The five-star Merrion Hotel in Dublin returned to profit last year amid a sizeable recovery in occupancy levels following the pandemic.
Accounts filed for Hotel Merrion Ltd, the operating company behind the hotel, reveal that turnover increased to almost €27.8 million in the year to the end of October last, up from just €9 million in its previous financial year and above pre-Covid 2019 levels.
Room revenue almost quadrupled from €4.5 million to €16.1 million last year, according to the filings.
Last year “was a good year for the hotel, as is 2023, coming on the back of two very tumultuous years,” a company spokeswoman said. “We expect business to peak this year and plateau in 2024,” she added.
The operating company, which is co-owned by Hastings Hotels and businessmen Martin Naughton and Lochlann Quinn, turned a €4.2 million profit in the year, a significant improvement on the more than €649,000 loss incurred in 2021 due to the impact of the pandemic.
In a note attached to the accounts, the directors said the beginning of its 2022 financial year was still marked by public health restrictions. “However, as global travel restrictions eased in early 2022 business levels increased significantly,” the directors said. “The hotel had a strong year with the average rates in excess of pre-Covid levels and occupancy at 80 per cent of those levels”, having dropped to zero during the first year of the pandemic.
The directors added that demand for future bookings into 2023 and beyond “continue[s] to be strong”.
The Merrion received €2.15 million in Government support through the employment wage subsidy scheme, according to the accounts, down from €4.5 million in 2021.
Its wage bill, meanwhile, increased from €2.77 million in 2021 to €8.3 million as it increased staff levels from 336 to 355 after letting some 257 staff go at the outset of the pandemic.
Speaking to The Irish Times last December, general manager Peter MacCann said the Merrion was considering building accommodation for staff at a site it owns around the corner amid stiff competition in the hospitality industry for new hires.
“The hotel is progressing its plan to provide staff accommodation and is in planning at the moment,” the spokeswoman said.
Mr MacCann also highlighted the steep rise in the hotel’s energy bills last year as a significant challenge. He said three budgets were submitted to the board last year and much of the rise in energy costs will have to be absorbed by the company. “We don’t know what the bottom line is going to be, because it’s going to be influenced so dramatically by utilities.”