We recently celebrated our 10 year anniversary and wanted to spend some time together somewhere extra special.
We looked at different hotels in Ireland to try find somewhere we had never been to before. One which had an incredible reputation, was the Cliff House Hotel in Waterford. It calls itself the 'finest small luxury 5 star hotel in Ireland'. Which sounded pretty good to us- so we decided to check it out.
The drive from Dublin is approx 2.5 hrs, as long as you don't hit rush hour. We had managed to sort out childcare for the toddler for 24 hours... so once we were on the road, we didn't even mind the drive. It was nice to just be together and catch up without the shouting of a little person in the back for once! It's rare these days for us to get quality time alone. Between work and babies, it is really hard to find time to just be a couple- but it is so important to make it happen when you can.
We arrived later than expected and it was dark when we pulled up, though we could tell that the view would be absolutely spectacular when we woke up. Nestled into the side of a cliff on Ardmore Bay, the hotel has a really unique layout, in that each room has a sea view and balcony. This means that the corridors are long and narrow. We were trying to think of what it what it reminded us of- until Audrey figured it out! It's almost like being on a boat or a cruise-ship.
From the moment we arrived, the treatment was second to none and we certainly felt the luxury of being given the 5 star service. When we arrived to our suite, there was a lovely message waiting for us along with a fridge of chocolate (dairy milk of course) and crisps. The room was beautiful. Tastefully decorated with a separate sleeping and living area. There were fireplaces and TVs in both rooms and every feature in the suite was carefully selected to ensure optimum relaxation and luxury. In particular I enjoyed the massive bathtub and I had a gorgeous soak before bed. Little touches like bags of lavender on our pillows only added to the feeling of luxury.
We enjoyed a late dinner together in the Bar Restaurant, as the Michelin starred 'House Restaurant' only opens from Wednesday to Saturday during the winter months. Something to bear in mind when booking your stay.
The bar had some lovely options- however as the only thing that I would fault during the whole stay, there are limited options for vegetarian and vegan guests. It is most certainly a meat heavy menu, which is great for the carnivores, but not so much for us veggies! We ended up getting quite a few starters and sides and also a main course without the meat (butternut squash risotto). In the end we had way more food than we could eat and it was all beautifully prepared, presented and equally as appetising. So don't worry, we didn't go hungry. As a suggestion, perhaps they could look at adding a few more veggie/vegan mains to the menu.
After a blissful sleep we woke and had a lazy breakfast in the House Restaurant with a view out over the bay that is just to die for.
We then moved on to the part of the stay which I was most excited for, being almost 29 weeks pregnant. The pampering! The Cliff House has a fabulous spa called the 'The Well' which offers a vast array of treatments to suit all budgets- aided by their custom made range of spa products, made with natural ingredients such as Irish Peat, Carrageen Moss and hand-crushed herbs from their own garden.
We were treated to a couples treatment of a full body exfoliation followed by bathing therapies. I absolutely love baths, as I mentioned earlier, and even Audrey who wouldn't be the biggest fan, really loved the treatment. They tailor make the bath to your taste and the freestanding tubs are placed on a private outdoor veranda, less than 20 ft from the cliffs edge. There was something magical about being alone together and taking in the beauty of the natural scenery whilst indulging in such lovely treatments. I would highly recommend this experience for a couple looking to relax and unwind together.
We checked out the rest of the facilities before heading back to the room, including the 15m indoor infinity-edge swimming pool. The floor-to-ceiling windows and ocean views make you feel as if the pool is merging into the Irish Sea!
Pretty much everything in the hotel overlooks the bay, which is part of the hotels charm. The sea is very much a part of the life and soul of the hotel.
What surprised me about the Cliff House was that it seems to be very family friendly. In many upper market hotels such as this, you would often feel 'bad' to bring children or babies along for fear of disturbing other guests. However in the Cliff House there was a really well set up kids rooms as well as various facilities throughout the hotel. Not to mention lots of outdoor activities for families in the nearby village and countryside. We will certainly be making a return visit with Ava and the new baby in the future.
All in all, this was hands down one of the best hotel experiences we have ever had in Ireland. This is the place to go if you are looking for luxury, relaxation and a memorable trip to mark a special occasion.
Check out their website by clicking here.