First look: Adare Manor reopens after 18-month refurbishment

Five-star hotel has added 42 new bedrooms, a ballroom and a redesigned golf course

After an 18-month closure, the five-star Adare Manor and Golf Resort in Co Limerick has reopened to the public. Video: Adare manor

 

After an 18-month closure, the five-star Adare Manor and Golf Resort in Co Limerick will reopen to the public on Thursday. All the rooms have river, golf course, or garden views. The hotel was purchased by JP McManus and family in December 2014, and it has had a complete transformation and the addition of a new bedroom wing and ballroom.

A new building – linked to the original manor house by a colonnade – brings the number of bedrooms up from 62 to 104. The new west wing is a replica of the original, in grey limestone.

The ornate drawing room
The ornate drawing room

Nightly B&B rates at Adare Manor start at €325 per room, with the impressive Lady Caroline Dunraven Suite overlooking the gardens and golf course costing from €2,750 per night. The river Maigue runs through the 840-acre property.

Adare Manor now has 350 staff, including 50 chefs, and will recruit more in the future for banqueting in its new ballroom, where director of culinary is Loughlin Druhan, formerly  director of food & beverage of Jumeirah at Etihad Towers. Michael Tweedie, who formerly worked at Ballyfin, will be the head chef. The hotel has a new general manager, Dubliner Paul Heery, who was most recently general manager of the Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland.

The Gallery, where breakfast and afternoon tea is served
The Gallery, where breakfast and afternoon tea is served

The Gallery, where breakfast and afternoon tea will be served, is the second longest room in Ireland, just behind the Long Room in Trinity College Dublin. The vast vaulted room holds wood carvings, antique tapestries, three massive fireplaces and stunning stained glass windows.

Bookings for afternoon tea, which costs €45, are already proving very successful. Following a recent post on the hotel’s Facebook page, more than 700 bookings were made with Saturdays and Sundays booking out well into the New Year.

Afternoon tea in the Gallery
Afternoon tea in the Gallery

The architectural firm overseeing the redevelopment is Reardon Smith, which was also responsible for the restoration of the Savoy Hotel in London. Along with local architects Michael Healy, and Punch Consulting, the project has come in on time, although the owners are remaining tight-lipped on the budget. A comparable hotel, the 83-bed five-star Ashford Castle, which was refurbished to similar standards in 2014, is believed to have cost in the region of €70 million.

“Though Adare was not listed as a heritage property, we used Reardon Smith, conservation architects, to transform Adare,” said Colm Hannon, managing director. An environmental impact statement was also conducted for the redevelopment.

Lady Caroline Dunraven Suite, which overlooks the gardens and golf course, costs from €2,750 per night
Lady Caroline Dunraven Suite, which overlooks the gardens and golf course, costs from €2,750 per night

John Paul Construction had 800 workmen and crafts people on site, transforming the hotel, building the new wing, ballroom and clubhouse for the golf course.

The transformation has seen every inch of the hotel renewed, replaced and refurbished. Every single roof tile was taken off and repaired or replaced. Individual carvings were cleaned, polished and replaced where necessary; 19th century leaded windows were renewed by specialist conservationists. The whole hotel now has air conditioning and carpets and curtains were specially commissioned. Curtains in the lobby area are at least 30 feet in height. When the hotel closed it sold off a lot of furniture and fittings which have now been replaced by antiques, mainly from the UK and US.

The new ballroom, which has a high, gold-leafed ceiling, gold-topped columns, and cream decor, will take up to 350 people for functions. Some wedding bookings have already been made, sight unseen, and will cost from €195 per person.

The Lady Augusta bedroom – all rooms have king- or super king-sized beds
The Lady Augusta bedroom – all rooms have king- or super king-sized beds

Bedrooms all have king- or super king-size beds that take two staff to make up, with 300-double thread count Garnier Thiebaut French sheets. Many details in the bedrooms can be controlled by an iPad: opening curtains, turning off lights or adjusting the air conditioning.

The interiors were designed by London-based Kim Partridge, who has worked on country estates and stately homes across Europe. The spa, which uses La Mer products, has been revamped and increased in size and has a relaxation terrace overlooking the river Maigue. There is also a gym and pool and a 28-seater cinema.

Staff uniforms are in navy with a trim of antique gold and were designed by Irish designer Deborah Veale.

The Lady Augusta Suite sitting room overlooking the gardens
The Lady Augusta Suite sitting room overlooking the gardens

In August, the almost completed clubhouse had an electrical fire which destroyed about half of the building. It is being fully rebuilt at present and is due to reopen in Spring 2018.

The golf course has been completely redesigned by golf course architect Tom Fazio, with many of the holes changing location. A new vacuum drainage system for the greens will enable water to be taken away quickly, keeping the greens dry. The golf course will reopen with some hefty green fees of €340 per round or nine holes from €180. Adare Golf club will be actively pursuing the Irish Open in the future, with hopes that it could host the Ryder Cup in 2023. The redesign of the greens will make this possible with space for stands and broadcasting units.

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