Conrad set for €8m renovation to build on near-record trading

Hotel’s revenues now back at pre-recession levels following strong year for sector

Hotel revenues last year were “very close” to €16m, putting it back at pre-recession levels

Hotel revenues last year were “very close” to €16m, putting it back at pre-recession levels

 

The five-star Conrad Hotel in Dublin is getting an €8 million makeover that its owners hope will build on its success last year when it achieved a near record trading performance.

The hotel’s general manager Martin Mangan told The Irish Times that revenues last year were “very close” to €16 million, putting it back at pre-recession levels.

This represented growth of about 23 per cent on 2014 in what Mr Mangan described as a “phenomenal” year for Dublin’s hotel sector, helped by the strength of sterling and the dollar against the euro. “We probably had our best year ever. If we go back to the pre-recession years of 2006-07, our business is back to those type of levels.”

The Conrad’s renovation will involve a €4 million makeover for the entire ground floor operation, including the entrance to the hotel.

Sense of arrival

A new all-day brasserie, called Coburg, is being fitted out and will open later this month, while the hotel plans to double the capacity of its lounge area to increase its popularity for afternoon teas or “light bites” in the evening.

The 192 bedrooms will be refurbished on a phased basis over the next 12 months at a cost of about €4 million.

The Conrad’s business “took a massive dip in the recession” with revenues declining by about 25 per cent. Staff numbers were reduced to about 150 from a peak of more than 200, although pay cuts were avoided.

Mr Mangan said the 9 per cent VAT rate, introduced by the Government, had helped the industry get back on its feet.

VAT rate “If it wasn’t for the 9 per cent VAT rate we wouldn’t be seeing a lot of this growth,” he said. “We wouldn’t be able to invest as much in the hotel if we were at the higher VAT rate. It should be here to stay.

“It has encouraged tourism, it is aiding the recovery and it has allowed hotels to invest.”

The Conrad opened in 1989 and is 47.8 per cent owned by both Hilton Worldwide and the Cashel Fund, a regulated investment fund based in Dublin.

Life and pensions group Aviva owns the balance of shares.