Home News Business ‘We’re here for the long haul,’ say Portlaoise’s newest hotel owners

‘We’re here for the long haul,’ say Portlaoise’s newest hotel owners

Colm (right) and Anthony Neville (left), owners of the Midlands Park Hotel with Michael Murphy, General Manager

As the Portlaoise Heritage Hotel officially becomes the Midlands Park Hotel today, the new owners say they are in Laois “for the long haul” and that they “look forward with pride and excitement at the prospect of it developing into a flagship property that can be compared favourably with any in the world”.

Brothers Colm and Anthony Neville gave local media a tour of the redesigned hotel last Thursday and said that they are creating 50 extra jobs – growing the staff from 100 to 150 at the rebranded hotel.

“From the first time we set foot in the hotel we were taken aback by the fine property it is,” said Colm Neville on Thursday. “(It) is in a fantastic location in the largest midlands town in the country with arguably the best infrastructure of transport network of any hotel in the country also!

“It lacked recent investment and upgrading but we were confident that with our experience of hotels we could give it the attention it needed to return it to its former glory and bring it on to be something really special and that’s the hotel we now see today.”

Colm said that that the building programme will be finished in the coming weeks and that they have been very taken with the welcome they have received since arriving in Laoise.

“Something that we both got a real sense of whenever we visited the hotel in those early days was the real sense of ‘Honest to God’ straightforward and heartfelt midlands welcome of the people of Laois and of the staff that worked in the Hotel.

“This is a priceless quality in hospitality and an essential ingredient in delivery of an exceptional service in our industry. I’d like to acknowledge and thank all of the management and staff for their patience and continued co-operation right through the renovation works which sometimes proved very disruptive, as can be expected.

While we are very proud of all the staff of the Hotel and the service they provide and indeed are keen to show off the new look Hotel and the €7m investment we have made in it, the real story here today is the 50 new jobs that we are announcing as coming to Portlaoise.

“Sometimes hospitality and indeed most indigenous business don’t get the recognition and fanfare of the FDI and the IDA but the jobs we are bringing here are local jobs that will make a real difference to the local community!

“They know that hospitality jobs are real jobs in Kerry, in Galway, in Westport, in my native county of Wexford and I can tell you and they are real jobs here in Portlaoise too. The workforce is anticipated to have grown from around 100 to 150 needed to be able to deliver the extra business we are bringing in. The hotel will welcome 60,000 person nights in the coming year and that in itself will drive substantial footfall in the town and surrounding areas.

“We at the Midlands Park believe that Portlaoise and Laois and the midlands have a huge offering for the leisure and business tourist alike. I would only suggest you take a look at our website to view the vast array of Things to Do and See within 45 minutes of us here!  We believe that the county is ideally positioned to leverage all the benefits that are inevitably going to flow to Tourism from Failte Ireland’s Initiative of Ireland’s Ancient East.

“We are delighted to see others in the town providing such a great offering and being recognised for it through awards and the like. We don’t see ourselves in competition with such providers but rather see ourselves as complementary to them and believe through numerous good offerings for the tourist, we can all attract even more to this vibrant area.

“I do believe we all need to be more ambitious in our vision for Midlands Tourism and believe that this newly renovated Midlands Park Hotel can be one of the flagships for the region and one for the staff and people of Portlaoise to be proud of we hope!

“We as hoteliers are here for the long haul. Our History in Hospitality goes back 20 years, to the first hotel we built and ran, The Riverside Park Hotel in Enniscorthy, a hotel that has traded through good and bad times and has a great reputation in the South East.

“I’m very involved nationally in the industry and sit on the National Management Committee of the Irish Hotels Federation and indeed am the current Chair of Visit Wexford, an Industry, Activities and Local Authority collaboration to help drive Tourism in Wexford.

“Mike Murphy, our General Manager, who has expertly managed the transition of the hotel from the ‘Old’ to the ‘New’ is the Chair of Laois Tourism and we are delighted to play our part in getting involved locally to help develop the vehicle that can expose the county to the greater tourism market.

“We look forward with pride and excitement at the prospect of it developing into a flagship property that can be compared favourably with any in the world and a hotel that we all can and should be proud to have in our town.”

SEE ALSO – In pictures: Check out the new look Midlands Park Hotel  

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Steven Miller is owner and managing editor of LaoisToday.ie. From Laois, Steven studied Journalism in DCU and has 14 years experience in the media, almost 10 of those in an editorial role. Husband of Emily, father of William and Lillian, he's happiest when he's telling stories or kicking a point.