International: U.S. Investors Aim High in Northern Ireland

CBRE Hotels Dublin facilitated the sale of the sole five-star resort destination in the Fermanagh Lakelands region.

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor16th-Hole-Transa_large

CBRE Hotels Dublin facilitated the sale of Lough Erne Resort, the only five-star resort destination in Northern Ireland.

The approximately 345-acre property was acquired by a U.S. investment group led by Vine Avenue Advisors L.L.C., which is headed by Michael Saliba, and TRU Hotels and Resorts, a hotel investment and management company founded by veteran American hoteliers Jeff Mahan and Mark Ward. TRU will be taking over the management of the hotel and golf resort.

CBRE Hotels were instructed by John Hansen and Stuart Irwin, KPMG, joint administrators of Castle Hume Leisure Ltd. (as agents to the company without personal liability) to bring the property to market in May 2013. The instruction was to offer the hotel for sale by private treaty and, most importantly, to protect all current employment post any sale.

Lough Erne Resort is considered the “Jewel in the Crown” of the beautiful Fermanagh Lakelands region. It is located on its own peninsula between the shorelines of Lough Erne and Castle Hume Lough, just five minutes from the historic town of Enniskillen.

The resort, which successfully hosted the June 2013 G8 World Leader’s Summit, was completed in stages between 2007 and 2009. It currently features 120 keys and suites, a mix of 25 holiday homes within the Golf Village, as well as conference and event space for 400 people, five food and beverage outlets and the only authentic, wholly Thai Spa in the U.K. and Ireland. Lough Erne also boasts two championship golf courses – the Castle Hume and the signature Faldo course – two floodlit driving ranges and a practice and tuition facility known as Lough Erne Golf Academy. The property will also host the 2017 Irish Open golf tournament.

“There was tremendous interest in Lough Erne, particularly after the resort hosted the G8 Summit. The enquiries we received were truly international with particularly strong interest from Chinese buyers. In the end the hotel was sold to a U.S.-based buyer who recognized Lough Erne’s enormous potential,” Paul Collins, CBRE’s executive director, Head of Hotels Ireland, said in a prepared statement.