Rent allowance to be accepted for Powerscourt Hotel suite

Owner of suite in hotel in row with management over possession

Powerscourt Hotel in Co Wicklow: the owner of a suite at the hotel has offered to accept social welfare rent allowances as part of the monthly rent

Powerscourt Hotel in Co Wicklow: the owner of a suite at the hotel has offered to accept social welfare rent allowances as part of the monthly rent

 

A Meath property developer who owns a spectacular suite at the Powerscourt Hotel in Co Wicklow has offered to accept social welfare rent allowances as part of the monthly rent when he leases the five-star accommodation next month.

Eugene O’Connor of Ardmulchan, Navan, said yesterday he was “overwhelmed by the level of inquiries” since placing an advert on the internet announcing the availability of the suite at a rent of €900 a month including service charges.

The €30-a-day average rate is a long way short of the €262 being quoted by the hotel for a similar suite next Friday. A week-long stay in one of the exclusive suites costs €1,319 and, according to the reservation staff, bookings have been particularly heavy for the next few weeks.

The planned letting is the latest saga in a long-running dispute between Mr O’Connor and Brehon Capital Partners and Mid West, who bought the hotel, previously known as the Ritz-Carlton, for a knockdown price when its owner Treasury Holdings was wound up in 2011 with debts of €2.7 billion.


Property crash
Nama had been owed €127 million in loans associated with the Palladian style hotel, one of the most notable symbols of the property crash. Brehon and Mid West have refused to disclose how much they paid for the 200-bedroom resort but reliable sources said yesterday they “would not challenge a figure in the region of €4 million”. A spokesman for the hotel owners said they had “no comment” on the latest development.

Mr O’Connor was among 200 investors in the hotel, paying €1,349,000 for Suite 214 in 2007 on the basis of a 999-year lease. The suites were leased back to the original owners, Carrylane, at a rent of about € 36,000 a year but when ownership of the hotel changed, the new company announced its intention to cut the rents by half.


Took possession
Mr O’Connor subsequently took possession of his suite against the wishes of the management but was forced to hand it back when the hotel owners secured a High Court injunction against him. A member of management told him the suite “was not worth €50,000”.

Even with a rent of €900 a month, Mr O’Connor said his annual income of €10,800 would fall well short of even the service charge, which had been set at €38,074. Neither the investor nor his family are allowed to live in the suite and, according to Mr O’Connor, the hotel management has the right to vet any of his tenants before deciding if they could stay on the premises.

The internet advertisement offers a lease of at least three months, promising tenants five-star comfort with a lift to their own private entrance, electronic touch-screen control for all lighting and air conditioning, access to a 20m Swarovski crystal-lit heated pool, steam room, sauna, state-of-the-art gym as well as two championship golf courses close by. The facilities also include a separate guest bathroom, kitchen, drawingroom, grand bedroom and a bathroom with built-in TV.