Northern Ireland’s first 5-Star hotel, the Lough Erne Resort in Enniskillen, has received backing from Bank of Ireland UK via the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) enabling the business to work through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and invest in enhancing the resort experience as the leisure and tourism sector re-opens to customers.
Lough Erne Resort secured the finance to help fund the cost of closing the resort including retaining all of their highly trained staff and to maintain their world-class facilities including two Championship Golf Courses and the Health Spa. The funding also enabled vital preparations for re-opening of the full resort from April onwards to meet the growing demands of the staycation marketplace.
Paul McClurg, Head of Business Banking Belfast, Bank of Ireland UK said: “Businesses, particularly in the leisure and tourism sector are still working through the impact that COVID-19. We are delighted at Bank of Ireland UK to have played our part in supporting the Lough Erne Resort, one of Northern Ireland’s most famous and preeminent destinations that attracts guests both locally and globally and which is very important to the wider local economy.
“Our business relationship team led by Gillian Sadlier and Tommy Doherty have worked with Mark Ward and Jeff Mahan, Co-founders of TRU Hotels & Resorts, the Resort’s US-based Management Company to deliver the right financial support. They share the Company’s superb vision and great ambition for the long-term success of the business and we are fully on board and keen to support that.”
Mark Ward said: “As ever, Bank of Ireland have been highly professional and very flexible in meeting the needs of our business. We have been impressed with how effortless they make the banking relationship. This was especially evident during the covid shutdown periods. The CBILS facility made it possible for us to focus our future investment on the planned refurbishment of the guestrooms and public areas, as well as other upgrades to the resort experience. We have really enjoyed working with Bank of Ireland and it is a relationship that we highly value.
“As we stand, we are enjoying exceptionally strong booking levels. In fact, we could be set for a record Summer ’21. Our weddings’ team has been inundated with enquiries and has been working closely with couples to find suitable dates for weddings that had to be postponed due to lockdown. At this stage we have only a select number of midweek dates remaining until Spring 2022. Membership of the resort’s two golf clubs have also grown as more people turn to golf as a means of enjoying the outdoors whilst staying fit and healthy.”
Jeff Mahan said: “Each year we contribute more than £6m into the local economy by way of wages and the support of local suppliers and that’s something our entire team is genuinely proud of.”
The resort has an ongoing renovation programme and is investing in new attractions that include a range of Outdoor Activities in association with local company, Blue Green Yonder that take advantage of the natural assets of the 600-acre peninsula including a Sunset Waterbike Safari, a guided pedal bike tour of Lough Erne’s breath-taking biodiversity, and the Starlight Waterbike Trail. For younger guests, an Enchantment Woodland Fairy Trail is also set to open in the near future.
Jeff concluded: “In many ways we’re at the beginning of another exciting new chapter in Lough Erne Resort’s story. We are truly committed to our valued guests as we evolve our brand and strengthen our health and wellbeing experiences in line with our unique countryside setting.”