€7m for Sligo’s four-star Clarion Hotel

Fine Elizabethan-style former mental hospital opened as hotel in 2005

One of Ireland's most distinctive hotels, the Clarion Hotel in Sligo, is to be sold at a fraction of the expense involved in converting and fitting out what was originally a mental hospital. Agents Savills are guiding €7 million for the now profitable four-star business which is to be sold on the instructions of Aiden Murphy of receivers Crowe Howarth.

Part of the €45 million in funding for the hotel was provided by KBC Bank and AIB.

The hotel has larger-than-usual public facilities and 162 spacious bedrooms including 89 family suites which are uniquely large and comfortable. It also has a range of food and beverage offerings including the Synergy Restaurant, Kudos Restaurant and Savour Lounge.

Not surprisingly, it is an extremely popular wedding venue with no fewer than two private churches in the grounds – one of them is frequently used for marriages – and seating capacity for 350 guests in the main reception room. .

Aaron Spring of Savills says the Clarion is the first full-service hotel in the west of Ireland to have come on the market since the economic crash.

As such it has a superb health and fitness club with approximately 800 members who use the full-equipped gym, 20m heated indoor swimming pool, sauna and steam room, jacuzzi, aerobics and fitness studio and an “essence” spa.

The much-improved fortunes of the hotel have been greatly helped by the ever-increasing popularity of Sligo as a holiday destination.

Sligo’s location along the Wild Atlantic Way has helped the local tourism industry.

Tom Barrett, head of hotels and leisure at Savills, describes the Clarion as "one of the largest and most profitable hotels in the northwest of Ireland". He said a new owner would not be tied down by the current management agreement. The handsome Elizabethan-style building dates from 1847 and was originally known as St Columba's Lunatic Asylum. It took six years to build at an overall cost of €53,199.

The home accommodated up to 1,100 patients from Sligo and Leitrim who no longer had to travel to Ballinasloe “to be confined”.

It closed in 1992 and lay derelict until it was converted into a hotel which opened for business in 2005.

Jack Fagan

Jack Fagan

Jack Fagan is the former commercial-property editor of The Irish Times

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