COUPLES WHO PLANNED on holding their wedding receptions at a hotel in Tipperary are scrambling to find new venues after its closure.
The Aherlow House Hotel has announced its immediate closure, with 25 employees losing their jobs.
A spokeswoman for the hotel confirmed to TheJournal.ie this morning that about 40 wedding receptions were due to take place at the hotel this year.
She said the majority of these have been relocated already after managers made arrangements “out of the goodness of their hearts” in recent days.
However, a number of people who were planning weddings there have said they have not been contacted by the hotel at all.
One person whose wedding was booked to take place this summer said they have been trying to contact the hotel for days, to no avail. Another affected party said they are “deeply upset”.
It’s causing huge stress to the families involved. Thousands have been given to the hotel. We’ve not been told if it will be reimbursed or if the wedding will go ahead.
“Everyone is left in limbo.”
The person is now trying to find a new venue. They said they believe people are relocating the weddings themselves, claiming the hotel’s comment about helping them “couldn’t be further from the truth”.
A spokesperson for the receiver, Grant Thornton, told TheJournal.ie the company has asked Auburn Hotels (Aherlow) Limited to “contact customers that had booked weddings with the hotel so that AHA can refund any deposits to those customers”.
The receiver is also contacting customers who had booked weddings at the venue between 2016 and 2018 to advise them that the hotel is “temporarily closed” but that “advanced discussions with potential operators and purchasers with a view to reopening the hotel as soon as possible” are ongoing.
It is envisaged that the new operator will be in touch with those who had booked weddings in due course and in the interim those dates will be held for wedding couples who had originally booked. It is also envisaged that the new operator will re-employ all staff formerly employed by AHA.
In a statement the hotel’s owners said they were announcing the closure with “great regret”. They thanked staff and said the new owners may wish to honour some of the wedding bookings.
The closure took effect on Tuesday, 9 February.
Up for sale
The statement continues:
“Auburn Hotels (Aherlow) Limited had been in negotiations with the receiver of the hotel over an extended period in regard to the future of the property in the expectation that it would remain operating the premises.
It was envisaged that bookings would be taken for functions for dates into the future and bookings were received. It recently became clear that the receiver intended to place the hotel for sale on the open market.
On it becoming clear that the lease would not be renewed or extended the company was obliged to cease trading with immediate effect.
“Auburn Hotels (Aherlow) Limited will not itself now be in a position to carry through bookings received … It is also believed that the new owner or operator may wish to take over the bookings. It is hoped that staff will also be included in the plans of the new owner or operator.”