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Starwood pulls out of Killeen hotel project

Story by John Donohoe

Wednesday, 6th May, 2009 11:25am

The owners of Killeen Castle said this week they are committed to developing the hotel element at the luxury golf resort, despite the news that the Starwood Group is no longer involved in the project.

Snowbury Ltd had spent €13 million renovating the ruins of the 12th century castle on the estate near Dunsany, which is now home to a Jack Nicklaus championship golf course and clubhouse and David Pelz Golf Academy.

In 2007, international luxury hotel operators Starwood, who also operate the Westin in Dublin, were announced as the major partners. However, the original business plan for the hotel has been altered due to the changing economic climate.

'Killeen is committed to providing a hotel at Killeen,' a spokesperson said this week. 'However, the plans that were in place three years ago are not applicable to the present climate.'

The spokesperson added that it would be a sustainable project, not a 'boom or bust" but an 'onwards and upwards" approach, in a sensitive manner. The plans had gone through the planning process and were there for all to see, he added. Killeen is set to host the international Solheim Cup for lady golfers in 2011.

Following their highly successful membership recruitment drive in recent months, Killeen Castle announced that the course is now open for both individual and corporate green fee play.

With GUI and ILGU membership to be ratified in the coming weeks, the new men"s and ladies" golf clubs at Killeen Castle celebrated their inaugural captain"s drive-in with Val Ledwith from Batterstown and Helen Close from Castleknock installed as captain and lady captain, respectively.

Membership of the new club now stands at over 230, including the 100 former Luttrellstown members who transferred to Killeen Castle. Barry O"Connor, general manager, confirmed that applications for membership are continuing to arrive on a daily basis and, given the current level of interest, he expects that membership for 2009 will be filled shortly.

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