Home And Away Guide: County Waterford

The Cliff House on the East & West Waterford border is unique amongst Irish hotels. Sitting over Ardmore Bay and splashing with natural light, its gardens, terrace and balconies all blend in naturally to the cliffs. The property has been in existence since the early 1930’s and was a family run hotel up until its rebuilding and re-opening in 2008 under its present owners.

The Hotel was originally a private house. It was acquired by a Mr Kelly, who was a teacher from Connemara. He and his wife (a sister of the Fear Mor, the Head of The Irish College at Ring near Dungarvan) saw an opportunity to take advantage of the beginnings of a tourist trade and started the hotel business on the premises around 1900. The hotel stands on the site of the original of the same name, an old building which was demolished to make way for this brand new, state of the art construction whose architecture makes the most of its cliff side scenery. The spacious entrance lobby compliments the coastal location, with shells, natural stone and slate all used to great effect.

Since the hotel is located high into the cliffs, the views of the vast expanse of water is stunning. The interiors draw an extraordinary landscape inwards and the palettes of marine blue, fuchsia, aubergine and sea green blend in perfectly.

Each of the 39 rooms balances the colossal view with a crafted coziness manifested in stand-alone bathtubs, linen and glass headboards. The deluxe sea view room with bay windows, ensuite bath and separate shower, mini bar, Wi-Fi and flat screen TV are wonderful or if your credit card allows choose a balcony room with all this, plus king sized bed and spacious outdoor terrace. Before dinner enjoy a drink in the bar, which looks out over a terrace and the waters of the bay beyond, its décor dominated by large photographs of the original hotel. The intimate restaurant with its simple modern design and fine linen-laid tables, also offers diners stunning views of the bay from the full length windows.

The House restaurant has already been awarded a Michelin star for the innovative and inventive cuisine prepared by Dutch head chef, Martijn Kajuiter, whose pedigree includes stints with Marco Pierre White and Michel Roux. Ingredients are sourced with care reflecting the seasons and the abundance of regional produce with counties Cork & Waterford. Simply laid tables are graced with the most beautiful Irish linen providing the perfect complement for an exceptional cooking experience. Simpler meals are served in the bar; these may be included in packages offered, so check that you have the dining option of your choice when booking.

Alongside the luxury of fine food and restful, luxurious accommodation, the hotel boasts The Well Spa, a tranquil place to unwind and indulge in a seaweed treatment, massage. General Manager Adriaan Bartels runs a very slick and professional operation at Cliff House – Go there!   The Cliff House a member of the prestigious Relais & Chateau is offering the Cliff” Gourmet “package for those who want to feast on Martijn Kajuiter’s award winning, Michelin-starred cuisine - and after dinner, roll upstairs for a long night’s sleep in a sea view room. Complete this memorable gourmet Ardmore experience with a full Irish breakfast the following morning from €365 - €490 for two people. 

For more information and to book, visit the official website.

Robert Walshe is a travel broadcaster with Q Radio in Northern Ireland and Travel Editor for River Media newspaper titles across the island of Ireland. 

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