Every room at the the Cliff House Hotel has a stunning sea view. “It’s like being on a cruise without the rocky motion,” says Adriaan Bartels, General Manger this 5-star,hostelry. The inn, located in picturesque Ardmore, County Waterford has been welcoming discerning guests since 2008 with Bartels at the helm since the beginning. It’s clear, even over the phone, that he loves he does.
Cliff House Hotel — luxury in Ireland
All thirty-nine rooms and six suites at this Relais and Chateaux Cliff House Hotel are decorated in contemporary style, yet convey the timelessness that is Ireland. The décor blends natural elements such as granite and limestone with rich wood accents. The color palette is light and bright. The luxurious bathrooms feature large Australian stone soaking tubs big enough for two. Some have walk-in glass showers. Much of the roof is covered with covered in sedum moss, helping the hotel blend into the landscape.
The Well Spa at the Cliff House Hotel offers guests a full menu of relaxing and restorative treatments. Indulge in a calming and detoxifying soak in native seaweed and sea salts in one of the private outdoor tubs. After your spa indulgence, enjoy the expansive sea views from the relaxation room before going rejoining the world.
The hotel has an indoor pool and an outdoor Jacuzzi. Hearty souls can take a swim in the ocean. Not ready for the bracing water? The hotel will supply a wetsuit. For those who want something a little more adventurous, Cliff House can arrange for kayaking, rock-climbing, surfing, snorkeling and whale watching. Or, if something a little more laid back is your speed, take a sauna or steam followed by a plunge into the natural rock pool at the water’s edge. For duffers there’s a floating putting green. If you hit a bad shot, the eco-friendly golf balls turn into fish food when they hit water.
Food lovers take note. The House Restaurant at the Cliff House Hotel earned a Michelin star in January 2011. It’s the only hotel restaurant in Ireland to achieve that status. Executive Chef Martijn Kajuiter, a native of the Netherlands, is committed to fresh and local. Dinner here is a great way to sample the bounty of Irish foods that are becoming more available thanks to the growing Slow Food movement in Ireland. The hotel’s website quotes the award-winning chef, “I want to work with seasonal products from the Irish soil and sea,” he says. Why? His answer is simple: “Because it’s an Irish hotel!” Bravo, Chef.
The Cliff House Hotel is located about an hour from both the Cork and Waterford airports. It’s a great jumping off place for day trips around the area. Shop for Waterford crystal in the city it’s named for or explore one of the local attractions listed at the bottom of this post.
Thriving in a downturn
Bartels says that in spite of the downturn in the Irish economy, the Cliff House Hotel is thriving and the majority of their clientele is from Ireland. “Irish people come here and discover a part of Ireland they didn’t know,” he says. He says that it’s also “exciting for Americans to come to this undiscovered part of Ireland.” If you want to discover the charms of the Emerald Isle with 5-star hospitality and amenities in a unique and stunning setting, the Cliff House Hotel is a great place to start.
Things to do in and around Ardmore:
Staying at the Cliff House Hotel? Here are some things to do in and around Ardmore, said to be the oldest Christian settlement in Ireland. There are a number of interesting sites to visit including St. Declan’s Well, a holy water source, named for the Patron saint of Waterford. He was in Ireland somewhere around the 5th century AD, predating St. Patrick. There are ruins from an 8th century oratory and 13th century church near the well. The town is also the site is also a wonderful example of an Irish Round Tower in Ardmore, dating to the 12th century. There’s a lot of history in this old fishing village.
The gardens at the 800 year old Lismore Castle are open to the public. Cliff House can arrange for their guests to parts of the castle not generally open to the public.
Cappoquin House an 18th Century Georgian mansion built on the site of an old Fitzgerald castle. It’s been the home of the Keane Family for over 200 years. The house and gardens are open to the public from April to July and can be seen at other times by appointment.
Tourin House and Gardens is an 1759 Italianate mansion that belonged to the Jameson Whiskey family. There are over five acres of gardens to stroll through between May and September.is an over 800 acre privately-owned estate on the Cork/ Waterford border with a historic abbey. Visitors are welcomed to view the grounds and gardens from May to August 1st.
If you enjoy cooking, plan an afternoon class at the Ballymaloe Cookery School. Chef Darina Allen, the school’s co-founder, is a major force on Ireland’s contemporary food scene. Or stop by and tour the farm and gardens there.