WATERFORD is the land of “more” – Lismore, Tramore, Dunmore East, Ardmore … It was in the latter place that we spent a night recently.
The Cliff House Hotel is perched high above the village of Ardmore looking out over the Celtic Sea. It boasts one of the loveliest views in Ireland, in my humble opinion.
Waterford’s seaside resorts always seemed so far away when I was a child, with the “Are we there yet?” mantra still ringing in my parents’ ears, years later.
However, with the arrival of the new motorway, you can reach Ardmore in a little over two hours.
This seaside town is as charming and pretty as they come, with most houses painted in maritime colours.
The village is also the location for my favourite graveyard in Ireland!
My husband thinks this is strange to say, but the view from Ardmore graveyard is spectacular, with its round tower standing majestically before the bay.
On a summer’s day, this place is very peaceful, and is full of all sorts of sweet-smelling flora and fauna, so my husband is starting to see where I am coming from.
The Cliff House Hotel has been operating as a hotel since the 1930s, but it was only in recent years, when the O’Callaghan family from Mitchellstown took it over, that a complete overhaul of the hotel took place, and it is now one of the finest small hotels in Ireland.
The hotel’s general manager, Adriaan Bartels, focuses on old-world service and from the moment you walk through the doors, you can feel the place operates on another level.
We stayed in the Beach House suite, which offers that aforementioned spectacular view of the bay. Other rooms overlook gardens but a sea view room is a must if you plan to stay here.
Because we were staying on a Monday night, we genuinely thought we would be one of the only couples in the hotel.
We were very much mistaken, and when dining in the bar area – the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant closes on Mondays – we were pleasantly surprised to see that every table was full.
The menu is heavy on fish – and why wouldn’t it be, with Helvick Head only down the road?
My prawns and sea bass were clearly caught that day, as were my husband’s scallops. The atmosphere is very relaxed, and the outdoor seating area is a must on a fine day.
A spa treatment should also be indulged in. Anne Semonin products were used during my facial.
I loved my treatment, but I think I almost enjoyed my time spent in the relaxation room afterwards just as much.
Some Voya chamomile tea and the view over Ardmore Bay really rejuvenated the mind and body.
The hotel designers make the most of huge glass windows and, when using the pool, you feel like you could almost swim out to sea.
After breakfast, a hike around the head is a must before leaving this serene village and all it has to offer.
For further information on The Cliff House Hotel, see www.thecliffhousehotel.com, or call 024 87800.