Sandhouse Hotel put on a list of distressed properties for sale by auction

A Co. Donegal hotel where Hollywood stars stayed and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair spent his childhood holidays has been put on a list of distressed properties for sale by auction.

Management and staff at the Sandhouse Hotel in Rossnowlagh,who claimed a good season in 2011, were stunned when told today that liquidators KPMG put the property on offer at the auction in the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin, on March 1.

Staff are gearing up to re-open the hotel, seasonally closed since early December, this weekend prior to Valentine’s Day.

The 55-bedroom hotel, which has a spa, is on offer for €650,000 at auction.

Manager Paul Diver had a rolling contract with the liquidators to run the hotel for two years, after which he would continue to manage it, pending eventual purchase for an undisclosed fee.

Mr Diver would only say today that the hotel is re-opening as planned at St Valentine’s weekend.  He refused to discuss the auction which he only learned about today.

But a source close to the hotel management team said there had been ongoing negotiations with the banks to buy the hotel from the liquidator but the banks just aren’t interested in supporting hotels during the recession.

The hotel, originally developed from a B and B, was once a hideaway holiday spot for Mia Farrow and Woody Allen before their marriage hit the rocks.

Former British premier Tony Blair spent holidays during his childhood and mid-teens at the hotel when visiting relatives on his mother’s side in nearby Cashelard.