Fine dining and spa breaks see Monart profit
COUNTY WEXFORD's most high end resort, five star Monart Spa in Enniscorthy, has recorded a bumper season, showing that the good times are returning to the county.
Monart's owner Liam Griffin said the spa, which opened in 2005 at cost of around €35m, has recorded its best year to date, with profits up 10 per cent on 2014 so far.
Mr Griffin said: 'We are going very well. Monart was born and bred throughout the recession and it has established itself throughout the recession. It was a remarkable achievement as we went very left field with what we did. It was a step outside the norm but we went for it with gusto.'
Mr Griffin, who owns the Ferrycarrig Hotel and Hotel Kilkenny, said all three hotels have had a very good year.
He attributes a very loyal customer base to his hotel's success.
'We have 75 per cent repeat business at Monart which is unheard of in the industry.'
He said Monart was a new and exciting project, something which involved a lot of staff training. For hotels to thrive they must offer a great overall experience, Mr Griffin added.
'People are very conscious about value for money. I am also! I think the Celtic Tiger era was mental. The government drove all the costs through the roof so everyone had a knee jerk reaction to prices and consumers were ripped off.'
The majority of visitors to Monart are Irish, but lately more and more Germans and Austrians have been visiting the spa, which was voted number three in the world.
Mr Griffin is very proud of attracting so many German and Austrian clientele as both countries enjoy global reputations for their spa offering.
He said he was never concerned about the future of the business.
'It was a very substantial investment, from the purchase all the way through the facilities. Nothing we put into Monart was cheap to buy and a lot came from overseas.'
Mr Griffin expressed concern about how the government is engaging in 'buying elections.'
'There is absolutely no question but that we are in the second cycle of the recession. People are buying elections again and that goes for them all.
'Why wouldn't they do it as it's not a bad job to have but it worries me greatly to see that massive pensions are being paid and they are still being upheld.
'We exported how many people overseas and the deprivation has affected the county, so if these people use other people's money for these projects it will be Celtic Tiger mark two.'