Belfast Telegraph

Holiday Inn £18.5m deal is 'a vote of confidence for Belfast'

By Lesley Houston

One of Ireland's largest hotel groups has bought the Holiday Inn in Belfast for £18.5m in what is understood to be the biggest hotel transaction ever in the city.

Dalata has acquired the hotel on Ormeau Avenue which is scheduled to be rebranded as a Clayton Hotel, one of the latest expansions the firm has undergone.

And the group has also taken over management of Belfast's Ten Square after it entered administration in January.

The Clayton brand is a new line of primarily four star hotels aimed at the corporate market, according to a company spokesman.

The Holiday Inn Belfast is Dalata's first owned property in Belfast and marks further expansion into Northern Ireland where it already operates the Maldron Hotel at Belfast International Airport.

Though no timescale has yet been confirmed the company said it envisaged the new Belfast site will join the Clayton stable by the end of the year, subject to leasing arrangements.

Its management of Belfast's Ten Square, a four-star hotel at Donegall Square South, follows its entry into administration in January, and is among a group of 19 operated under management agreements with owners, receivers and banks across Ireland.

The Holiday Inn it has acquired is a four-star, 170-bedroom hotel with 40 car parking spaces and full leisure centre with pool.

It also includes a restaurant, nine seminar and meeting rooms as well as a ballroom with a capacity for up to 600 people.

A company spokesman confirmed the hotel will be among its new Clayton brands.

Paul Collins, head of hotels in Ireland for commercial property agent CBRE, believes the deal is one of the largest hotel transactions in Belfast in recent years - "if not the largest, ever".

"It's a strategic purchase for Dalata and it gives them a prime asset in Belfast city centre," he said."It's a vote of confidence in Belfast and from a trading perspective we are seeing a lot of appetite from investors looking for opportunities in Belfast."

That appetite, he said, currently outstrips availability of hotel stock.

Pat McCann, chief executive of Dalata said he was "very excited" by the acquisition in the "major city" of Belfast.

The deal was struck as Dalata announced a 30% rise in its revenues for last year. The group reported that its pre-tax profit rose from €73,000 to €4.2m (£3m).

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