Sunday 18 January 2009

Five-star Merrion Hotel is set for major expansion despite recession

The owners of the five-star Merrion Hotel in Dublin are planning a major expansion of the hotel, despite the downturn in the number of tourists visiting Ireland.

Businessmen Lochlainn Quinn and Martin Naughton and the Northern Irish hotel chain Hastings Hotel Group are planning to demolish a four-storey building at 8-11 Lower Baggot Street and to use the upper floors as part of the hotel with shops and restaurants on the ground floor.

The new building would be six storeys high, with underground parking, and woul have a number of suites and one penthouse.

In its last set of accounts, the Merrion's development company Landmark Investment saw its turnover rise to €18.53m from €17.73m the previous year, but the hotel made a loss of €1.2m, compared to a €1.5m profit the previous year.

It was speculated last year that the company has also bought up a number of Georgian properties on Merrion Street that adjoin the existing hotel and the Patrick Guilbaud restaurant. The buildings had come on the market with an asking price of €11m.

Quinn and Naughton made hundreds of millions from appliances company Glen Dimplex while the Hastings Hotel Group owns six hotels in the North, including The Europa in Belfast, which is infamous for being the most bombed hotel in the world.

Earlier this month Fáilte Ireland indicated that tourism revenues declined by 2% last year to €6.3 bn on the back of a 3% drop in international visitors to

Sunday Tribune

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