In early October, CBRE Ireland reported that, for the first nine months of 2015, a total of 54 hotels with a combined value of almost €650 million were sold in Ireland, a record unmatched since the pre-recession days of 2008.
Bouncing back from a global economic crisis is never easy, but Ireland has pulled it off admirably. 2015 was not just a good year for Ireland's hospitality scene: It was a great year. In fact, property consultant company Savills is saying that 2015 was the best year ever for the country's hotel industry. New research from the consultants claims that the total value of hotel sales in Ireland topped a record €1 billion in 2015. This achievement was reached just months after JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group released a report indicating that Dublin needs an additional 3,000 rooms to satisfy current demand—indicating strong opportunity for future investors looking to capture a rapidly growing market.
"Ireland’s tourism industry is now achieving record volumes, and combined with a strong domestic economic recovery, this is driving high hotel occupancy rates throughout the country," Savills Ireland's director of hotels and leisure Tom Barrett, said in a statement. "This positive position attracted the attention of both domestic and international hotel operators and investors in 2015."
Looking Back, Looking Ahead
Significant Irish hotel sales in 2015 included the Dalata Group’s purchase of Moran Bewley’s Hotels, the Clarion in Cork and Clayton Hotel in Galway. Private equity fund Lone Star purchased Jurys Inn, while the Intercontinental Dublin (formerly The Four Seasons) was grabbed up by a consortium backed by John Malone. Adare Manor in Limerick was acquired by Irish businessman JP McManus for €31.5 million and the Castlemartyr Resort in Cork, sold to a British hotelier.
Furthermore, Barrett predicted that 2016 will show further recovery, with current positive indicators staying strong for the next year. Those indicators include a 14 percent growth in international visitors, Dublin RevPAR growth of 20 percent and an overall national GDP increase of 7 percent.
Looking ahead, Savills expects development will continue to grow, particularly in Dublin, due in no small part to that previously mentioned lack of hotel rooms.
And the deals haven't slowed down with the new year. The Dalata Hotel Group, Ireland's largest hotel operator, is reportedly negotiating the acquisition of a partially completed Cork City center hotel building that is expected to cost €10 million. The building, which is expected to have 120 guestrooms, is close to the Clarion Hotel along Lapps Quay, which the Dalata Group acquired late last year for €35 million.
According to the Irish Examiner, the hotel site has sat unfinished for almost a decade, and has been completed to shell state. While the shell is in good condition, the paper predicts that Dalata will need to spend several million euros to complete and to fit out the hotel.
Dalata declined to comment about the sale. The company has 38 hotels with more than 6,700 rooms.