tre­piece is its 18th cen­tury Pal­la­dian man­sion, which served orig­i­nally as the coun­try seat of the Dukes of Le­in­ster. The pres­ti­gious prop­erty be­ing of­fered for sale by joint agents CBRE and Sav­ills is the re­sult of seven years of painstak­ing and sen­si­tive restora­tion en­gaged in by the Mal­laghan fam­ily and their development part­ners, Paddy Kelly and Ala­nis, be­tween 1999 and 2006. Quite apart from re­turn­ing the main house to its for­mer glory, the Mal­laghans worked with de­vel­oper Paddy Kelly and Ala­nis Cap­i­tal to cre­ate a world-class spa and golf re­sort.

The ho­tel has 165 gen­er­ously ap­pointed bed­rooms — in­clud­ing 18 suites lo­cated in the orig­i­nal house, all of which en­joy panoramic wood­land and golf course views. The ex­ten­sive food and bev­er­age of­fer­ing in­cludes the Lin­den Tree Restau­rant, the Kitchen Bar, Lobby Lounge, the Coach House and the Arch BBQ.

The re­sort of­fers an ex­ten­sive range of meet­ing rooms, con­fer­ence and ban­quet­ing fa­cil­i­ties and is a pop­u­lar and exclusive wed­ding venue, av­er­ag­ing 70 wed­ding re­cep­tions an­nu­ally. The main ball­room can ac­com­mo­date 350 guests. The lux­ury spa is lo­cated in an orig­i­nal sta­ble block with seven treat­ment rooms and an 18m pool.

There are two 18-hole cham­pi­onship golf cour­ses, de­signed by two-time Ma­jor win­ner Mark O’Meara and Ry­der Cup legend Colin Mont­gomerie. Car­ton House has al­ready hosted many cham­pi­onships in­clud­ing the Ir­ish Open on three oc­ca­sions, most re­cently in 2013.

Car­ton House is the pre-em­i­nent high per­for­mance sports train­ing camp in Ire­land, reg­u­larly used by the Ir­ish na­tional rugby team and most re­cently by the 2017 Bri­tish & Ir­ish Lions. The re­sort’s soc­cer pitches have been used in the past by clubs in­clud­ing Real Madrid and AC Milan.

The re­sort is be­ing sold as a go­ing con­cern into a thriv­ing ho­tel mar­ket which has seen Dublin out­per­form the ma­jor Euro­pean cap­i­tal cities since 2013. In­deed, Dublin ho­tel RevPAR (Rev­enue per avail­able room) was up 15.3pc in 2016 and is fore­cast to grow by 6.7pc this year.

Car­ton House Ho­tel sits on 668 acres in Maynooth, Co. Kil­dare. The re­sort is a 30-minute drive from Dublin city and Dublin Air­port

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