Dublin-based O’Callaghan Hotel Group has no plans to own and operate a hotel in London, with sky high prices ruling the brand out of expansion in the capital.
CEO Paul O’Callaghan told Boutique Hotelier that following the brand’s successful first UK hotel launch in Cambridge, expansion is definitely on the cards, but London is out of the question, with O’Callaghan saying ‘there is too much supply there’.
The group, which comprises four hotels in Dublin and one in Gibraltar and Maryland, US, opened The Tamburlaine in Cambridge in March to wide acclaim. The 155-bedroom property has been designed by Shoreditch-based Bryan O’Sullivan Studio, with the kitchen overseen by executive chef Alan Dunn.
Speaking to Boutique Hotelier, O’Callaghan said that the group is currently eyeing its next property up north, which will further strengthen the brand’s footprint in the UK.
O’Callaghan also said that while there is no set number they are hoping to reach, the group would ideally like to double its stock in the next five to seven years, without ‘overpaying for stuff’.
“At the end of the day we are a business, it needs to make sense for us,” he tells Boutique Hotelier. “We are looking at a few cities for expansion – Chester, Edinburgh, Manchester, Oxford – it will realistically be up north.
“London is a no unless it’s highly opportunistic for us, we can’t afford it. There’s no value to be honest, there is a huge amount of supply coming into the pipeline, it’s hard fought – it is wherever you go – but we like to go into a city where we have a better fighting chance.”
O’Callaghan also revealed that the group will soon kick start a multi-million pound refurbishment across its entire portfolio, rolling out a detailed renovation programme at all the hotels, starting with the four in Dublin; St Stephen’s Green, Davenport Hotel, Mont Clare Hotel and Alexander Hotel Dublin.
“In 12 months’ time the group will look very different. Which we are very excited about; we are calling ourselves the Irish Firmdale, that’s the marketing line I’m using!”