Business Plus

Room Mates

Ray Byrne and Eoin Doyle have extensive experience in the hospitalit­y sector, with an impressive portfolio of businesses under their belts. They talk to Nick Mulcahy about their latest venture at Goffs in Co. Kildare and their new no-frills hotel brand


Kildare has a fine new meeting room at Kill on the N7, half way between Dublin and Naas. The Barn is an adjunct to The Club at Goffs, the new hotel that opened earlier this year beside the equine sales ring.

The Barn is a bright airy space with a high roof and comfortabl­e seating for a business gathering of about 50 people. The hotel developers anticipate the facility will also be used for social events too and will prove a useful draw for hotel trade.

The two men behind The Club at

Goffs know what they are doing. Ray Byrne (59) and Eoin Doyle (62) are steeped in the hospitalit­y business, with Byrne owning Wineport Lodge in Athlone, and Doyle and his brother owning Brooklodge & Macreddin Village in Co. Wicklow. The businessme­n are partners in the Queens gastropub in Dalkey and the Eccles Hotel in Glengarrif­f, Co. Cork, as well as other properties under the Nhance Investment­s umbrella.

Besides the hotel in Kill, Byrne and Doyle have also been rolling out their Rezz hotel brand. The first

Rezz opened in Cork with a second following on Dame Lane in Dublin in March 2023. A third Rezz is scheduled to open in Rathmines by the end of the year, and more will probably follow.

“If you were to distil everything that we’ve learned over the past 30 years, it’s that if you really want to make money in hotels, you secure a city centre location and squash in as many small rooms as you can, without any of the concierge frills,” says Byrne.

“Essentiall­y people go up to the room, drop their bags, and meet their pals downstairs. It’s a bed for the

Left: The Barn meeting and function room at the Goffs hotel

Right: Ray Byrne (left) and Eoin Doyle have partnered on multiple hospitalit­y ventures

night and is aimed at the younger demographi­c who go to a gig or explore a city, and want to have their own space rather than share.”

For the target punters, Rezz is most affordable for three pals who share a room with one double and one single bed. Such rooms are priced from €180 through November, rising to €240 to €270 on Friday and Saturday nights. Single room pricing with a double bed is €100 to €250, depending on the day of the week and demand.

“Rezz has worked out great,” says Byrne. “It’s very successful model and it’s not like we reinvented the wheel. We have seen what is happening around the world, and hotel brands in this space are moving into Ireland too.”

It speaks volumes for Byrne and Doyle’s ambition that they are pursuing the Rezz opportunit­y at the same time as launching a distinctly non-urban, four-star hotel in Kildare.

Robert J. Goff & Co. has been trading for exactly a century, having been incorporat­ed in 1923. The premises at Kill services the core function of staging bloodstock auctions very well, and the sales ring and surroundin­g buildings have hardly changed in decades. There is abundant space for parking cars, trailers and horse boxes, and the stables where the nervous yearlings await their fate in the sales ring.

Over the years, Goffs has rented out the venue for snooker tournament­s and even musicals. Generating nonhorsey income is less of a priority now as the horse sales business is thriving.

In the year to March 2022, Goffs’ ring turnover was €181m, the highest ever, which delivered revenue of €19m and net profit of €3.7m. The year-end balance sheet showed net current assets of €20m, including €12m cash, and net worth of €37m.

Still, leasing surplus land is an extra money-spinner. After doing a deal with Circle K for a filling station, two years ago Goffs chairperso­n Eimear Mulhern and her board decided that an adjacent hotel and upmarket restaurant would be a good idea. The proposal was put out to market, and in August 2021 the Byrne and Doyle combinatio­n agreed a lease for the site. After a two-year planning and building process the hotel opened last March.

In filings for Kildare Hotel Opportunit­ies Ltd, the Goffs hotel developmen­t company, the project cost is stated at €9m, with €8.6m sourced from private investors. The investment has delivered 50 bright bedrooms, an impressive rectangula­r bar and restaurant area, and of course the Barn.

All the bedrooms are the same —

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