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“Boutique luxury overlooking the sea” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Cliff House Hotel

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Cliff House Hotel
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Middle Road | Ardmore Bay, Ardmore, Ireland   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Ardmore
Ireland
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
“Boutique luxury overlooking the sea”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 11, 2013 via mobile

Spent one night here with my significant other and loved it. The hotel's location is stunning, right overlooking the sea and the hotels design centers around it.

The rooms are large with a king sized bed, flat screen tv, cdplayer, etc. the hotel has lots of lovely touches, such as a selection of books in the rooms to choose from. The bathroom for me was fabulous, large with a shower and freestanding bath and huge waterfall sink, all decorated in sparkly purple tiles.

The spa is lovely with a 15m infinity pool again overlooking the sea. Theres an outdoor jacuzzi and rock pool too.

We had dinner in the Michelin started restaurant, which was out of this world. Every course was a visual and sensory treat, perfectly executed and delicious! Would return for the food alone.

The hotel is perfect for a relaxing indulgent break. It's expensive relative to other hotels, but well worth the trip for the restaurant alone. It has a small charming library on the top floor, which is a lovely escape from the bustle of the bar area.

  • Stayed April 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Adriaan_Bartels_13, General Manager at Cliff House Hotel, responded to this review, May 18, 2013
Dear whisper_6

Thanks for your superb review.

Glad you really enjoyed yourselves and we hope that we will have the pleasure of welcoming you back some day soon.

Kind regards
Adriaan Bartels
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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899 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (164)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Dublin, Ireland
Top Contributor
65 reviews 65 reviews
39 hotel reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 11, 2013

We stayed here on the DB&B package for a special occasion and enjoyed it. The good points are it's in a nice village with nice walks over the cliff and the staff are excellent. All rooms have good views overlooking the sea with a lovely bathroom. Dinner in the restaurant was excellent and well worth it's Michelin star rating. Lovely amuse bouche to start and great flavours throughout. The negatives were breakfast was very poor after such a great dinner, the rooms are nice but for the price you pay definitely not worth it. The pool area is fine but you could find similar in most hotels but the outdoor hot tub is cool. Overall for me the hotel is nothing too special so not worth the huge price you pay. Yes I would go back for dinner but not stay here again.

Room Tip: Stay in the village and have dinner in the hotel
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Adriaan_Bartels_13, General Manager at Cliff House Hotel, responded to this review, May 18, 2013
Dear nryan33

Thanks for your review.

Best wishes

Adriaan Bartels
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Celbridge,Co Kildare
1 review
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 8, 2013

Waited 30mins for a seat in the bar, even though I counted 8 free tables (16+ seats) eventually got fed up and just sat down! Ordered a drink, totally wrong order! ! Staff appeared not to know what they were doing, nervous and afraid to speak with customers!very unsatisfactory for a 5*Hotel, views gorgeous though!

  • Stayed May 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Adriaan_Bartels_13, General Manager at Cliff House Hotel, responded to this review, May 10, 2013
Dear d-host

Thanks for your review - would love a bit more detail about when exactly this happened - please email me directly......abartels@thecliffhousehotel.com and I would be happy to discuss it with you.

Yours sincerely

Adriaan Bartels
General Manager
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Co Kildare
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 8, 2013

What a relaxing treat. This hotel is stunning from the minute you enter into reception, the glass windows overlooking Ardmore Bay are amazing. I could not fault anything, the meal, the room, the spa & the staff were fantastic. I would highly recommend this hotel for that special treat !

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Adriaan_Bartels_13, General Manager at Cliff House Hotel, responded to this review, May 10, 2013
Dear DeirdreBarry

Thanks for your lovely review - really glad that you were well looked after and hope we will have the pleasure of welcoming you back soon.

Kind regards

Adriaan Bartels
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dublin, Ireland
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2013

Stunning views regardless of weather, friendly personable staff, luxurious rooms with real character and Michelin star food" to die for" in the restaurant.
This was our second visit and it won't be our last. Extremely busy weekend but the staff coped admirably and were still smiling the next morning.
If you deserve a special treat I can think of nowhere nicer. Oh yea, did I mention the food........

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Adriaan_Bartels_13, General Manager at Cliff House Hotel, responded to this review, May 8, 2013
Dear Derek148

Thank you for your very kind words, we very much appreciate your positive review especially after our busy Bank Holiday!

Glad that you enjoyed your second visit and we look forward to the pleasure of having you for your third visit some day soon.

Kind regards
Adriaan Bartels
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ireland
Top Contributor
174 reviews 174 reviews
65 hotel reviews
Reviews in 68 cities Reviews in 68 cities
572 helpful votes 572 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 6, 2013

As my husband and I celebrate our birthdays within 2 weeks of one another, we decided this year to spend a night at Cliff House Hotel as a “joint” birthday gift to each other (split the bill between the two of us). The hotel has been on our agenda for quite some time now, particularly to dine at The House Restaurant.

As we were travelling to the Litfest at Ballymaloe that weekend, it was a no-brainer. Everything was stacked in our favour. Stay the night and have an easy drive to Ballymaloe the following morning.

We were given the warmest of welcomes by the delightful receptionist, who in turn passed us over to her colleague, who escorted us to our room. Her warm, no-nonsense demeanour was reminiscence of an “Irish Mammy” and I mean that in the nicest and most complimentary sense. There was something comforting and soothing in her manner and gave the hotel a homely feel. I almost expected her to call later in the evening to “tuck us in”!

On entering the room, the first thing that strikes you is the view. The room itself was quite small, but cosy, and the pink tones from the beautiful tweed throw on the bed, the squishy comfortable pink armchair in the window, and the pink curtains gave the room a cheery lift and blended and flowed well with the delightful bathroom with its stonework and pink mosaics. We are currently in the process of renovating our own bathroom, and had I seen this bathroom before we committed to our own décor - I would have replicated every single element. I absolutely loved the bathroom, and would have been quite happy to stay in it for the night!

Back to the room: I feel elements of the design were lacking. A small table which served no purpose whatsoever cluttered the room somewhat. A stool at the desk (albeit covered in beautiful tweed) but wouldn’t be conducive to working if on a business trip, and although the beautiful armchair in the window was delightful, when I claimed it as my own, hubbie had to sit up on the bed! The interior designer was either a male with no consideration for female needs, or a female blessed with natural beauty. The full length mirror was more-or-less behind the window, with neither natural or artificial light and I struggled when applying my “false face”. Me, I would have put a full length mirror over at the well stocked bookcase area (perhaps on the wardrobe door) with the added advantage of easy access to the bathroom, hairdryer and overhead light.

As we arrived quite late in the afternoon, we decided not to try to cram a walk around the head, or visit to the Spa area, and instead have a relaxing drink in the bar before preparing for dinner.

We were met by a young curt barmaid who asked, not in a warm, welcoming tone but in a accusatory manner if she could help us. We advised we would like a drink - but somehow it made us feel like we were imposing. Imposing we were too, as all tables were set for food and the only “available” seats were stools at the bar, facing inwards and ignoring the views out the window. I asked where we could sit, and she mumbled something that I couldn’t quite grasp, but took that we could sit where we liked. That we did, at one of the set tables, overlooking the water, and were left at least 10 minutes before our drinks orders were taken and the table cleared of cutlery, although the bar was practically empty and there were at least 4 if not 5 servers in view. All in all, I think we were there around 25 minutes before our drinks were served. Our own fault in ways once our order was taken, as we had ordered cocktails - but mine was certainly worth the wait - a Cliff House Signature Mandarin and Marmalade Mojito. A must for anyone visiting.

Slowly but surely the anticipation of staying at Cliff House which had been building in me over the previous few weeks was being eroded. Any hotel bar of this calibre we have visited previously would always at the least supply a napkin for holding the icy cold cocktail (not at Cliff House though), and more often than not, provide some nibbles too. Wasn't too surprised when leaving to spy some nibbles on the bar. Obviously the inconsiderate people like ourselves who imposed on their dining tables are not afforded these offerings! It would seem that the bar at Cliff House Hotel is somewhat of an inconvenience and the focus is more on food. We weren’t offered another drink albeit one was enough, but it would have been nice to have been asked.


Although our “Cliff Mammy” told us to make ourselves at home, there were very little facilities to do so. Comfortable seating areas in the hotel are at a minimum. The “Library” is sparsely furnished, and I didn’t see one comfortable, squishy sofa to curl up on with a good book from the well stocked shelves in the Library, or indeed a book from the equally well stocked bookcase in the bedroom should one wish to relax after a Cliff walk, spa treatments or a day of activities.

I was beginning to feel that the whole experience was all about the view. Luckily enough, The House Restaurant redeemed our stay and I cannot find enough superlatives to give our experience the justice it deserves. I will try though, but will review it in its rightful place on the Restaurant review section over the next day or two.

We were one of the first for breakfast the following morning, and our cooked to order breakfast set us up for the day - so much so, we couldn’t manage to eat much at Ballymaloe at all during the course of the day.

Speaking of morning, I was awake very early (5.00am 'ish), opened the window and was serenaded by a lone bird trying to awaken his fellow feathered friends. That, coupled with the soft lapping of water on the shorline below was a perfect sound of tranquillity as I watched the sun rise over the bay. I will share the beautiful vista by attaching one of the photos I captured to remember this peaceful, tranquil experience when I upload them from my camera.

Having stayed at beautiful accommodations with water views, and also at a number of Relais & Chateau establishments over the years, I feel that the Cliff House falls short. Luxury hotels should be just that. Yes, there were elements that exceeded our expectations, our welcome, our “Cliff Mammy” and the Restaurant in particular, but unfortunately the negatives are really the Achilles’ Heel at the Cliff House. The Bar really wants to be a Brasserie/Bistro but has the inconvenience of having to serve drinks. The lack of relaxing areas is evident throughout the hotel (or did we miss somewhere?).

Our overnight stay wasn’t cheap - €415 for Dinner plus B&B. Deducting the €190 for the 2 tasting menus, €225 for B&B certainly didn’t represent value for money in our case. Only for the cost incurred was, as mentioned at the top of review, split as birthday gift between the two of us, I would have been bitterly disappointed. We are visiting The Lake District in Cumbria, UK next month and staying at the infamous 2 Michelin Starred establishment in Cartmel for 2 nights with dinner x 2nights and B&B for a tad over €150 more than one night dinner B&B at The Cliff House.

Due to time constraints, we didn’t manage to visit the Spa or utilise the Hunter Wellies left for guests to take the Cliff Walk, a walk I was sorry not to take. However we have decided to return to the area in the near future and will take the walk then.

Shall we stay at Cliff House? No

Shall we return for dinner? Yes, Yes, Yes and both of us are looking forward to doing so.

Finally, back to the title and question of my review
“Remove the Warm Welcome, Restaurant and View - what have you got?”

Answer: A very average hotel experience at an over inflated price. Hubbie is worth far more than half of €415 price for the night (plus the additional charge for the wine flight & cocktails) .

The Cliff House for B&B is most definitely not.

Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Adriaan_Bartels_13, General Manager at Cliff House Hotel, responded to this review, May 8, 2013
Dear Little Pumpkin

Thank you for your very comprehensive review. We really appreciate your feedback but sorry to hear that you will only be returning to eat and not to stay.
On your return home you should have received a card offering you a complimentary upgrade on your next stay which would allow you to book a larger room for the same price as you paid for your last stay.
Since your stay we have actually extended out our bar area, half of which we have allocated to be pure lounge space. We are also putting in a new banquette seating area in the bare area for guests to sit and read books and relax in.
Please come and see on your next visit and hopefully this will fill in the missing link to your last stay plus you must do the Cliff Walk - it really is worth a return trip on its own.....followed perhaps by a relaxing time in our spa and pool area.

Yours sincerely
Adriaan Bartels
General Manager
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Merstone, Isle of Wight
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 6, 2013

Lovely Hotel with stunning views of the ocean. Pure luxury rooms, especially the en-suites. Extremely friendly staff who can't do enough to make your stay special. Bit pricey but you get what you pay for and can't wait to go to Ireland again and stay at this Hotel.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Adriaan_Bartels_13, General Manager at Cliff House Hotel, responded to this review, May 8, 2013
Dear Pauline C

Thank you for your lovely review. I hope we will have the pleasure of welcoming you back some day.

Kindest regards
Adriaan Bartels
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Cliff House Hotel

Address: Middle Road | Ardmore Bay, Ardmore, Ireland
Location: Ireland > Province of Munster > County Waterford > Ardmore
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Ardmore
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Cliff House Hotel 5*
Number of rooms: 39
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Cliff House Hotel.A Hotel For Seaside Luxury Regarded as one of the finest small luxury five-star hotels in Ireland, The Cliff House Hotel is a 39-room Irish seaside boutique hotel in the traditional fishing village of Ardmore. Our privately owned hotel also features an intimate Irish destination spa as well as the only Michelin-starred restaurant in Ireland outside Dublin. The building seems to defy gravity, clinging to a cliff on the south side of Ardmore Bay where there has long been a fishing village. From sun-drenched terraces and private balconies it is possible to see Ardmore’s golden sands, lobster pots and dolphins that play out on the water. All our luxury rooms and suites are sea facing while many are interconnected to provide family-friendly configurations. Our intimate destination spa, The Well, is a key attraction. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Cliff Hotel Ardmore
Cliff House Hotel Ardmore, Ireland - County Waterford

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