Red Carnation Buys Ireland’s Landmark Ashford Castle

Ashford Castle, Ireland’s most-expensive hotel per night, was bought by Red Carnation Hotels U.K. Ltd. for an undisclosed price as trophy properties are sold in the wake of the country’s real estate crash.

The landmark 83-room property, where scenes of “The Quiet Man” starring John Wayne were filmed, was sold on behalf of receiver Ernst & Young Ltd. through broker Savills Plc, E&Y said in a statement late yesterday.

“Ashford Castle is the jewel in the crown of Irish hospitality,” Tom Barrett, head of Savills’s hotel and leisure unit in Ireland said in the statement. “It is a strong vote of confidence in the future of the industry from a leading international hotel and travel group.”

The average room rate was about 315 euros ($405) a night last July, Savills’s Barrett said in October, when the hotel was put up for sale, citing data compiled by STR Global. The asking price at that time was 25 million euros. Irish developer Gerry Barrett paid 50 million euros for the hotel in 2007, according to the Irish Times. Income-producing properties in Ireland have lost about two-thirds of their value on average since 2007, according to Investment Property Databank Ltd.

Ashford Castle, on 365 acres (148 hectares) of land, is about 240 kilometers (150 miles) west of Dublin near the village of Cong. It attracted bidders from the U.K., Europe, Asia, the U.S. and Australia, according to the statement.

Golf Course

A plan to develop 13 penthouse bedrooms, 30 lodges and extend the 9-hole golf course to 18 holes was drawn up and never completed, London-based Savills said in a statement when the hotel went up for sale.

Red Carnation is a closely held hotelier that runs 14 four-and five-star properties, including the Rubens at the Palace, the closest hotel to London’s Buckingham Palace, according to its website.

Lloyds Banking Group Plc’s Bank of Scotland (Ireland) unit appointed a receiver to Ashford Castle Properties Ltd. and Ashford Castle Estate Ltd. in November 2011, according to Iris Oifigiuil, the Irish State Gazette.

The 501-bedroom Burlington Hotel in Dublin is among other trophy properties put up for sale last year. The asking price in August was as much as 75 million euros, about a quarter of what an Irish developer had paid five years earlier.