Now under the umbrella of the Blue Haven Collection, Schull Harbour Hotel is getting ready to host its first wedding fair on October 2 under new ownership. Blue Haven Collection Director Ciarán Fitzgerald shares some of the exciting developments and future plans ahead for this modern seafront hotel.
Slowly, slowly, is the approach being taken by the Blue Haven Collection to the development of the Schull Harbour. People, place and personality are the three core pillars at the foundation of the business strategy behind this group whose motto is always ‘local first’.
“You can have the nicest hotel in the world and it won’t work without the right people attracting the right customers,” says Ciarán. “We were extremely lucky to have had a fantastic team already in place in the hotel who most of whom thankfully have stayed on with us and we have built on that team to support and develop the business to the next level and where we want to get.
Lead by General Manager Eugene McNamara, who trained for over seven years in Adare Manor, this team is expanding all the time. The hotel has recently welcomed new restaurant manager Eugenia Romero from Liss Ard Estate.
The largest village on the beautiful Mizen peninsula and the home of many food producers, Schull has much to offer in terms of location and seasonal local produce.
“We have taken our time getting to know our surroundings, where we fit into that landscape and how the hotel needs to grow and develop into its area and locality,” says Ciarán.
People and place determine the personality of a business, which has driven the physical developments at The Schull Harbour.
“A little bit of West Cork indulgence with a contemporary twist would be the best way to describe what we are trying to achieve,” he says. “A place where both locals and visitors feel welcome.”
The exterior of the hotel has been given a polished new frontage, while keeping it in character with its location. Large windows, which open back fully, have been installed to allow the soft ocean breeze and light in and open up the interior to the incredible view.
Inside, the bar has been given a fresh vibrant feel complemented with artwork by local artist Deirdre Crowley.
The Deep Blue Leisure Centre, an important facility in the local area, opened in July and is currently being developed. “We have agreed a partnership with leading Irish leisurewear brand Gym+Coffee and Deep Blue, which we are extremely excited about,” says Ciarán
Looking forward, there are exciting plans proposed for the restaurant and a new Champagne lounge.
The work of local artists and homewares and soft furnishings from Schull shop East Meets West, have added the finishing touches to rooms upstairs. All of the apartments enjoy sea views so the plan is to tastefully decorate them in a luxurious coastal style this winter. “It will hopefully make guests feel like they have landed in a little bit of the Hamptons in West Cork!” says Ciarán.
The ideal getaway to celebrate any kind of occasion, The Schull Harbour has a dedicated wedding team to ensure a really special and unique experience on your wedding day. With its rugged coastline, beautiful beaches, interesting historical features, quirky shops and lively selection of nightlife, Schull is that special mix of traditional and cosmopolitan that makes it an enticing wedding location. Couples can choose from a selection of carefully designed menus showcasing the best of West Cork produce. There is a fantastic ballroom space at The Schull Harbour with two separate bars that’s ideal for wedding parties.
“The wedding experience we can offer means your guests get something really different to the norm: A day of celebration in Schull with great food and wine with the best photo opportunities on the doorstep.”
As a destination wedding location, the day after the wedding, you will have the opportunity to enjoy a trip to the nearby islands and take in an activity, from kayaking to learning to weave; a leisurely stroll on one of the local beaches or a more strenuous hike up Mount Gabriel. Finish off the day with a whiskey tasting, cocktail class or local gin tasting followed by a barbecue back at the hotel.
Ciarán stresses that they are in this for the long haul with the main goal of the Blue Haven Collection being to make a positive contribution to the local area.
“Schull is an amazing place with a real community spirit that’s a real honour to be part of but we are the new kids in the class and we will over time grow into the community,” he says.
“We want the hotel to be the local hub of the town where everyone is welcome, where you go to relax in the pool, where your kids learn to swim, where you go to work out, where you celebrate their birthdays, possibly their weddings, where you go for a quiet coffee by yourself to read a book, where you go on a date or to celebrate an anniversary, a place to enjoy a nice meal with friends or family, a quiet drink at the bar and a chat with the bar staff, a place to enjoy a glass of Champagne to celebrate a life event of special occasion, a place where memories are made and where both the local resident or the guest visiting for the weekend feel as appreciated and welcome.
“We believe in the rising tide theory of business that what’s good for our neighbour is good for us and we try to support local where possible.”
The hotel is just after launching its ‘Schull in September’ packages and is working on a suite of wellness and health lead initiatives. There are lots more exciting plans in the pipeline at The Schull Harbour for over the winter months so watch this space!