Druids Glen hotel marks chain's foray into market

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DUBLIN, Ireland -- The first Marriott hotel on the Emerald Isle is set to open April 8 on the site of the Druids Glen Golf Club in Newtownmount-Kennedy, nestled in the Wicklow Mountains just outside the Irish capital.

Billed as a five-star property, the Druids Glen Marriott Hotel and Country Club will offer 137 deluxe rooms and 11 suites adjacent to the championship Druids Glen and new Druids Heath golf courses.

Opened in 1995, the Druids Glen course has hosted four Irish Opens, was voted European Golf Course of the Year by Hertz International Golf Travel Awards in 2000 and is set to host this year's Seve Trophy tournament next month, which pitts top European golfers against U.K. and Irish players.

The 7,000-yard, 18-hole course boasts several unusual features, including an island green on the 17th hole and a Celtic cross and authentic pagan Druid relic on the 12th.

The clubhouse, a former estate mansion dating to 1770, is reputedly haunted.

Druids Heath is scheduled for a fall debut, and four other courses are located within a 30-mile radius.

Marriott searched for more than seven years for a suitable site to open a property in Ireland, according to Vari McGreevy, the hotel's director of sales and marketing.

"When [Marriott] saw Druids Glen, they knew it was perfect for them," she said. "And I have no doubt it will be the first of several more [Marriotts] in Ireland."

The $36 million Druids Glen hotel will be comparable in quality with the chain's premier JW Marriott-branded properties, McGreevy added. The hotel also will feature a 59-foot indoor pool, health spa, golf academy, business center, meeting and banquet facilities, two restaurants and a bar.

Agents can book clients at Druids Glen for a special, discounted nightly rate of 150 euros (about $135) per room through the end of May.

"That's a fantastic rate for a five-star hotel," said McGreevy. "It's to get people in to have a look at the hotel and start spreading the word."

Special rates also will be available to groups -- which are expected to comprise 60% of bookings -- as Marriott is "very keen to get as many in as possible," she added.

No special agent commission incentives are planned. The hotel will pay Marriott's standard commissions.

For information or reservations, call Marriott International at (800) 228-9290 or visit www.marriott.com.

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