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Meet the man who wants to make Adare Manor as famous as London's Savoy

The new manager of JP McManus’s Limerick resort is overseeing a major revamp.

Image: Adare Manor

PAUL HEERY SAYS there are two reasons why he packed in his job as manager of Scotland’s luxurious Gleneagles Hotel to work at JP McManus’s Adare Manor, which is undergoing a major revamp.

“One was the excitement of the project,” Heery tells Fora. ”When you go and see it, the pure investment and the restoration that’s going on just gives you the ‘wow factor’. There’s probably been nothing in Ireland like it for a long, long time.”

But apart from being a sensible career move, Dublin-born Heery decided to return to his home country so that his young family could grow up here.

With his first-born coming up to school-going age, Heery and his wife Bróna are keen to get their children into the Irish education system.

“We’re in that place in life,” he says.

Adare Manor General Manager Paul Heery - 10-7-17 Paul Heery Source: Paul Lehane

Heery has only ever worked in five-star hotels: “That has been my background and that’s what I love.”

He started out as a trainee at Sheen Falls Lodge in Kenmare and has gone on to hold senior positions in the likes of Dublin’s Merrion Hotel, the Cannaught Hotel in London and, most recently, Gleneagles.

With his passion for the luxury travel sector, the iconic Adare Manor holds a special place in Heery’s heart.

“The building is such an architectural beauty,” he says.

“When you travel the world to luxury hotels, whether it be The Savoy or Claridge’s in London, wherever you go, you have these landmark hotels. I think Gleneagles falls into that category, and Adare certainly falls into it.”

“If it isn’t known today throughout the world, the objective and the journey of what we’re going to embark on is to get it in an international positioning where people will know Adare Manor.”

JP McManus

The centuries-old hotel has been closed for more than a year while it undergoes a major refurbishment, with Limerick multimillionaire JP McManus putting a fortune into the project.

The property was bought by the businessman and racehorse owner three years ago for a reported €40 million. It recorded a slender loss, of around €90,000, in 2015, the most recent period for which accounts have been filed.

Heery describes McManus as “a wonderful gentleman” with “great vision”.

“We’re very fortunate to have somebody like that driving it forward,” he says.

As well as being given an external a makeover, the renovation will see 40 new rooms come on stream. This will bring the total number of bedrooms at Adare Manor to 104.

There will also be a new ballroom that can accommodate up to 350 guests. Other additions include a new spa, swimming pool, boardroom and cinema.

artist adare An artist's impression of Adare Manor Source: Adare Manor

The surrounding 800 acres of gardens and walking trails have also been redeveloped with acclaimed golf course designer Tom Fazio in charge of giving Adare’s course a makeover.

Heery says the resort is on track to open its doors in October with its first wedding on the books for the end of November.

“The other day there were 800 contractors on site,” he says. “There’s a huge energy to ensure we meet the deadline.”

While he won’t disclose occupancy rates, Heery says there has been a lot of interest from guests with more than 20 weddings already booked for 2018.

North America

He expects that Adare Manor will attract a decent chunk of business from wealthy jet-setters in the North American market thanks to Shannon Airport’s strong transatlantic connections.

The hotel’s luxury doesn’t come cheap, with room rates ranging from €325 for a standard room to €1,995 for a suite.

On Ireland’s tourism industry, Heery says Ireland is “in a good place”.

“Everything that’s happening in the tourism industry and from a government standpoint, we’re probably reasonably stable and it’s a very safe place at the moment,” he says.

As previously reported by Fora, Adare Manor is looking hire 300 workers by year-end. The hotel had three recruitment days in the past week to find the first 170 new hires.

It has been reported in recent times that the hospitality sector is suffering from a shortage of talent, but Heery doesn’t expect that to be a problem for Adare.

Nevertheless, he is keen to point out that the business relies heavily on its core staff.

When asked what he hopes to achieve in the first year of operation, Heery says: “We need to bed in our business and get credibility in the marketplace again. That takes a lot of patience.

“There’s always going to be a few hiccups along the way, but it’s how we overcome them that’s important.”

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Written by Conor McMahon and posted on Fora.ie

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Fora Staff

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