Find your cosy on picturesque Ardmore Bay

by Gazette Reporter

Thunder, lightning and torrential rain is not my favourite kind of weather. Unless I am holed up somewhere cosy, with fires roaring and a good movie on the box or a stock pile of delicious food and wine, making it possible not to venture outdoors for a long time.
We were greeted with the aforementioned weather on a recent mid-week trip to Ardmore in Waterford. Luckily, we were staying in the supremely cosy Cliff House Hotel.
The Cliff House overlooks Ardmore Bay and I was feeling slightly concerned that the views would be obscured, however we settled in for a night of amazing light shows as the lightning struck Helvick Head, directly across the bay.
We dined in the house restaurant on our first night, with lights flickering and candles burning, with all of this only adding to the spellbinding atmosphere.
House has a coveted Michelin star and the restaurant is run with great precision by chef Martjin Kajuiter. He makes a plate look like a work of art and several of our courses looked almost too good to eat. From Bantry Bay organic salmon for starter: ballotine, iced, marinated, cured, preserved cucumber, Irish garden beetroot, horseradish, oak smoke to rose veal with scallion, broad beans, gnocchi and morel for main course, with lots of adventurous plates in between, we were left in awe.
After a night of relaxation over a couple of old fashioneds, we went for a brisk stroll around the head with a local forager, who pointed out plenty of the food that had made it on to our plates the previous evening. Andrew really knows how to live off the land and his local knowledge knows no bounds.
Not to be passed up whilst in the hotel is the Well Spa, which offers stunning views of the bay, as you are having your massage, facial or body treatment.
I plumped for a full body massage and for the first time in ages, totally chilled out. The sea air, mixed with the essential oils, was a drug so powerful, I dozed off. Afterwards we whiled away a few hours in the swimming pool, sauna, steam room and outdoor hot tub.
Whilst staying in the Cliff House, we also sampled the bar food, and the menu is bursting with fishy fare. I tried the crab claws while my mum went for a smoked salmon salad. It’s also worthwhile sampling from the cocktail list during your stay.
With a three-course dinner in the Bar Restaurant, use of the charming hotel spa, and breakfast on both mornings, a two-night stay at The Cliff House costs from €450 for two people sharing, Sunday to Thursday inclusive. Subject to availability.
For more info, visit www.thecliffhousehotel.com or call 024 87800 to book.

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