Waterford

A cliff-side wonder: Waterford's spectacular 5-star hotel

For a tranquil ocean break, escape to the understated but luxurious Cliff House, a 5-star hotel in Waterford.

As the name suggests, this secluded hotel sits overlooking the coast in the historic fishing village of Ardmore. Every inch is designed for comfort and relaxation, so whether you’re dining at the Michelin-starred House restaurant, soaking in the outdoor hot tub or lounging in the infinity pool, you’ll be able to properly unwind.

If you can bring yourself to leave Cliff House, you’ll find plenty to explore. Discover the Anglo-Norman castle in the nearby harbour town of Dungarvan or visit historic Waterford, Ireland’s oldest city and a bustling seaport originally founded by the Vikings. After a taste of the past, head back to your hotel to relax in contemporary style.

Super stylish, comfortable rooms at this 5-star hotel in Waterford

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From loft-style designer apartments to contemporary suites with ocean-facing terraces, accommodation at the Cliff House hotel is bang on trend.

Cliff Cottage

If privacy and independence are what’s needed on your special break, pick the airy Cliff Cottage. This coastal-inspired home also has plenty of space and is decorated in fresh whites and sky blue shades. White-washed wooden boards and paintings create the feeling of a luxurious beach hut. There are three large bedrooms (one en suite) and a separate shower room and toilet, so there’s space for all the clan – whether family or friends. Large windows let in plenty of natural light when the weather’s fine, and the soft blankets and scatter cushions create a cosy, homely feel that’s just right for snug evenings in.

The fully equipped, farmhouse-style kitchen is at the centre of the cottage, with a wide, well-lit island ideal for cooking up seafood-inspired feasts like fresh mussels. Grab a plate and a couple of bottles of chilled Sauvignon Blanc and tuck in at the six-person wooden dining table that overlooks the bay. You’ll find a large Smeg fridge for keeping local produce fresh (and your wine cold) and plenty of cupboard space filled with glassware and crockery. Dig into the welcome basket on arrival, and pamper yourself with complimentary luxury toiletries by Anne Semonin. You’ll have the independence of self-catering accommodation, while still being able to access all of the hotel’s facilities.

Deluxe Rooms

You’ll find Deluxe Rooms in the hotel itself. Fresh and contemporary, these rooms have panoramic sea views, while Deluxe Balcony and Deluxe Terrace rooms also have a private outdoor space with table and chairs – ideal for your morning cuppa. Take in the cliff-side views at sunrise as you tuck into a room service breakfast of freshly squeezed orange juice, rich coffee and flaky pastries. Inside, rooms have super-king-size beds to curl up in and a fridge for keeping your drinks chilled. There’s also an elegant Donegal tweed wing-back armchair and footstool by the floor-to-ceiling window, so you can gaze out as you flick through a glossy mag.

The ultra-modern bathrooms are separated from the bedroom by frosted glass, giving you privacy as well as maximum light. Exposed rock walls create a natural and rustic feel, but the focus is on the elegant freestanding bath (rightly given pride of place on a raised platform). Spoil yourself with a deep bubble bath, perhaps sipping on a glass of fizz. For an invigorating way to wake up in the morning, jump in the powerful rainforest shower.

If you feel like splurging...

Landmark birthday? Then splash out on a Cliff Veranda Suite. This two-storey, loft-style space feels super modern, with wooden floorboards and pops of electric blue throughout. Old meets new here – the lower floor has 18th-century period cabinets as well as a flat-screen TV for next-level movie nights. Floor-to-ceiling windows in the upstairs bedroom mean you can wake up to first light and the gentle lapping of the ocean waves. Head out on to the spacious private veranda to relax on a chic sunlounger with your Americano. The real star of the show, however, has to be the glass-walled bathroom – thanks to clever design, you’ll be concealed from the outside world as you stand in the two side-by-side rainforest showers. The breathtaking views of the dramatic cliff-side location have to be seen to be believed.

Cliff House Hotel

Top rated
9.1 Excellent (705 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.2 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Wellness center / Spa
Hotel CTA

Award-winning gastronomy in a world-class setting at this 5-star Waterford hotel

For an informal meal, head to the Bar Restaurant, which takes its inspiration from the sea. Inside, you’ll find a large, curved bar of dark walnut wood as well as decorative replicas of grappling hooks used by local fisherman, which help to give the pub a traditional feel. Tartan armchairs, a roaring fireplace and stone pillars make this place feel very cosy.

Visiting in the summer months? The terrace is the place to be. Sample a plate of seafood, like freshly caught oysters, paired with a crisp glass of Chardonnay in the gentle afternoon sun. Come evening, begin a relaxed meal with a starter such as creamy chowder, before moving onto a main like juicy rib-eye steak or duck served with tart blackberry sauce and spicy cabbage. A full-bodied Merlot might be a good idea here, too. Visit on a Sunday for a fresh take on a Sunday Roast, such as whole plaice on the bone, caught that very morning, or tasty guinea fowl terrine.

If you feel like splurging...

Treat yourself to a Michelin-starred meal at the hotel’s House restaurant – it makes the most of Irish cuisine, with a focus on ingredients sourced from home waters. Settle back in comfortable tweed chairs around intimate tables and take a look at the ocean from the panoramic windows. Menus change with the seasons, but you can expect classics with an experimental twist. Think tender organic salmon from Bantry Bay, served with salmon ice cream, black toast and heritage carrots. For your main course, opt for something hearty like black Angus beef with celeriac and fragrant beef tea. A rhubarb dessert with light-as-air vanilla mousse and crunchy meringue is the ideal way to round off your delicious dinner. You can also choose the nine-course tasting menu, which explores exciting ingredients – from sea buckthorn to caviar and duck fois gras.

Ultimate indulgence at this 5-star hotel's spa

Don’t leave the Cliff House without a visit to the Well By the Sea, the hotel’s luxurious spa. Spend just a few hours here and you’ll soon understand why it won the Innovation award at the 2018 Irish Tatler Spa Awards. You’ll get a sense of the luxury as soon as you step inside – real wildflowers are used to give you a pampering foot bath!

As you might expect from a hotel surrounded by the sea, water is the main inspiration here. Lie back and unwind with a bathing therapy in a freestanding, outdoor stone hot-tub overlooking Ardmore Bay – bring a cold glass of bubbly with you, just because! Breathe in the fresh air, while staying warm in your indulgent seaweed bath. Ingredients such as soothing Irish peat, rejuvenating ginger and calming salts will help you relax even more. There are two baths here, so you can while away the afternoon next to your partner or a friend. Don’t forget to try out the rock pool – at high tide, this natural pond is an ideal spot for an invigorating dip.

Inside the spa, there’s a 15 metre infinity pool next to a full wall of floor-to-ceiling windows. On bright days, sunshine and natural light stream in as you swim making the emerald and sapphire tiles on the bottom of the pool sparkle. Contemporary wooden seats built into the wall have contrasting orange cushions to make a comfy spot for a break.

After a quick dip, let your cares slip away in the low light and gentle heat of the sauna or steam room. Four treatment spaces include a top-notch couple’s treatment room where you can lie down on the side-by-side beds for a full-body massage. Just remember to peek up every now and then to take in the sweeping bay views. Spa treatments include hydrating facials that use powerful marine botanicals and cleansing peat foot soaks. If you’ve been in and out of salt or chlorine water recently, treat your hair with a nourishing hair mask.

If you feel like splurging...

You can even bring some serenity home with you thanks to the spa’s own line of products, the Well at CLIFF. Made from pure natural ingredients, they’re named after St Declan’s Well (the ruins of a 5th-century holy well a 5 minute stroll away). Ingredients include Irish peat, seaweed and carrageen moss, as well as distilled herbs and spices, picked from the hotel’s own garden. Try fragrant bath salts to add an extra layer of indulgence to your bath at home, or peat face masks to draw out impurities and help even out skin tone. These stylishly packaged products will serve as a nostalgic reminder of your getaway in one of Ireland’s most luxurious small hotels (and help keep up that relaxed holiday feeling).