Parknasilla hotel and resort for €10 million
ONE OF CO Kerry’s premier tourist hotels, Parknasilla Resort Spa, is to be offered for sale at a fraction of the price paid for it six years ago by developer Bernard McNamara.
The four-star resort was bought for almost €40 million and was subsequently enlarged and upgraded at a cost of well over €10 million. Estate agent Tom Barrett of Savills is now quoting a guide price of €10 million for the Sneem hotel which is located along the famous Ring of Kerry.
The announcement of the sale comes a week after the same receiver, Paul McCann of Grant Thornton, instructed agent CBRE to find a buyer for McNamara’s 501-bedroom Burlington Hotel in Dublin at between €65 million and €75 million, a quarter of the €288 million paid for it as a development play in 2007.
Meanwhile, Savills has secured an offer in excess €5 million for another distressed McNamara property asset, the Cork International Airport Hotel. It cost about €35 million to develop.
The British bank Lloyds has triggered the move against McNamara over loans advanced to him by the former Bank of Scotland (Ireland). The bank, which the British lender closed down last year, has loans of €30 billion.
McNamara also got involved in a string of other hotels during the boom.
These included the Shelbourne, Conrad, Tara Towers, Montrose, Ormond and Mercer in Dublin as well as the Radisson in Galway and the Kilkenny Ormond.
Parknasilla is expected to be of interest to overseas as well as Irish hoteliers and investment funds because of its international reputation and its spectacular coastal setting on about 500 acres of woodlands, parklands and beaches along Kenmare Bay.
The resort has for decades been one of the jewels in the crown of the Irish tourism industry. It opened as a railway hotel in 1895 and has attracted many notable visitors over the years including George Bernard Shaw, France’s Charles de Gaulle, Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands and Princess Grace. Former taoiseach Bertie Ahern has been a regular visitor over the years.
McNamara bought Parknasilla when seven of the eight hotels in the Great Southern chain were offered for sale in 2006 after several years of losses.
He increased the number of bedrooms to 83 and added 62 self-catering residential units – 24 of them two-bedroom lodges and 38 three-bedroom villas which have always been heavily booked by families in the summer months. The Presidential Suite lets for up to €1,000 a night during the summer while other suites attract rents of €300 to €400 per night. The three-bedroom villas cost between €1,400 and €1,600 per week in the busiest months.
The improvements carried out by McNamara also included an upgrading of the spa and the opening of 13 treatment rooms, gym, thermal suite, swimming pool and outdoor hot tub and pétanque overlooking Kenmare Bay. Apart from the 180-seater Pygmalion restaurant there is also a bistro and bar. Guests also have the use of a highly scenic 12-hole golf course.
Tom Barrett says that unlike many other holiday resorts, Parknasilla did not embark on a tax-driven scheme to sell the lodges and villas and, having full ownership of them at this stage, greatly enhances the appeal of the hotel.
He said he would not be surprised if the next owners added a banqueting hall to cater for more weddings. “Parknasilla could obviously become a major wedding venue because of the wonderful facilities and the superb setting.”
The resort, which is currently profitable, has been run since 2009 by Tifco Hotels under a management agreement that can end when it is sold.