Burton and Taylor’s Bray hideaway hotel goes on market

Bray Head Hotel has expired permission for new hotel, apartments, restaurant and bar

The Bray Head Hotel – which has hosted many a wedding, featured in lots of films, and was a regular haunt of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor – could be set for redevelopment now that it has come on the market through Lisney guiding €1.8 million.

This listed building, purpose-built in the 1880s and now showing its age but with plenty of Victorian features intact, is situated on a prominent 1.1-acre seafront site and extends to more than 3,716sq m (40,000sq ft).

It is being sold by the Regan family, who have owned it for the past 55 years. The hotel is the last in a chain of six acquired between 1950 and 1975 by Patrick and Nancy Regan.

This made the Regans one of the first Irish hotel chains owners and their group included the Crofton House Hotel and Salthill Hotel in Dún Laoghaire (both of which no longer exist), the Crofton Airport Hotel (now the Regency Hotel), the Crofton Hotel Carlow (now the Seven Oaks Hotel) and the Holyrood Hotel in Bray (where a young U2 once played in front of two paying customers in 1978).


The Bray Head Hotel, run for many years by Nancy Regan with her daughter Ena and son-in-law Johnny Cummins, has been immensely popular with film stars working at Ardmore Studios and with RTÉ for filming.

Films shot at the hotel include The Commitments, Breakfast on Pluto and My Left Foot together with TV series Love Hate, Bachelors Walk and Ballykissangel. Stars who filmed there include Vanessa Redgrave, John Hurt, Pierce Brosnan, Neil Jordan, Colin Farrell and Daniel Day-Lewis.

"The most striking of all the hotel's famous guests were the regular visits by Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor while Burton was filming The Spy Who Came in From the Cold at Ardmore and again while filming Wagner in 1981," says Ross Shorten of Lisney. "Other stars who have enjoyed drinks in the cocktail lounge include George Peppard and Ursula Andress while filming The Blue Max in 1966."

Originally the hotel had 80 guest bedrooms but this figure now stands at 60 – 48 of which are en-suite. The accommodation includes the Bray Head Cocktail Lounge, a large ballroom, function rooms and standout staircase.

The hotel's location, under Bray Head and close to the start of the much-loved Bray-to-Greystones walking route, offers easy access to the Dart and has commanding sea views over Killiney Bay towards Dalkey Island.

Planning permission, which has now expired, was granted for redevelopment of the hotel and site for 33 apartments, new hotel with 18 bedrooms, restaurant and bar.

The property, which comes with vacant possession, has mixed zoning and obvious redevelopment potential for hotel, lounge and residential uses or for restaurant, leisure, nursing home or retirement home purposes. It also adjoins a substantial potential development site just to the north.

Title to the property is freehold and it also has a seven-day publican’s licence.

Bray, now a fast-growing commuter town that’s effectively a suburb of Dublin, was once one of Ireland’s best-known Victorian-style seaside towns that was popular with honeymooners and holidaymakers from Dublin.