CEO Edward Stephenson on Druids Glen Hotel’s Slick 5-Star Revamp

Garden Room

Druids Glen is a luxurious 5-star golf resort nestled on 400 acres of beautiful countryside between the spectacular Wicklow mountains and the ever-tempting Irish Sea.

Only 30 minutes from Dublin, Druids Glen is the definition of an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The resort recently underwent an impressive €9 million revamp and we spoke to the hotel’s CEO, Edward Stephenson, about this, and indeed, about his experience in the Irish hospitality industry.

Speaking about his beginnings in the hospitality industry, Edward remembers feeling uncertain after finishing school and wondering what his next step would be:

“I was unclear about what path I should take following my secondary schooling. My mother had been involved in the hospitality sector and influenced my decision to attend the Shannon College of Hotel Management. This turned out to be an inspired choice on several levels.”

Describing some of his earliest experiences, he lists Movenpick Lausanne, TrustHouseForte London, The Shelbourne (then TrustHouseForte) and Dunraven Arms in Adare on his CV. These places “all provided me with invaluable experiences prior to joining Jurys in 1991, where I spent a wonderful 22 years managing five different properties”.

Before joining Druids Glen Hotel & Golf Resort in 2013, Edward managed a number of hotels, including Jurys Inns in Galway, Christchurch and the IFSC, as well as The Westbury hotel.

Druids Glen

A recipient of the Hotel Manager of The Year Award, Edward praises the people he has worked with throughout the years as having influenced his methods and decisions:

“I have been fortunate to have worked with, and been mentored by, some of the most progressive hospitality sector leaders of my era in Peter Malone and Pat McCann. In Jurys, we were given tremendous opportunities at a young age and the award was due recognition of the culture and values that Jurys instilled in its management.”

Despite winning the aforementioned award, Edward maintains that his biggest achievement is “yet to come” and strives to continue to “evaluate” and “learn” from every aspect of his work.

At Druids Glen, Edward is responsible for many operations within the resort. His key role is to “positively influence and optimise the performance of the various business activities within the 369 acres.”

For Edward, “underlying this pursuit, and fundamental to the success of the resort, are 300 colleagues, many long serving, who have a great loyalty to Druids Glen and a wonderful passion for what they do”.

Going into detail about the resort’s refurbishments, Edward explains: “Over the last number of years, €9m has been invested throughout the resort to ensure the Druids Glen experience continues to meet the expectations of our customers.”

He added: “The latest developments have been the lobby refurbishment and the recently completed Garden Rooms and Bar, the first change to the original hotel footprint.”

The hotel’s bar has been completely rebranded and a new menu has been devised by Executive Chef Anthony Duggan, Sous Chef Sue Leacy and Garden Rooms and Bar Manager, Matti Reuter.

Describing the menu, Edward says that “the menu is aimed at informal dining, featuring light bites, salads, pasta and grills”.

So overall, the major changes to Druids Glen following the refurbishment can be found in the lobby and the Garden Rooms and Bar, with Edward explaining:

“The removal of a split-level lobby has made the space more accessible and the beautifully crafted hand-made Irish furniture, complimented with Irish art works, has been well received by our guests.”

The Garden Rooms and Bar were designed to extend the area of the existing bar to provide further space for both bar use and informal dining. Key to the design was to optimise the magnificent view onto the gardens and woodland.

For Edward, he is particularly impressed with the refurbishment of the hotel’s ground floor, as it adds a “completely new dimension and much needed space to service the needs of both our residents and the wider population of Newtownmountkennedy, Kilcoole, Greystones and South Dublin.”

With his job, Edward takes steps to ensure that he gets as much of a work-life balance as possible: “Bootcamp 3 mornings a week with a few colleagues is a great way to start the day. I also enjoy playing golf (badly) and rugby at all levels. But I get most the enjoyment out of following Kerry football.”

After starting out as an uncertain secondary school student, Edward has risen through the ranks of the Irish hospitality industry and would encourage others to follow a path in the industry:

It is a great industry with limitless opportunities. There’s something for everyone and those with drive, ambition and passion will prosper.

So, with their refurbishment completed and a truly luxurious 5-star haven to manage in Wicklow, I couldn’t help but wonder what the future will hold for Edward and Druids Glen:

“Druids Glen is thriving and has enormous potential for future development and site optimisation across its 368 acres. Those prospects are what continues to occupy me.”

INTERVIEW BY SARAH GLASCOTT

Sarah has always had a great love of travel, food and photography. Following her journalism degree at DCU, she developed a passion for travel writing while living in Spain.

Sarah loves exploring new places and sampling the local cuisine. Working with TheTaste.ie combines her love of food and travel.

A big people person, especially when it comes to hearing other people’s stories, Sarah loves interviewing chefs, food producers and more.

Sarah Glascott Sarah Glascott

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