Ashford Castle operator secures green light for five-star Dublin hotel

Ex-university student residence near St Stephen’s Green to be converted into 60-bed hotel

The operator of Ashford Castle has secured planning permission for a five-star hotel with 60 bedrooms in Dublin.

Red Carnation Hotels (UK) has secured permission for the conversion and extension of a former Jesuit university student residence, Hatch Hall, which is located between Earlsfort Terrace and Leeson Street near St Stephen’s Green.

Dublin City Council gave the project the go-ahead after its planner found that the proposal "will upgrade one of the most prominent locations in the city".

The council planner also concluded that the proposal would “contribute to the animation of the area, will allow for the refurbishment and re-engagement of a historic building with the addition of a striking contemporary tower in an inner city location”.


The planner also stated that the proposed scheme “exhibits a respectful yet distinctive design narrative which will make a positive contribution to the subject site and Dublin’s urban fabric”.

The hotel is to include two bars and a restaurant in the former chapel building.

John Hughes, a director at real estate group CBRE, told the council that while Dublin has a strong "pipeline" of hotels, only 3 per cent was classified as being in the five-star category.

Protected structure

Mr Hughes stated that there is a limited supply of five star hotels in Dublin making up just 12 of the 214 hotels in the capital equating to 1,793 bedrooms or a share of 8 per cent.

A submission lodged by Savills on behalf of Red Carnation with the application last year stated that since 2017, there have been only 50 five-star bedrooms added to the hotel stock in the capital.

Savills stated that “Dublin has many fine five-star properties, but there is a market for additional capacity at the higher end where we do not have the offering of most comparable European cities”.

Hatch Hall is a protected structure and John Spain, a planning consultant for Red Carnation, stated that its use as a five-star hotel “would ensure that the building is restored and conserved, protecting it into the future with a viable use”.

In the past, Hatch Hall has been used as a direct provision centre for asylum seekers. It is currently vacant.

The Red Carnation proposal also includes an eight-storey extension and Mr Spain told the council that “a boutique five-star hotel would add to the city’s attractiveness for high spending visitors”.

Red Carnation declined to comment on Friday on a timeline for the development of the hotel "as the planning process is still in train" where third parties could appeal the decision to An Bord Pleanála.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times