A GROUP of local businessmen have bought the Westlodge Hotel in Bantry and are planning on giving it a major facelift.
Pat Gill, the general manager of the Westlodge Hotel – which was in the receivership process for the last three years – made the announcement on Wednesday, and he also confirmed to The Southern Star that all of the jobs at the well-known hotel are secure.
The local consortium which finalised the purchase of the 97-bedroomed hotel last week, are already working on plans to refurbish the first 20 bedrooms by the end of September, followed by another 40 before St Patrick’s Day.
‘The public areas – including the entrance, the lobby and food and beverage outlets – will also be transformed within the year,’ according to Mr Gill, who will be staying on as general manager.
‘The last three years have, without doubt, been difficult,’ said Mr Gill, ‘but we are now facing a future that is full of possibility.’
He added that the staff were a huge asset to the business. ‘I have to say that it was the wonderful staff that kept the place going – through their actions they have saved their own jobs.’
The fact that the new owners are from the West Cork area also bodes well for the hotel, according to Mr Gill, who said: ‘They have a real commitment to the hotel and the area. They realise the enormous untapped potential it has.’
Mr Gill said that as soon as the intensive refurbishment programme is complete, the Westlodge will be able to ‘compete with the best hotels in Munster’.
The Westlodge Hotel was built 45 years ago and has long been a popular focal point for the local community, through weddings and social occasions, as well as being a tourism destination for national and international holidaymakers.
In addition to the fact that the hotel has 26 acres of mature landscaped gardens, and unrivalled views overlooking Bantry Bay, Mr Gill said: ‘The Westlodge had the distinction of being one of the first hotels in the country to build a swimming pool and a major leisure facility, which is still very much in demand today.’
Mr Gill thanked the hotel’s loyal customers for their support over the last 45 years and added: ‘We are looking forward to starting a new and exciting chapter in our story.’