Cashel Palace GM Adriaan Bartels talks redevelopment and reopening

Thursday, June 09, 2022. 6:35pm
Cashel Palace Hotel General Manager Adriaan Bartels chats to us about the redevelopment and reopening of the historic Irish property

Cashel Palace Hotel General Manager Adriaan Bartels chats to us about the redevelopment and reopening of the historic Irish property

Ireland is steeped in rich culture and heritage, and this is uniquely displayed in our world- class hospitality offering. As renowned hotelier Adriaan Bartels puts it, “Where would you get it?” We are inclined to agree. Where else would you find a proliferation of castles, country houses and stately homes, beautifully restored and transformed into luxury destination retreats?

Adriaan would know. He has had an illustrious career in the Irish hospitality industry and is now General Manager of the newly restored and reopened Cashel Palace Hotel in Co. Tipperary, an iconic property with its own unique Irish history, now owned by the Magnier family. Hotel & Restaurant Times was delighted to sit down with Adriaan to talk about his exciting new role, the hotel’s refurbishment, and his views on the challenges the hospitality industry faces.

Cashel Palace was built in 1732, and the property and its surrounds are soaked in Irish history. The hotel has views of the Rock of Cashel, one of Ireland’s most spectacular archaeological sites, and the area is known for being the seat of the Kings of Munster. Nearby are historical landmarks like Holy Cross Abbey, Cahir Castle, and Hore Abbey Ruins. Cashel Palace Hotel also has a fascinating connection to Guinness. Adriaan fills us in: “Cashel Palace was an archbishop’s palace in the 1700s and when Archbishop Arthur Price lived here,” he explains. “his land agent Richard Guinness, provided food for the house and made ale from hops in the garden. Richard’s son Arthur was the archbishop’s godson, and when Arthur Price died, he left father and son one hundred pounds each. Arthur went to St. James’s Gate in Dublin and used his money to set up a brewery, and the rest is history. We like to think that the Cashel Palace Hotel is the godfather of Guinness!”

The Cashel Palace Hotel honoured this history by naming one of the hotel’s bars the Guinness Bar, and a new hops garden has been created with plants originating from the property’s garden in the 1700s. Adriaan tells us genuflecting to the property’s history was crucial, and this became a guiding light when planning the restoration. This came about when the Magnier family purchased the property in 2015 and got planning permission to restore it in 2016. Adriaan came on board in 2018 and played an integral part in the property’s redesign and reopening. Opening a historic property, particularly a five-star luxury offering, was no doubt a challenge, but Adriaan tells us it was one he relished.With a decades-long career working in luxury hotels, it’s easy to see why.

Cashel Palace Hotel GM Adriaan Bartels talks redevelopment and reopening
Darragh O’Flaherty, Head Chef, This Bishop’s Buttery, Stephen Hayes, Exec Chef and Darren Mulvihill, Head Chef Banqueting. Photo Credit, Naoise Culhane

“I love this industry,” Adriaan tells us. “I wanted a career that was entrepreneurial and where I could travel the world. I was born in Kenya and moved to Ireland when I was 14. I studied hospitality and worked in the Park Hotel Kenmare and The Shelbourne. After that I worked in the UK for a while and when I came back was asked to be Assistant Manager in Sheen Falls. I went back to the UK and was the Train Manager on the luxury train, The Royal Scotsman, for two years which was an amazing experience, and upon returning to Ireland became General Manager of Sheen Falls. I was there for nine years before moving to the Cliff House Hotel for another 11 years.” Adriaan heard whisperings that Cashel Palace was going to be reopened and put his name into the ring. “I met the Magnier family and luckily was asked to help set up the hotel from the very beginning.” Adriaan says. “As a hotelier it is a rare privilege to be involved from the planning of the hotel design, construction and installation of the interior design followed by the purchasing of all the operating supplies and equipment, and then putting the team together to open the hotel.”

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