In some ways, the Cliff House Hotel is just a resting place for people looking to eat in its highly regarded Michelin-starred restaurant, but the hotel’s loft-style bedrooms are also among the most modern and stylish anywhere in this country. (Plus each room has a terrace or veranda, and even the rain-forest showers have sea views.) The House Restaurant, though, is a highlight, and it's unusual in Ireland because Dutch chef Martijn Kajuiter prepares food that is highly wrought, inventive, and beautifully plated—but also deliciously unpretentious. That sense of unfussiness might have something to do with the dining room itself, which is neither too stark nor too clubby, and edged by a glass wall overlooking the calm blue waters of the Celtic Sea. The hotel overlooks Ardmore Bay, 140 miles southeast of Dublin, and its spa’s impressive yoga program, indoor infinity pool, stone outdoor baths and Jacuzzi can help guests counterbalance any evening’s indulgences.
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The hotel is a five-minute walk from the center of Ardmore, a 400-person fishing village replete with stone buildings and ruins. Walkers the world over come for the bracing stroll along its dramatic cliffs. It’s a three-hour drive from Dublin.
Need to Know
Rooms: 39 rooms, 12 suites. From $400. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: House Restaurant is the obvious draw, but the bar menu is also impressive, especially in its use of foraged mushrooms—which are served with french fries, placed atop brioche, and paired with straight-from-the-sea monkfish. Spa and gym details: The Well spa does everything, but there’s something special about soaking with minerals and Irish seaweed in alfresco stone baths. The small gym is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Check the website for yoga retreats and events.
Who’s it for: Foodies who crave calm, and those who want to drown out worries with the sounds and sights of the sea. Our favorite rooms: Every room has views, but it’s particularly enjoyable to sip a nightcap in the comfortable chairs set in Room 20’s sea-view bay windows. Stay hungry: Say no to a big lunch before dinner at the restaurant; the tasting menu’s portions are much more substantial than your usual multi-course nibbles.