With stunning views of Lambay Island, Howth Head, Malahide estuary and the Dublin and Wicklow Mountains, you’d never guess that this hotel right on the Irish Sea, owned and managed by the Slattery family (and a sister hotel of The Station House Hotel in County Meath), is just 12km from Dublin Airport or a 20-minute drive from Dublin city.
Located so close to the airport and just a short, easy drive off the M1 motorway, it’s a good choice for business meetings and conferences. And, given its scenic seaside location, it’s not surprising that it’s a popular wedding venue.
The hotel is a good base for golfers, with four courses within 1km of the hotel. There’s also 8km of coastal walking routes that start from the hotel if you want to enjoy a walk on the beach or along the dunes. Or if you’d rather do nothing at all, the Bliss Beauty Room offers spa treatments to help you unwind.
A range of rooms is offered, from standard and deluxe to executive rooms, and families are catered for too. Although by no means deluxe (and perhaps showing a little wear and tear in places), accommodation is comfortable, with all the expected modern facilities, including free wifi. Be sure to request a room with a sea view when you book.
Dining options include the excellent fine dining Samphire restaurant (see below) or the more casual Tower Bar & Bistro. There’s an outdoor terrace to enjoy the seaside setting in good weather and there’s even a small shop selling ice cream for people who have come down for a day out at the beach.
An excellent base for an overnight stay before flying out of the airport (a shuttle bus is available), a weekend break, a golfing holiday or to explore the coastline and attractions of north Dublin.
Rooms 35. B&B from €30pps (suites from €100). Open all year. Tower Bistro, food daily 8am-9pm.
Samphire @ The Waterside
Named after the samphire that grows on the seashore right on the restaurant’s doorstep, many guests travel specially to sample Head Chef Tom Walsh’s cooking, which he describes as ‘classical French cuisine with a modern Irish twist’.
The room is unexceptional and it’s a shame there aren’t more windows to showcase the sea views – be sure to request a window seat when you book if you want to take full advantage of the seashore setting - but what you see on your plate should make up for anything you’re missing outside.
Located close to North County Dublin’s fishing ports and market gardens, local produce stars, so the menus are seasonal and ingredients spanking fresh. Assured cooking lets them shine on the plate in inventive dishes, like black pudding beignets, a shallot and rosemary rosti or truffled peas. Beautiful baby vegetables, full of flavour, are another lovely feature in many dishes.
An amuse bouche - crab with a creamy lemon posset perhaps - is a delightful surprise and a taste of what’s to come. Complimentary loaves of home-baked bread – one brown, one walnut – come with plenty of salted butter and a choice of tapenades.
Sophisticated starters range from chicken liver parfait, carpaccio of beef or quail salad to crab ravioli, house-marinated salmon gravadlax or half a dozen oysters served with squid ink noodles.
Not surprisingly, seafood features heavily on the main menu, though it’s balanced by plenty of other interesting options, like duck, guinea fowl, Kettyle lamb, Tipperary pork and, of course, Irish beef.
Food arrives in time honoured fashion under cloches, adding a sense of drama and occasion as they’re whisked away. For dessert, the caramel selection is a real show stopper that will leave you swooning.
The pace here is very leisurely, so settle in for a long, relaxing evening to enjoy the excellent food and the sea views. Service is friendly and knowledgeable and staff are happy to help you choose the right wine to match your meal from the small but carefully selected list.
The lunch and early bird menus are especially good value, but so is the regular dinner menu. At €29.95 for three courses, you’d be hard pressed to find food of this quality at better prices.
An excellent choice for a special occasion or no occasion at all, offering outstanding food and value.