Powerscourt Hotel on course for “healthy profit”

Occupancy running at 67% as hotel set to cater for 88,000, says general manager

Ritz-Carlton Powerscourt

Ritz-Carlton Powerscourt

Mon, Aug 4, 2014, 01:00

The five-star Powerscourt Hotel in Enniskerry will make a “healthy profit” this year, its first full year of trading since its change of ownership and its rebrand from the Ritz-Carlton, its general manager David Webster has told The Irish Times.

Mr Webster, who joined the hotel a year ago after a successful stint in charge of Carton House in Maynooth, said Powerscourt would accommodate about 88,000 people this year, with its room occupancy rising to 67 per cent. Before the change in ownership, the hotel’s occupancy rate had been around 40 per cent.

“We are growing our occupancy,” he said. “This year there will be a very healthy profit and next year more so because of a strong base of business.”

This was in spite of a relatively quiet summer for weddings at the hotel, a legacy of the uncertainty that surrounded the hotel’s future in late 2012 and early 2013, with it eventually being placed into liquidation.

“We have it back for next year...we’ll probably do 60 to 70 per cent growth on weddings next year,” Mr Webster said.

The 200-room hotel was developed at a cost of €212 million by Treasury Holdings and opened in 2007. Treasury subsequently collapsed into liquidation and loans associated with the hotel transferred to the National Asset Management Agency.

The hotel was acquired by Brehon Capital Partners and Midwest Ventures in March 2013 and it was renamed under the Powerscourt brand. It is now part of the Autograph collection operated by Marriott International.

The new owners have made a number of investments since taking over the hotel. An entirely new IT system has been installed, which will connect it for the first time with the neighbouring golf course. This will allow guests to charge meals at the club or rounds of golf to their hotel rooms rather than having to settle separate bills.

Mr Webster said changes will also be made to the grounds of the hotel, with its helicopter pad set to make way for specially designed outdoor area to host civil marriage ceremonies.

“Couples will be able to have their wedding ceremonies with the Sugar Loaf [MOUNTAIN]in the background. It will be something really different. We hope it will be ready for next spring.”

Mr Webster said its group bookings for next January are running at about four times the level of the previous year.

It has also recently begun taking online bookings for its spa. “We’ve generated €8,500 of sales already in the first four and a half weeks,” he said.

A retail outlet selling its ESPA products is slated to open in the hotel’s reception area.

The hotel was built with significant tax breaks available for individual suite owners. It is understood that 195 of Powerscourt’s rooms are available for the company to sell on a nightly basis with five suites not available to the hotel due to issues with the owners of the rooms.