Nearly US$1 billion hotel investment backs up Dublin tourism strategy

Pictured: rendering of Ruby Molly Dublin.
Almost US$1 billion of high end hotel development is heading to Ireland’s capital Dublin, according to the latest THP data.

At least 45 upper segment sites are in the offing, comprising 6,864 keys.

Tourism strategy

The collective US$980 million of funding will help to bolster a plan by Fáilte Ireland, the national tourism development authority, to reinvigorate the city’s visitor appeal.

The authority’s Dublin Regional Tourism Development Strategy 2023-2027 provides a roadmap for the tourism industry and all stakeholders in the region to navigate the current challenges and steer a course towards a sustainable recovery and continued success.

Hotel capacity boost

The strategy outlines there were 158 hotels in Dublin by mid-2022, making up 30% of the city’s premises but providing 93% of the rooms/units and 87% of the total bedspaces. This comprises 22,311 keys, of which approximately 14,000 are within the city centre.

Therefore, with the influx of high end hotels planned over the next few years, this should expand capacity by around 30%.

Varied accommodation requirements

In terms of Fáilte Ireland’s focus, it states that pre-pandemic, little attention was given to the domestic or family markets, however, post-pandemic, it is likely that Dublin will need more flexible, varied  accommodation that will cater to a wider business mix, as transient corporate and international tourists are likely to return at slower levels than other segments.

Therefore, the authority is undertaking an international study of accommodation by type, to inform the development of innovative options to address new market segments, including families and visitors looking to be active in nature.

Sector partnership

Fáilte Ireland will also develop a bespoke programme to embed accommodation providers into its wider Destination Dublin initiatives with particular emphasis on further intensification of its partnership with the hotel sector.

Significant capital investment will be required in the next 10 years to deliver the brand vision for the region, according to the authority. Fáilte Ireland will work in partnership with key stakeholders including local governance to leverage capital investment from other government funding schemes such as urban and rural redevelopment funds and Project Ireland 2040 to deliver these projects.

In progress

Already underway are at least 33 newbuild high end hotel projects, as specified by the THP database, along with six extensions, four conversions and two refurbishments.

Dublin’s premium pipeline is heavily weighted towards the upscale segment, with 39 four star properties under development, representing 87%, as against just six luxury hotels making up the remaining 13%.

Early phases

The majority of projects are currently in a planning phase, that’s 26 properties, with a further five in pre-planning. Another 10 are under construction, while four more are at pre-opening stage.

A large proportion of these hotels (47%/21 sites) haven’t yet been designated a delivery date, so it is difficult to know when the delivery peak will occur. For those which have a stated schedule, five hotel projects will finish by the end of this year, while 2024 and 2025 will welcome another nine each. Just one property is due to open in 2026.

Independent inclination

32 out of the 45 records THP holds for Dublin hotel projects are for independent developments, representing 71% of the high end pipeline. Out of the 13 branded sites, only two major chains have more than one hotel planned for the city: Accor and Munich-based Ruby Hotels, with a pair heading into each of their portfolios.

The two Ruby sites mark the brand’s entry into the Emerald Isle. First up, Ruby Molly will be built in the centre of the capital with an opening scheduled for Q3 2024. The newbuild will comprise 272 rooms and over 500 sq m for a bar, café, and lounge on the ground floor which is open to both guests and the public.

This will be followed by Ruby Dublin Middle Abbey Street, delivering 257 additional keys in Q4 2025. Another city centre newbuilding, the property will feature a rooftop bar as well as prominent space in the entrance area.