Over €20 million has been spent renovating and extending the Five AA Red Star, K Club in Straffan, Co. Kildare. The work on one of Europe’s most iconic properties started in earnest when Dr. Michael Smurfit purchased the property outright in 2012 and became the 100% owner.
Since then, renovations and improvements include building two all weather, tennis courts, resurfacing the entrance avenue, opening a new Thai Restaurant and commissioning new, handmade Connemara Carpets for the lobby and public areas. In March of this year, His Serene Highness Albert II, Sovereign Prince of Monaco officially turned the sod on the new bedroom wing and construction work, undertaken by Bernard McNamara began. Work on the new wing has now been completed, well ahead of schedule, and the first guests are due to stay in the bedrooms this weekend.
The Liffey Wing is located to the west side of the hotel and contains 70 bedrooms bringing the total number of rooms at The K Club to 140. Developed in the exact same style as the original house, the Liffey Wing has been sympathetically created and blends seamlessly with the old. The bedrooms are in the new ‘Liffey Deluxe’ category and many of them enjoy views to the River Liffey or the gardens, while most ground floor rooms enjoy direct access to a private terrace.
Bedrooms are from 410 sq. ft. to 800 sq. ft. in size and feature lofty ceilings, air conditioning, huge windows, mini bars, Nespresso coffee machines and spacious hand painted bathrooms, complete with twin sinks, extra deep baths and separate power showers with traditional and rain water heads. The furnishings too are in keeping with the original Straffan House which was built in 1832 by the French, wine making, Barton family.
Rooms have been designed to echo classical elegance, comfort and of course luxury. Each bathroom depicts different hand painted motifs or French countryside scenes, wardrobes are generous and the soft furnishings are rich and elegant. Wallpapers have been influenced by the châteaux of France and include soft damasks, butterfly and bird prints and classic patterns featuring country squires and ladies. Curtains are hand made in luxurious silk and feature timeless, classical prints while antique style furniture, gilt mirrors and console tables set the scene for a luxurious slumber. Timeless art pieces adorn the public walkways and bedrooms and are in keeping with the original art work collection which The K Club is famous for.
Despite the classic interiors, the hotel enjoys the very best in modern technology and enjoys all of the comforts expected of an international resort. Super-fast dedicated fibre broadband has been installed and is capable of reaching download speeds of up to 250Mb while a new conference centre has also been developed in the east wing of the hotel. This new conference centre is flooded with natural day light and has direct access to the gardens.
The ‘Media Puzzle Bar’ is a new hotel bar which has been created as part of the renovation programme and is a wonderful space to enjoy a pre-dinner aperitif or a pint of the black stuff. Named after Dr. Smurfit’s Melbourne Cup winning horse the new bar is painted in a classic racing green and features large windows and French doors to the gardens. The ‘Gatzby’ style chandeliers were taken from the old swimming pool in the hotel which were fitted by one of the previous owners, Iranian Air Force founder, Nader Jahanbani (1977) who was executed around the time of the downfall of the Shah Reza Pahlavi government.
Michael Davern, Chief Executive Officer of The K Club said, “We are delighted that work has been completed on the bedroom wing. The additional rooms and facilities will greatly enhance our current offering. It was a very quick build largely due to the enhanced building techniques used by McNamara Construction and the design team which saw large precast concrete sections of the building actually being made off site and assembled on location.
He went on to say, “The improved and expanded facilities will add significantly to the turnover of The K Club in the years ahead. The discerning independent traveller demands a certain standard and our luxurious rooms will not just meet their expectations but will exceed them. The new rooms, along with our unique leisure facilities which include tennis, four restaurants to dine in, a resort spa, horse riding, falconry, clay target and air rifle shooting, archery and fishing, not to mention world class golf courses which have hosted the 2006 Ryder Cup and 13 European Opens, will enable us to accommodate international incentive business from North America.
“Equally, our proximity to Dublin International Airport and city centre makes us a very attractive location for international travellers and visitors to Ireland. This renovation marks the start of a new chapter in the rich history of The K Club. The hotel now offers the very latest in 21st century comforts and technology and true luxury served with more than a dash of classic Irish hospitality!”
The K Club is set on 550 acres of mature parkland and beautiful formal gardens and will celebrate its 25th birthday in 2016. There is a state of the art health club with a swimming pool and gym, a playground in the Victorian Walled Garden, junior golf and a kids club. Bicycles are available for guests to tour the estate or to take a spin along the canal which is also nearby.
The K Club www.kclub.ie