The Heritage opened its doors in June 2005 and offers a sophisticated elegance with impeccable hospitality, set in the pastoral Laois Countryside. It has just undergone an essential ten month refurbishment, turning it into a high end four star venue, ready for the next decade.
This includes a World Class Hotel, an Award Winning Spa, the rebranded ‘Blake’s’ and ‘Seven’ bar and The Galleria serving Afternoon Tea. The Heritage also offers guests a number of onsite activities such as the Health Club with the Leisure Pool, The Heritage Spa Experience (Thermal Suite) Jacuzzi, Sauna and Steam rooms, Tennis Court, 5km Walking Track, Cinema, Children’s Games Room and for younger guests, a state of the art outdoor Playground.
Orla Delaney, Director of Marketing and Sales at The Heritage sat down with PREMIER HOSPITALITY MAGAZINE to chat about the refurbishment.
“FBD Hotels & Resorts bought the property in January 2019,” she said. “They bought it for nine million euro and then spent a further three million euro working on a rebrand and refurbishment of the property. A big chunk of this investment went into the purchase of five apartments, to add to our 98 bedrooms. The apartments are perfect for longer corporate stays.”
The brief for The Heritage’s refurbishment required an extensive ground floor redesign, in which Audrey Gaffney Associates were appointed to reimagine various areas within the hotel. One of the main challenges faced by the interior architects was to assess the functionality of the individual spaces and create layouts that resulted in an operational flow, which previously wasn’t considered.
To achieve this, Audrey Gaffney Associates redesigned the existing spaces by delivering a transformative scheme for each area through bespoke light fittings and furniture, centre focal points, custom carpets and carefully considered colour palettes unique to the concept of each space. The new arrangements offer extra seating, additional space for guests to enjoy the relaxing atmosphere and calming ambience.
Throughout all areas, there is a strong mix of traditional elements that are offset and complemented by more contemporary aspects of the design. It is a combination of all these design elements that are conducive to the stylish, sophisticated and elegant result which has been warmly received by staff and guests alike.
Orla continued: “Another big change that was always in the plan for the refurbishment and rebranding process was changing the status of the hotel from five star to four star. We’ve got a fantastic product – a great hotel in a beautiful location in the centre of Ireland, and the directors of FBD Hotels & Resorts believed, and I agree, that it will thrive as a four-star hotel. We celebrated the hotel’s new look with a massive relaunch event on the 7th November, where over 400 people came to see the hotel as it is now and we had a great night – and the feedback on our new look was brilliant.”
Being the Director of Marketing and Sales for the hotel, Orla had a big hand in rebranding the hotel. She said: “Rebranding the hotel was key for us, as we wanted the hotel to have a clear identity for management, staff and guests. There were no brand guidelines before I came to the hotel, even when it came to its name! On some signs it was called The Heritage Hotel & Spa, and in other marketing material we would find it called The Heritage Killenard. We have branded it The Heritage now, and we have given a brand, identity and new name to each of the outlets; Seven Bar, Blake’s Restaurant and The Heritage Spa. Each of them have their logo and brand guidelines now.
“The spa has also been refurbished and refreshed. There is a new reception desk and signage, and it has fourteen treatment rooms. Our market for the spa is now focused very much on girl’s getaways, mother and daughter weekends, weddings and corporate events.
“The bedrooms weren’t refurbished because they were already in excellent condition, but we did add amenities like Nespresso machines.
“There were challenges along the way with this project, but it has been a very busy, exciting and most of all, rewarding period. Completing the hotel’s refurbishment and working on the relaunch has made us feel like we have a completely fresh, new product to offer. We’re very excited for 2020.”
Following the extensive works to the Heritage, the venue now encapsulates the atmosphere of its welcoming and tranquil surroundings, inviting guests to fully immerse themselves into this destination hotel.