David Fitzgerald is a graduate of Shannon College of Hotel Management, NUI Galway 1995. He has been General Manager of Fitzgerald’s Woodlands House Hotel and Spa since 1996. David is a director of DCF Adare Catering – racecourse catering providers at Limerick, Cork and Tipperary racecourses and is a board member of Original Irish Hotels.
How did you feel when you heard the news the hotel could reopen on June 2nd?
My first feeling was Aaaagh – we had just started a significant development job in our hotel lobby. We were expecting to be opening mid-June and the June 2nd opening ramped up the pressure to have this job finished. In fairness to our builder and our hotel maintenance team we got there. I was very excited to be able to see the wonderful team of professionals we have here in the hotel and our loyal customers return sooner.
What have you been doing during the lockdown?
I have been very busy with work – obviously with a slimmed down hotel team we were all doing a bit of everything. Answering the hotel phone was one of mine.
We opened our treehouse on February 13th serving food and drinks outdoors, which meant within weeks we had another 20 staff back. I also started walking in the first lockdown and have been doing it ever since – my wife and I walk at least five km every day – it’s great for the mind
How has it felt to be open again?
In a word wonderful – to be able to have the Woodlands team back together and to be able to look after our customers is what it’s all about.
Watch the Tree House Video
Does the hotel have outdoor dining?
We have our Treehouse open since February and we have expanded it four times since we started. We added an ice-cream parlour in March and our bar marquee and tree huts opened in June. See a video of the Tree House here.
What plans have you got for the summer to enhance guests’ experiences?
As we are situated on 44 acres of our own organic farmland we have put a lot of emphasis this year on outdoor activities for both adults and children.
What do you feel is the tradition of the Fitzgeralds Woodlands House Hotel?
Looking after people in a genuine Irish hospitality way.
How are bookings going, do you think it will be a strong summer?
We are running at over 70% occupancy for July and August all credit to the wonderful service our team deliver.
Where do your guests come from mainly?
Ordinarily we have a mixture of Irish and international but this year the staycation is a huge market.
Have you any special offers to entice visitors back to your hotel?
We have many different offerings depending on the market – spa, couples, grab your bestie, families, we have something for most markets. Special offers.