APPRENTICE MASTER IGNORES HIS OWN ADVICE
It looks like Bill Cullen is not taking his own advice. The multi-millionaire car dealer, who famously dispenses pearls of homespun wisdom to wide-eyed apprentices on TV, lost more than €2 million on his Co Kerry hotel, Muckross Park, in 2008, according to newly filed company accounts. The five-star retreat, which Cullen co-owns with his partner Jackie Lavin, has total debts of €11.5 million.But he claims the next set of figures will be better. Steps undertaken last year will result in a “much improved” performance this year. Cullen was quoted in The Sunday Times as saying that they had turned the corner. 2008 was “the worst year the hotel had”. They were now selling more bed nights and the first quarter of 2010 was better than the same period last year.
Cullen, the host of The Apprentice programme on TV3, bought the 18th century Muckross Park with Lavin in 1990. Since then they have added 68 rooms to the facility, as well as a conference centre, a “Gothic inspired” spa and Molly Darcy’s Irish pub, called after Cullen’s grandmother.