The Ard Rí Hotel sits on a hill overlooking Waterford City, Ireland, a prominent position which gives it a fantastic vantage point over the city below. Opened in the 1960s, the hotel had 160 beds and was the premier destination for visitors to the city for many years. It was extremely popular with tourists from all over Ireland and beyond. The Jurys hotel group eventually took over as part of their expansion in the mid 1990s but sold it again a few years later, when it became the McEniff Ard Rí Hotel. The view over the beautiful city of Waterford and its proximity to the city centre and Waterford Crystal Visitors Centre made the hotel a popular choice for tourists. The function room held weddings, parties and debutante balls as well as performances from some of the country’s biggest touring stars.
Following the sale by Jurys, the age of the hotel began to show and parts of it fell into disrepair. Tourist numbers began to decline as new hotels closer to the shopping and entertainment districts opened. It continued operating as the McEniff Ard Rí Hotel for a number of years until a fire in 2005 meant the hotel closed for good. It was left sitting abandoned and decaying on the hilltop, a sad reminder to the people of Waterford of Ireland’s economic problems. It was bought by Cork businessman Tom Coughlan in 2006 and plans were submitted for a new hotel, apartments and nursing home but the development never went ahead.
A further fire in 2010 led to calls for the hotel to be torn down however agreement on demolition could not be reached. Efforts to turn the building into a giant clock fell by the wayside in 2011 however it was covered up with white panels to make it look more appealing. A third fire soon after burnt through the white panelling and the damage remained until the entire building was turned into a giant mural created by artist Joe Caslin as part of the Waterford Walls festival.
In 2017, the Ard Rí site and some adjacent land was bought by businessman Seamus Walsh who also owns the nearby Waterford Castle Hotel & Golf Resort. Working alongside the Fawaz Al Hokair group which will be developing the nearby North Quays SDZ, Walsh hopes to refit the old building into a 5-star hotel with a leisure village in the surrounding grounds. There has been talk of a cable car system linking the North Quays development to the hotel.
As recently as January 2018, there has been a page for the Ard Rí Hotel on Agoda.com –
If what you’re looking for is a conveniently located hotel in Waterford, look no further than Ard Rí Hotel. From here, guests can enjoy easy access to all that the lively city has to offer. Visitors to the hotel can take pleasure in touring the city’s top attractions: Waterford Museum of Treasures, Holy Trinity Cathedral, French Church.
Ard Rí Hotel offers impeccable service and all the essential amenities to invigorate travellers. A selection of top-class facilities such as smoking room, safety deposit boxes, room service, elevator, tours can be enjoyed at the hotel.
The hotel features 100 beautifully appointed guest rooms, each including satellite/cable TV, television, coffee/tea maker, ironing board, hair dryer. The hotel’s recreational facilities, which include sauna, gym, steamroom, indoor pool, kids club are designed for escape and relaxation. Ard Rí Hotel is a smart choice for travellers to Waterford, offering a relaxed and hassle-free stay every time.