TOUR-MALINE? Sceptre Ireland's 7-night motorcoach
Treasures Tour--priced from $739, net, per person, for two
departures, on Feb. 11 and Feb. 18--includes roundtrip airfare;
five dinners, including a farewell gala at Dromoland or Ashford
castles; breakfast daily; and all sightseeing, admissions and
transfers. As of next year, the tour will feature both a driver and
a guide. Accommodations include one night at the Fitzpatrick Hotel,
Bunratty; two nights at Killarney Towers Hotel, Killarney; one
night at Faithlegg Manor House, Waterford; two nights at the 5-star
Jury's Ballsbridge Hotel, Dublin; and one night in a deluxe, 5-star
Castle [Dromoland or Ashford].
WHAT'S MORE: In other news, Sceptre Ireland
published its 2004 brochure--available to agents only--highlighting
more than 50 escorted excursions, and customizable tours from a
collection of 400-plus hotels, castles and manor homes and more
than 2,500 B&Bs. In addition, the 4-night Sights and Sounds pub
tour is now offered year-round, priced seasonally from less than
$500, net. Contact Sceptre at (800) 221-0924 or visit www.sceptreagent.com.
ON THE UP AND UP: Hotels affiliated with the
three-property Sinnott Hotels chain are being upgraded. A
four-star, boutique inn, the Brooks Hotel in Dublin, is completing
a $14 million expansion that included the addition of 20 guest
rooms, including several designer "Feature Rooms;" a new
restaurant, Francesca's; the Jasmine bar; a guest lounge; two
executive boardrooms and a fitness suite. On tap for this month is
a new Screening Room mini-cinema. Meanwhile, the Connemara Coast
Hotel in Galway has refurbished two guest floors and its gym, and
has added "Sli na Mara," a scenic walkway to the seashore. Sinnott
Hotels pays 8% commission. For more, visit www.sinnotthotels.com.
DO-IT-YOURSELF: For self-sufficient clients,
consider accommodations from home-rental firm SelfCatering Ireland,
which offers 2,500 rental options, from luxury furnished homes to
log cabins and traditional Irish cottages. On the news front, the
company is launching developments in Kerry, Galway, Cork and Dublin
in 2004, and has taken over management of the 81 units at Clifden
Cottages, in Clifden, Co. Galway, which is under renovation.
SelfCatering Ireland pays 5% to 10% commission. For more, visit www.selfcatering-ireland.com, e-mail [email protected] or call (011) 353
TOO-RA-LOO-RA-LOO-SPA: Radisson SAS Hotels and
Resorts signed a deal to manage a property slated to open in June
2005 as the Radisson SAS Resort & Spa Cavan on the historic
Farnham Estate in Co. Cavan. The historic site, on 1,300 acres of
parkland, will see an investment of about $60.5 million. The
project will include a 158-room hotel, a golf course, and a spa and
wellness center with 30 treatment rooms, as well as meetings'
facilities and several restaurants. For more on Radisson SAS
resorts and hotels, visit www.radissonsas.com.
A LITTLE HELP: Ireland's tourism ministry
awarded grants totaling some $695 million to three attractions
under the country's new Tourism Product Development Scheme,
administered by tourist board Failte Ireland. Funds were directed
to Silverline Cruisers in Banagher, Co. Offaly, for three new
charter cruisers; Mevagh Diving Centre, in Carrigart, Co. Donegal,
for a new dive center with equipment; and the 10º West Watersports
Centre, Elly Bay Belmullet, Co. Mayo for expansion of facilities
and equipment. Tourism minister John O'Donoghue said further grants
were imminent. For more information on the tourism development
unit, visit www.arts-sport-tourism.gov.ie.
AFTER PURCHASING BRIAN MOORE INT'L TOURS from
the bankrupt Far & Wide Travel, president Ronan Ryan said the
company will give agents a $50 commission coupon for every $50 in
commission that was left unpaid by any Far & Wide operator at
the time of its bankruptcy. In turn, each new booking with BMIT
will qualify the agent for redemption of one of the $50 coupons in
extra commission. For details, call (800) 982-2299.