Mount Juliet ditches Hilton management


LUXURY HOTEL:MOUNT JULIET, the luxury country-house hotel and golf resort, is terminating its relationship with Hilton Worldwide, which operates more than 3,000 hotels around the globe under names including Hilton, Conrad and Waldorf Astoria.

For the past eight years the Co Kilkenny property has been branded as a Conrad hotel, one of only 20 such establishments worldwide. A spokesman said that from the end of this month “the management contract whereby Conrad managed the hotel will end”.

Although the contract had been scheduled to run until the end of 2010, he said, the decision was “amicable and was mutually agreed”.

Mount Juliet Golf Resort Hotel, set on 600 hectares of parkland near Thomastown, is best known for its Jack Nicklaus-designed course, which hosted the 2002 and 2004 American Express World Golf Championships and has hosted the Irish Open three times.

The hotel also offers a range of country pursuits, including equestrianism, archery, clay- pigeon shooting and fishing.

The main house, a Georgian mansion, has 31 rooms, with further accommodation available in rental lodges built on the estate. The spokesman said it will continue to be run “in exactly the same way”. William Kirby, who has been in charge of the hotel for Conrad, is staying on as manager.

Despite its reputation for luxury, Mount Juliet is currently rated as a four-star hotel by Fáilte Ireland. Following its departure from Conrad, Mount Juliet will join Small Luxury Hotels of the World, a 500- strong international network.

A number of exclusive housing developments have been built in the grounds of the estate; homeowners include the businessman Denis O’Brien.

Hilton, which is owned by the US asset-management and financial-services company the Blackstone Group, will continue to manage its six other hotels in Ireland: the Conrad Dublin, on Earlsfort Terrace; three Hiltons in Dublin, at Clare Hall, Kilmainham and Charlemont Place; and two Hilton Hotels in Northern Ireland, in Belfast and Templepatrick, Co Antrim.