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Dunluce Lodge

By Jim Stewart

The 4th hole at Royal Portrush is one of the finest par 4's in Ireland. Very soon it will have a new neighbour - Dunluce Lodge - which will become the area's only 5* luxury accommodation. 

20+ years ago, Royal Portrush set out to become a championship host. The figurehead behind this drive was a certain Wilma Erskine, a woman of immense determination and ambition. I've personally known Wilma for a long time, and better company you could not find. In good old Northern Ireland terminology, she calls a spade a spade (which means 'says it how it is'). Her popularity and reach within the upper echelons of golf helped Portrush land the Irish Open from the European Tour and the R&A's Amateur Championship. But the jewel in the crown was The 148th Open Championship, when Shane Lowry prevailed in an iconic staging of the world's foremost golf tournament. Not only did this bring in excess of £100M of economic benefit to Northern Ireland, but it also resulted in the personal award of an OBE for services to tourism and golf. Wilma is now brand ambassador for Links Collection, who also own Seaton House in St Andrews (previously the Scores Hotel). She brings to the table one of the strongest 'little black books' in golf, and the hotel will no doubt reap the rewards from her impressive sphere of connections around the world.

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A further coup was the appointment of Stephen Meldrum, former GM of The Grand Central Hotel in Belfast, who oversaw President Biden's stay in April 2023. A few weeks back he came to pay us a visit in St Andrews, and we were immediately impressed. Stephen is one of those rare beasts in the modern world of hotel management - a softly spoken gentleman who can command a room with his decency, demeanour and manners. He knows exactly where he's going with this hotel and there will be no stone unturned when it comes to providing the highest level of customer service. We genuinely can't wait to start working with Stephen, and wish him all the best for the hotel's opening this fall. Also a quick thank you to Sinead McNicholl, Dunluce's new Director of Marketing, for keeping our team up to speed over the past few months, and for giving us such a thorough education of the property in Orlando at the PGA Show.

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Connoisseur Golf clients can choose from individual deluxe suites or an 8 bedroomed private annex that Wilma affectionately calls 'Rory's House'. The decor is homely, classy, and built for comfort. Everything about this hotel has been designed with golfers in mind, including access to a nearby heli-pad which means RCD, Turnberry and St Patricks are all within a 30 minute range. A small and intimate spa means that guests can stay refreshed throughout their stay. And for those who feel their putting stroke has deserted them, a beautiful putting green designed by renowned golf architect, Martin Ebert, which will be maintained to he same standard and speed as the greens on the Dunluce course itself. 

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Golf trips to Northern Ireland in 2025 are bookable now through Connoisseur Golf. Play Royal Portrush, RCD, Rosapenna, Portmarnock, Turnberry and Royal Troon all by helicopter from one of the best new 5* hotels in world golf. Enquire for further details at info@connoisseurgolf.com.

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