One of Ireland’s top hotels has announced 40 new jobs in a €2M expansion, just 26 months after re-opening.
The popular Shandon Hotel & Spa sits on the Wild Atlantic Way at Marble Hill Beach just outside Dunfanaghy in Co Donegal.
The hotel was closed down during the recession.
However new owners stepped in to re-open the 4-star hotel and spa two years ago and now offers 68 rooms to guests, with 18 new rooms completed in recent weeks and now available to book.
“There is little doubt that the marketing of Donegal in the UK and the USA is paying huge dividends for us,” said Shandon manager Carolynne Harrison.
“We had occupancy rates in the Spring of over 90pc and that has continued. The additional 18 rooms will help us meet the increasing demand through this summer.”
Forty new positions are being created across the hotel including at the Spa and a new hairdressing salon at the 4-star premises.
“We were limited in our expansion in terms of where we could add the new rooms so a few of them don’t have sea views and have a lower price to reflect that but reaction from our first customers has been very very positive as there are plenty of places in the hotel from the bar to the spa to the public lounge to take in the views.
“Of course with the great weather here in Donegal in recent weeks most people have actually been at Marble Hill Beach so a view becomes less important.”
The hotel general manager says increasing numbers of tourists are coming from the UK, the USA and the Republic.
“I believe this is going to be Donegal’s best year for tourism and it is hugely significant for rural parts of the county like here at Marble Hill and what that does for the local economy,” said Carolynne.
“We are amazed at the increasing number of visitors from the UK and north America in particular and we are also seeing increasing numbers from the rest of the Republic, particularly from Dublin and Leinster generally.
“The retention of the 9pc VAT rate was very important for the hospitality sector in rural Ireland. Communities like ours benefit from the extra tourists and of course from the extra jobs.”
The Shandon Hotel closed in 2011 after going into receivership. The hotel was purchased at auction in 2015 by local London-based businessman Warren McCarthy and re-opened in 2016 with an initial recruitment of 55 new staff under general manager Carolynne Harrison.