Hot List 2009

Cliff House Hotel, Ardmore, County Waterford 

Ardmore, County Waterford

Tel: 353 24 87 800

The finest attribute of this verdant, untamed bit of Ireland is indubitably the coast, and the reinvented Cliff House Hotel, a plinth of angular slate and glass hanging off a dramatic lip of Ardmore Bay, wisely sits back and lets it be the focal point. Each of the 39 rooms balances the colossal view with a deftly crafted coziness manifested in stand-alone bathtubs, linen and glass headboards by local artists, Paul Theroux and Dr. Seuss hardcovers on a shelf, swank tartan easy chairs, and a silver tea tray a phone call away. If the service in the bar can be a bit awkward, the Restaurant, with rising star Dutch chef Martijn Kajuiter at the helm, turns out dreamy interpretations of Irish dishes, like a ballotine of Clare Island salmon. In the morning, borrow a pair of Wellies from the hallway and go for an hour-long wander along the nearly deserted cliffs.
When to go: Summer, for the best chance of seeing the sun.
Which room to book: Balcony suites have the widest sea views and the overstuffed furniture from which to contemplate them.
Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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