Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc has announced a fourth property for Ireland, with the signing of a franchise agreement for the Sheraton Athlone, which will open in Spring 2008. Irish property company Charleen Ltd is developing the 166-room hotel as part of the Athlone Town Centre redevelopment project, which will consist of 50 retail units, 145 residential units, restaurants and cafes, and 1100 car parking spaces in addition to the Sheraton Athlone Hotel.
The total investment is EUR100m.
Hotel guests will be able to take advantage of the slumber inducing Sheraton Sweet Sleeper beds, work out in the modern Sheraton Fitness gym, relax in the spacious Sheraton Club Lounge and well appointed club rooms, and stay connected at the Sheraton Link in the lobby area, with free wireless access. The hotel will also have a restaurant and bar, 820 sqm of meeting and banqueting space including a 420 m2 ball room with capacity for 400 people and flexible smaller meeting space.
Roeland Vos, President, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Europe, Middle East & Africa said, We are thrilled to be announcing yet another Sheraton for Ireland, particularly so soon after the opening of the Sheraton Fota Island Hotel & Spa in Cork. This hotel is an important new addition to our Irish portfolio and is a further illustration of our commitment to this destination. We are delighted to be working with Charleen Ltd on this new development project and we hope this is the = beginning of a long term partnership with them.
John O’ Sullivan, Director, Charleen Ltd, said, We are delighted to be working with an internationally recognised hotel brand such as Sheraton on this development initiative for Athlone. The area will benefit hugely from the investment and with Starwood already having a presence in Ireland and a proven track record, they make an ideal hotel franchise partner for us.
The hotel’s location in the heart of Ireland will appeal to both business and leisure travellers. Athlone’s setting in the centre of Ireland means the city is the focus of commercial and retail activity in the Midlands and in recent years high-profile companies such as Elan Corporation, Ericsson, One Direct Insurance and ICT Eurotel have opened up operations there. Tourism is also a significant sector for the city and surrounding area. Athlone’s prime position on the River Shannon at the foot of Lough Ree makes it a hub for the leisure craft and cruise boat industry. It is also an ideal base for the angling enthusiast, for fishing on the Shannon and the network of inland lakes and waterways in the Midlands Region.
The Sheraton Athlone Hotel is the second Sheraton for Starwood Hotels & Resorts in Ireland. In May 2006 the Sheraton Fota Island Hotel & Spa opened in Cork, joining the Westin Dublin property which opened in 2001.
Starwood is also opening a Luxury Collection hotel at Killeen Castle in County Meath in 2010, with an exclusive health club and spa and an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus signature golf course.