WORK has now commenced on a £16.5 million hotel overlooking the Royal Portrush golf club.
Dunluce Lodge is being funded by US investors as part of a new golf hospitality portfolio across Scotland and Ireland.
The Links Collection already owns two hotels at St Andrews – Scores Hotel and Dunvegan Hotel.
The company said the 35-bedroom room luxury complex overlooking the fourth fairway at Royal Portrush will be the north coast’s first five-star hotel and spa when it opens in 2023.
The Links Collection is headed by Jonathan Harper and Robert Covington Jr. Both are managing partners in Dallas-based investment firms.
They are aiming to have the new resort trading well in advance of the 2025 Open Championship.
In a statement, they said: “We experienced and love links golf in Ireland and particularly Portrush.
“Although initially viewed as a family home, we soon realised that the nine-acres would be the perfect site for a golf lodge.
“We are excited that others will have the opportunity to enjoy the same experience we did, and we can give something back to a local community that has been so supportive.”
Former Open Champion Darren Clarke is among those who have lent their support to the project.
Valor Hospitality Partners have been appointed to develop and manage Dunluce Lodge.
The US firm was set up in 2012 by Euan McGlashan as a full-service acquisition, development, management and asset company headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. It currently manages more than 30 UK hotels as part of an extensive global portfolio.
“Dunluce Lodge is such an exciting project given our luxury, boutique hotel experience,” said Mr McGlashan.
“Owners, investors, Valor and the local business community will collaborate to develop this world class lodge. We expect that as many as 80 local jobs created.”
Jonathan Harper has also brought Wilma Erskine on board as a brand ambassador for the Links Collection.
A former secretary manager of Royal Portrush, she said: “The Dunluce Lodge development will see Valor tap into Northern Ireland’s business expertise.
“The team already includes Brian Canavan Associates, Clyde Shanks Ltd, Arthur Cox LLB, Fox Contracts and Arbor Consulting.”
Inverness-based architect firm Maxwell & Company has designed the project, while Ballymena firm Martin & Hamilton has been appointed for the construction end.
The Ballymena firm's portfolio includes Belfast Castle and the Albert Memorial Clock.
Director David A Hamilton said: “We employ local tradesmen who take great pride in their craft and deliver a finished product which realises the designer’s vision for Dunluce Lodge.
“We have also planned a recruitment event as a forum for discussions between our construction manager and the local supply chain.”