Whitbread to open first Dublin city centre Premier Inn

Whitbread, the owner of the Premier Inn hotel chain, has secured planning permission for a 97 -bedroom Premier Inn hotel at 41-46 South Great Georges Street, in its first site in Dublin city centre.

The decision represents the first step towards fulfilling Whitbread’s requirement for between 1,500 to 2,000 Premier Inn bedrooms in Dublin, with Ireland a key growth market as the business continues its international expansion.

A prime location in Dublin 2, 41 – 46 South Great Georges Street is just a few minutes’ walk from Grafton Street, Temple Bar, Trinity College and other major city centre attractions. The new hotel will be created behind the existing building facade and will include Premier Inn’s in-house Thyme restaurant. The hotel is expected to open in summer 2021.

Premier Inn currently has a single 213-bedroom hotel in Ireland at Dublin Airport and is now actively looking to expand into Dublin city centre and other cities across Ireland.

Kevin Murray, Head of Acquisitions (North & Ireland) for Whitbread, said, “South Great George’s Street is a significant landmark moment for Premier Inn. It’s our first new site in Dublin city centre and the start of our acquisition drive in the city and across Ireland. It is also exactly the type of prominent location we are looking for and expect to trade well from.

“One of the reasons for Premier Inn’s great success in the UK is our ability to be flexible and creative when securing new hotel sites. We are bringing the same approach to Ireland and are pursuing live leasehold and freehold opportunities, including potential office-to-hotel conversions, as well as going concern purchases.

'This flexibility, coupled with the strength of Whitbread PLC behind us, puts us in a good position to secure new sites in the most sought-after locations.”

Whitbread’s investment comes at a time of positive economic and tourism growth in Ireland. International visitor spending in Ireland grew by 6% in 2017 and forecasters are predicting 5% GDP growth in the country in 2018 (compared to predicted growth of 2% for Europe as a whole).

Daniel O’Connor, Senior Vice President JLL Hotels Ireland, who advises Whitbread on its expansion in Ireland and was involved in the South Great George’s Street deal, commented, “Dublin is experiencing considerable demand for hotel accommodation against a historic undersupply of bedrooms, particularly in the ‘branded budget’ hotel sector.

'Currently the sector comprises only 2% of Ireland’s room count, compared to 23% in the UK, which presents significant growth opportunities for branded operators such as Premier Inn.

“Achieving planning consent at South Great George’s Street demonstrates Whitbread’s intent and capabilities in Dublin. With a substantial requirement to fulfil, the search is very much on for the next opportunities for the business.”

Whitbread secured the leasehold on the South Great Georges Street site in March 2018. The Greenleaf Group, led by Mark Elliot, will develop the hotel to the latest specifications of the Premier Inn brand.