20/10/2011

Iconic Portaferry Hotel Sold

Up-and-coming hotelier Bill Wolsey, whose company Beannchor Group owns The Merchant in downtown Belfast, has acquired The Portaferry Hotel - a famous gem in the Irish hotel world.

Mr Wolsey has said that 10 new jobs are expected to be created as the group is due to invest more than £100,000 in the Portaferry premises to refurbish the 14 bedroom hotel.

The Beannchor Group currently has 51 properties in its portfolio, with bars including The Spaniard, The Cloth Ear and Muriels, and The Leighinmohr Hotel in Ballymena.

A former President of the NI Hotels & Caterers Association, John Herlihy - now retired - used to own the seafront hotel with his wife, Marie Herlihy.
News Image
The Herlihys had originally moved to Northern Ireland to manage the Russell Court Hotel for the Irish transport holding company, CIE on Belfast's Lisburn Road, and after that was bombed by the IRA in the 1970s they took on the prestigious Everglades on the outskirts of Londonderry - now owned by Hastings Hotels - and then later bought the Portaferry hotel for themselves and established it as a small, but prestigious hostelry.

They were recognised by the Irish County Houses and Restaurants Association and entered into their famous Blue Book - a rare accolade that was also complemented by an AA Rosette.

In 2007, it changed hands for an undisclosed sum in a deal brokered by Belfast property agents, Whelan Property Consultants.

The successful purchaser was the Belfast-based Jewell Group, who said at the time that they were not planning wholesale change but indicating instead that they intend to build on the traditions laid down by the establishment's previous owners.

Later, Mar Properties took control of Scandown LLP which by then included the Portaferry Hotel as one of its establishments.

Then in May this year, Bill Wolsey began a process to buy 15 Co Down pubs from Mar Properties, with pubs including the Groomsport Inn and sister pub The Stables, the Hillside in Hillsborough, Lisbarnett House near Lisbane and the Esplanade in Ballyholme, Bangor.

Now, less than six months later, The Portaferry Hotel has also been taken over by the Beannchor Group.

(BMcC/CD)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

20 March 2020
Free Access To NI National Trust Properties
The National Trust is to open its parks to the public for free. Announcing the news on Thursday, the trust urged all walkers to heed social distance advice while visiting the sites.
16 November 2021
Vaccine Booster To Be Extended To 40-49 Year Old Age Group
The COVID-19 vaccine booster is to be extended to the 40-49-year-old age group following a recommendation by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). The recommendation comes after the number of booster/third doses delivered in Northern Ireland passed the 200,000 mark.
09 November 2021
Almac To Create Over 1,000 New Jobs Across NI
Pharmaceutical development and manufacturing organisation, Almac Group, has announced the creation of more than 1,000 new jobs across Northern Ireland. The jobs are part of a three-year global recruitment drive to hire 1,800 new staff across 120 different roles.
09 September 2021
Charles Hurst Group Announces Technician Recruitment Drive
Charles Hurst Group owner Lookers plc has announced the creation of 25 new in Northern Ireland as part of a recruitment drive to hire 100 new technicians across the UK and Ireland. Lookers employs almost 7,000 staff and is one of the most successful and progressive car retailers in the UK and Ireland.
24 August 2021
The Deluxe Group Creates 30 New Jobs
The Deluxe Group in Portadown has created over 30 new jobs in a £1.7million investment to support its expansion in its chosen market sectors including luxury property, cruise line and visitor attractions. Richard Hill, Business Development Director at Deluxe said: "We are really benefiting from the growth of the world’s ‘Experience Economy’.