Spain’s Riu closes on Dublin's Gresham hotel

(The Gresham Hotel in Dublin, Ireland)

It's been a bumpy couple of years for Ireland's hospitality industry with the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) having to step in and work out some asset sales. One of its biggest has now closed: The €92-miilion sale of the Gresham Hotel in Dublin to Spain’s Riu Group.

NAMA put the property up for sale last July.

The hotel was owned by Precinct Investments, which is controlled by builder Bryan Cullen. As the Independent reports, "Precinct is the vehicle that was used in 2004 to take the then stock market-listed Gresham Hotel group private, in a €117-million deal."

Riu reportedly beat out some stout competition for the hotel—besting such U.S. private equity firms such as Apollo and Cerberus.

“Dublin is now one of the most interesting cities for investment,” said Luis Riu, CEO of RIU Hotels & Resorts today. “Its tourism industry is booming, demand for rooms rising and the city is putting a lot of money into its infrastructure. We are extremely pleased with the purchase of this hotel in one of the most beautiful European capitals.”

The group added that the Gresham, which was recently refurbished, will require only minor renovations.

"We are sure that it will be the perfect addition to our collection of Riu Plaza hotels and many returning RIU clients will be drawn to discovering this destination with us,” Riu said

Going forward, the 323-room hotel will be known as The Riu Plaza The Gresham Dublin hotel.

Riu is 49-percent owned by travel and tourism company TUI.

Ireland Strong

The first quarter of 2016 was a strong one for Ireland's transactions market. CBRE reported 14 hotel deals reaching a total value of €47 million in the first three months of the year.

While the value may seem relatively small considering an estimated €710 million worth of hotel property was bought and sold last year, the number didn't include The Gresham deal.

Irish hotels that sold during the first quarter of 2016 included The Tara Towers Hotel on Dublin's Merrion Road; the Clarion Hotel, Sligo; the Abberley Court Hotel in Tallaght and the Waterford Marina Hotel.