K Club offered to State for free to house medics or patients in Covid-19 crisis

Citywest Hotel to be converted to field hospital by HSE in battle against coronavirus

Michael Fetherston, the owner of the five-star The K Club estate in Straffan, Co Kildare, said that his hotel, which closed earlier this week along with hundreds of other hotels around the country, could be used in whatever manner the Government or the HSE believed was most appropriate at no cost to the State. File photograph: Alan Betson, Irish Times

Michael Fetherston, the owner of the five-star The K Club estate in Straffan, Co Kildare, said that his hotel, which closed earlier this week along with hundreds of other hotels around the country, could be used in whatever manner the Government or the HSE believed was most appropriate at no cost to the State. File photograph: Alan Betson, Irish Times

 

One of Ireland’s most exclusive hotels, the 134-bedroomed K Club in Co Kildare has been offered to the State for free to help in the Covid-19 battle.

Michael Fetherston, the owner of the five-star The K Club estate in Straffan, Co Kildare, said that his hotel, which closed earlier this week along with hundreds of other hotels around the country, could be used in whatever manner the Government or the HSE believed was most appropriate at no cost to the State.

The offer from the businessman and hotelier includes using the 134-bed hotel to house healthcare workers who may have to be separated from their families for periods of time, or to be used to house people with the illness.

Mr Fetherston said in a statement he had reached out to the health authorities because “it is clear now that there is no defined period for when the current pandemic will pass.”

The Irish Times understands that the HSE has not yet decided if and how it could best make use of the property.

Mr Fetherston bought the 550-acre estate – including the hotel and two championship golf courses from businessman Michael Smurfit in 2019 for more than €65 million. The K Club, which has operated as a luxury hotel for the past 29 years and employs approximately 230 people, was closed to guests from March 17th as a result of coronavirus.

Mr Fetherston’s primary business interest is the TLC nursing homes group, which owns and operates five facilities in the greater Dublin area.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that Ireland’s largest hotel, the near 800-bedroomed Citywest Hotel on the outskirts of Dublin, is to be turned into a field hospital by the Health Service Executive, following talks that are nearing completion with its owners, Tetrarch Capital.

All of the hotel’s room will be used to house patients, or medical staff treating them, the business website, The Currency first reported on Friday. Meanwhile, the hotel’s 11,000 metres of event centre and conference rooms will be used to house patients requiring treatment.

Its location close to M7 motorway, and its vast grounds are expected to play a significant role in the fight against the corona virus in the months ahead.

Eoghan O’Mara Walsh of the Irish Tourism Confederation stressed that the current crisis was “foremost this is a public health issue” but he said a large number of hotels and restaurants around Ireland were anxious to play their part in fighting the spread of the virus.