Hotel Hub: Lusty Beg Island Resort, Kesh
Lusty Beg Island Resort and Spa has enjoyed a strong year, during which it has segmented its business to focus mostly on leisure and corporate business through weddings and conferences.
“We added the spa about four years ago, and this year we have added the fairy trail to increase our appeal to families and rebrand as a resort rather than a hotel,” says Liz Cadden, who owns the island with her husband Arthur. “The kids love it. We have also invested in a new boat for customers who are seeking a thrill, increasing our use of the lough. We are constantly trying to find out how to better our customers experience here at Lusty Beg and are always trying to emphasise that it is a unique competitor in the market.”
The past year has also been an award-winning one for the resort, which picked up Island Escape of the Year in the Irish Hotel Awards 2018; a Northern Ireland Tourism Award; Best Same Sex Wedding Venue in the GNI Magazine Awards; and highly commended in two categories of the Fermanagh Herald Business Awards, Family Business of the Year and Tourism Initiative – Fairy Trail.
Plans include building a treehouse, in line with the Resort’s adventurous side and woodland theme, and ongoing refurbishments.
“We have to keep up with people’s expectations,” says Nina Kelly Kleine, head of sales and marketing. “They come here expecting something fresh and new, while playing on traditional themes. We are focusing our marketing towards a more international demographic, particularly focusing on the American and Chinese communities.
“We want to get involved with coach tours too, bringing a more diverse array of customers who are looking for a truly Irish experience. We are unique in that we are the only island in Ireland with accommodation, a restaurant, a bar, activities and a spa in one self-contained location. They are our current captive audience, a new market we would like to present ourselves to. Our work with tourism NI is ongoing. We want to be on the map internationally.”
RESORT OPENED: 1991
OWNERSHIP: Developed from a small self-catering complex to include a restaurant and bar. Lusty Beg has been under the same ownership since the beginning.
EMPLOYEES: Much of its staff is seasonal, including students.
ROOM NUMBERS: Equivalent to 80 rooms, including self-catering and individual houses.
STAR RATING: 4-star
STYLE: Rustic, warm, cosy; drawing on its lakeland and woodland theme.
MARKET POSITIONING: Trying to be one step ahead, original and looking for something different.
GUEST PROFILE: Currently wedding parties, business conferences, couples and young families.
USPs: An island resort.
FOOD & BEVERAGE: It offers a buffet breakfast, and then the restaurant and bar on site. Outdoor dining is on offer in the summer, specifically barbecues after weddings. Head chef Kunwar Sharma is Indian and has created a signature Indian curry that people love as well as traditional Fermanagh dishes and, for dessert, Creme Brûlée featuring ingredients sourced in Cavan. Fermanagh gin is stocked, as well as a variety of cocktails and something special for guests to enjoy.