In 1989 a group of Aer Lingus pilots came together to invest in Dublin's first all-suite hotel, Stephens Hall, Lower Leeson Street. A ‘home from home’ was the selling point for this 37 suite location that offered each guest their own bedroom, bathroom and private sitting room/kitchen area. In 1996 the majority of the Aer Lingus pilots released their shares paving the way for a management buy which included two of the original pilots, Peter Redden and Gerry McNulty, Stephens Hall and general manager Jim Murphy. This led to the establishment of PREM as it is known today. Jim Murphy previously General Manager of Stephens Hall became managing director.
The provision of a value added service such as the suites in Stephens Hall attracted many longer-term guests. PREM Group recognised that there was a gap in the market for accommodation of hotel standard, but with the extra facilities that appeal to someone who plans to stay that little bit longer .In August 1996 PREM Group took a lease on a number of apartments in the vicinity of Stephens Hall. These fully serviced properties proved extremely popular and PREM Group continues to increase its portfolio of apartments in Irish and UK cities under its Premier Apartment brand.
In 1997, members of the board entered into a joint venture with Choice Hotels International establishing Choice Hotels Ireland, PREM Group's sister company. Choice Hotels Ireland now operates more than 30 hotels in the Republic of Ireland. PREM Group became a franchisee of Choice Hotels International in summer 1998. This created valuable links to a worldwide hotel group, allowing access to vast reservation systems and the use of recognised brand names.
PREM Group enjoyed success sharing the Choice Hotel brands with its sister company but by 2003, due to the rapid growth of both companies, the time was right for PREM to introduce a new brand to the market place. PREM Group joined forces with Cendant, now Wyndham Worldwide, one of the foremost providers of travel and real estate services in the world to deliver the Days Inn and Days Hotel brands to Ireland and to develop a number of other brands in the UK market.
In 2006, PREM Group announced a major expansion programme for the next two years which would see the group creating over 350 jobs in Ireland and the UK, and a further 300 jobs in 2007. The €400 million investment programme also saw the group expand into Northern Europe in November 2006 with acquisitions in Antwerp, Belgium. A number of other acquisitions in major northern European cities are currently under negotiation.
In 2006, PREM Group opened 120 new serviced apartment units under its Premier Apartments brand at Dublin Airport, Galway and Sandyford. PREM Group presently operates and leases over 500 serviced apartments in Birmingham, Bristol, Dublin, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham and Newcastle.
In early 2006, PREM Group acquired 62 apartments in Hatton Garden Tower from Liverpool developer Downing at a cost of €15 million, in what was the largest property deal of its type in the city. The Eden Square scheme was launched to potential purchasers in mid-December and it sold out within two weeks. Over 50 per cent of purchasers consisted of investors from previous PREM Group schemes.
PREM Group also expanded in the UK with a two new hotel openings in Sheffield and Birmingham. The first hotel opened under the Ramada brand in Birmingham November 2005 and the second hotel, The Leopold Hotel Sheffield opened in the summer of 2007 as a small Luxury hotel of the World in Sheffield city centre.
In 2006 the company started looking at opportunities in mainland Europe and stemming out of that acquisitions in Belgium and France where completed. The first of these acquisitions was a Hotel Group in Antwerp in November 2006 which consisted of the Carlton Hotel Antwerp, (127 Bedrooms - since rebranded the Leopold Hotel Antwerp), The Astoria Hotel Antwerp, (66 Bedrooms) and the Carlton Flats (12 Apartments) which have since been rebranded Premier Apartments Antwerp. The following March, The Corinthia Hotel in Antwerp (210 Bedrooms- since rebranded the Ramada Plaza Hotel Antwerp) was purchased. In April the Bedford Hotel Liege was acquired (149 Bedrooms - since rebranded the Ramada Plaza Liege). Following these acquisitions the Global Hotel Group was purchased in August 2007. This group consists of 9 Hotels which brands include Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express. In December 2008 PREM on behalf of the consortium, acquired a site in the heart of Brussels that will be converted into a 4 Star Boutique hotel under the Leopold Hotel Brand.
The Funding for these acquisitions was supplied by AIB corporate banking and is a 50/50 Joint venture between PREM and Goodbody Stockbrokers. As a result of these acquisitions PREM Group are now Ireland's largest hotel management company with 37 Properties and 3440 Bedrooms. Further expansion is planned for the future.
Recognising the challenges and opportunities of today's hotel environment and franchisees’ expressed need for a greater input into the marketing of their businesses, the Aspect Hotels brand was launched in autumn of 2010.
The mid-market 3-star franchise brand already includes three modern hotels in key locations. Each hotel has its own unique style and character but represents excellent value with great service for both business and leisure guests.