A Donegal hotel is being forced to take bookings for next summer after booking out fully for the coming months.
Rooms for June, July and August are sold out at the four-star Shandon Hotel & Spa overlooking Marble Hill beach at the popular seaside resort of Dunfanaghy.
A recent survey put Donegal as the second most popular county behind Kerry as the place people wanted to staycation.
General manager/director Carolynne Harrison said today that people unable to secure popular dates this summer are booking ahead for 2022 instead.
“We are all very excited to be reopening in two weeks’ time,” said Ms Harrison.
“We are seeing the benefits of last year’s staycations as many of those booked to come again this summer came to Donegal, and to this part of Donegal, for the first time in 2020.
“I think that’s a growing trend, particular for holidaymakers from Leinster and Munster. They came last year, loved the hotel, its people and this beautiful part of Ireland and decided to book again for this year.
“I know a recent survey has Donegal in second place behind Kerry as the second most popular staycation destination for this year, and we are seeing that in the demand for rooms. I’d also say a lot of people who’ve ‘done Kerry’ over and over again have come to Donegal for the first time, loved what they have seen and want more.”
The Shandon resort, which employs more than 100 staff during the summer, celebrated its fifth anniversary in March after being closed for a number of years during the economic crash.
With this summer practically sold out the Shandon is also seeing a new trend with Autumn bookings getting stronger by the day.
Ms Harrison said: “We are expecting a very strong autumn ahead too, and we have quite a few bookings already for our magical winter wonderland in November and December.
“But what we are also seeing is advance bookings for June and July next year from customers who came last year but couldn’t get their chosen dates this summer.
“I think that speaks volumes for what the Shandon offers and what Donegal has to offer. I’ve heard people say that ‘Donegal is the next Kerry’. I actually think we’re way ahead of that.”
Shandon managing director Warren McCarthy has paid tribute to his team for their resilience over the past 15 months during the pandemic.
“I want to thank every single member of the Shandon team who have been part of the success here since we bought the hotel and re-opened it in 2016, I also want to thank our valued guests who continue to support us year in year out,” said Mr McCarthy.
“Their dedication and outstanding service excellence has put the Shandon Hotel and Spa on the map of must-stay hotels in Ireland.
‘’We have continued to invest in our product, and we are very excited to unveil some new developments when we open on June 2nd.”
Mr McCarthy bought the hotel and has invested millions of euro into the site since.
The London-born entrepreneur’s mother Breda is from the area, and he spent his summers there growing up.