Donegal's only five star hotel, Lough Eske Castle, recently celebrated ten years in business as of December 14th.
The castle itself has a long history that dates back to the 1400s, with an 1860s Jacobean front. Run as a hotel for nine years until a fire in 1939 when a ballroom curtain caught fire, and a journey from the closest fire brigade in Derry resulted in the majority of the castle’s wooden interior structure being destroyed.
Following a €40m investment, the hotel was restored to its former glory as well as adding the 6,000ft sq. Spa Solis, Cedars Restaurant and a 4,000ft sq. ballroom to its repertoire.
Despite opening at the beginning of the financial downturn, Lough Eske Castle has seen revenues double, currently operating at €9m. Occupancy has also continued to rise and has grown by 38% since 2007 as well as the average room rate growing by 43%, with international guest stays increasing by 15%.
The business now employs 186 staff and has welcomed ove 382k visitors.
To celebrate a decade of operations, guests can book at the same 2007 nightly rate the hotel opened with. Guests will pay only €175 midweek up until March 2018, which will include breakfast, a €40 food voucher for the Cedars Restaurant, 30% off any pre-booked spa treatment and use of the indoor pool and fitness centre.
Head of Tourism with Donegal County Council, Barney McLaughlin, said: “Donegal has received several high profile awards in the past year including being named Coolest Place on the Planet by National Geographic Traveller and Ireland’s Hidden Gem by the Independent Travel. The collaborative approach to marketing and shared knowledge in the tourism sector in Donegal is helping visitor numbers see positive growth.”
Managing Director of Lough Eske Castle, Seán Carney, said: “We very much value our local community and feel we have a large responsibility to the county. Since opening the hotel we have sponsored over €70,000 in local charities and invested over €7m into the local Donegal economy. Our team are also incredibly important to us and we are gratified 2017 has been an exceptional year for the castle truly reflecting our teams efforts. Thank you to all of our guests and industry colleagues for the support over the last 10 years.”