Imagine an old-world seaside hotel, in an elevated position, that is just 40 minutes from Cork,with the warmest welcome and the best breakfast? East Cork is beautiful and remains unspoilt to a degree by the trendy “instafam” to date. I packed my trusty overnight bag and headed to the Bayview at Ballycotton late last year for a winter sojourn. Loved by generations, the Bayview stands in a prime position on the charming bay of Ballycotton with beautiful views of the lighthouse. Inside, it has attractive, homely bedrooms, a cosy bar, a restaurant with views and on each floor a sitting room where you can sit and read and enjoy the view. There is a balcony on each of these floors which is perfect for a photograph or the insta moment of pensively looking out over the sea. The interior of the four-star hotel is still charmingly intact with wood and carpet and the welcome is absolutely second to none. This hotel is utterly romantic but can be completely perfect for a solo soul-searching break also.
It isn’t sterile or corporate and would be perfect for a small wedding. They do cater for weddings up to guests where you can have the hotel to yourself and your guests for the day and night of your stay. The wooden staircase makes an amazing backdrop for a photo, but the outdoors is where the true beauty is, and unobscured view of the sea is quite frankly breath taking.
Overlooking romantic Ballycotton Bay, this scintillating hotel blurs the boundaries between inside and out, with each room having a sea view, a rarity these days. The encircling view is enthralling. A pebble’s skim from the sea, this coastal hotel means you can doze at night listening to the swoosh of the waves and wake to watch the boats and early morning mist.
Rooms are delightful, with traditional mahogany bed heads, pretty wardrobes and snow-white pillows and bed linen. it’s more boutique luxury hotel than large corporate seaside property. It brims over with charm: all the rooms have large windows which allow perfect light and air. The bathrooms have fluffy towels and bouncy bathrobes. A flat screen TV and plenty of sockets meant that it was the ideal place to get ready too. We enjoyed a bottle of sparkling Rose while we got ready. For the glamour gurus out there, there is lots of light and a dresser to do your make up. We lay on the beds with facemasks and listening to the sheer beauty of our surroundings. There is WiFi too if you enjoy a little podcast or music for your downtime.
It is a family friendly hotel and the sitting room on each room means that if your children are prone to cabin fever you have somewhere to bring them rather that the bar which to a parent I would imagine is worth a lot.
Ballycotton itself is the most charming place on earth. Stunning views, friendly locals and lively bars make for a great stay. You can do walking tours of the area where you will find out all about the lighthouse and the history of the locality. Ballycotton Sea Adventures run boat trips and charters around Ballycotton Bay and the surrounding magnificent coastline. From exhilarating fun rides around Ballycotton Island, to a guided tour of the majestic Ballycotton lighthouse. The trips take about 90 minutes, and you can charter a boat too if you wanted to see somewhere specific.
Nearby you have Shanagarry and Garryvoe, two small villages which are home the sister Hotel the Garryvoe and the famous Ballymaloe house. I will write a whole other piece of the delights of Ballycotton, but for now just wanted to give you a taste of what there is to do if you are outdoorsy.
Dining at the Bayview
The restaurant is just right for smart casual dining, with simple but effective menus and excellent breakfasts. On the night I stayed I had a sublime steak and some incredible wine. Breads are all made in house and are the perfect to whet your appetite for the courses ahead. We didn’t opt for a starter having overindulged slightly at lunch and were keen to try the desserts. There was a fantastic variety of seafood and fish on offer, but not being the biggest fan of seafood, I ordered the steak. It came with homemade chips, not twice cooked or anything else, just crispy hot fries. Our server recommended a beautiful wine to accompany and my companion enjoyed a soft drink. There was a party of around ten or twelve women, not residents having a meal and celebration and they added some superb atmosphere to the night. I would imagine the hotel is quite popular with locals.
Breakfast was a delight, with a superb variety of fruits and cereals as well as pastries. The cooked breakfast was cooked to order and not a buffet something which on a Sunday Morning after a few glasses of wine I devoured. My companion ordered scrambled eggs with chorizo, something so simple but delicious, nonetheless. Every day should start like this, with freshly prepared favourites, made with love and local ingredients. The coffee was freshly brewed and the orange juice refreshing and plentiful. I didn’t see one other patron that didn’t look like they weren’t enjoying their stay and first meal of the day. The feel in the hotel is so homely that it would be impossible to not enjoy your time there.
There is a terrace that you can enjoy a coffee on that is immersed in the garden below. You can meander down to a rocky cove from there should you wish, I stayed firmly on the terrace with a coffee admiring the views.
The staff were undoubtably the nicest team I have ever encountered in a hotel here or abroad. I chatted the following day with the chef, Ciaran Scully we talked about food in general and his visions for the menu at the Bayview. From a personal perspective I have a dislike for fuss and noveau trendy food and I am glad I found a beautiful hotel, in which I could indulge in dinner. There is something on the menu for everyone. A lust for local, the food is just perfectly prepared and presented.
If I win the lotto or Euro millions I would happily stay here for a few months and write a book. It is one of my favourite places in the world. I plan to visit again as soon as they reopen in March for St Patricks Weekend.