The draw of Ardnavaha Poolside Cottages starts with its location in the remoteness of West Cork. After winding down a good old-fashioned country road to get there, it is completely secluded once you go through the electric gates. And as we meandered through the gravel we spotted a rather impressive tennis court, before being greeted by Gerard, the wonderful Airbnb host who brought us to our home away from home, Cottage 1.
As we made our way to the courtyard we walked through a stoned archway and was immediately greeted by the statement piece of Ardnavaha, the stunning blue outdoor swimming pool. It was surreal to see an outdoor swimming pool in Ireland, and because it was one of the hottest days in Ireland that particular day, it felt like a chateau in France or Italy.
The pool is surrounded by a group of stone cottages along with the rear of a grand country house with huge glass windows. As someone who is green-fingered, I was really impressed with the display of window boxes and flowers throughout the courtyard that added a pop of vibrant colour to distract from the stone throughout the courtyard.
Our cottage felt like the set of a movie – giving me major vibes from the Hollywood hit The Holiday. As you step inside, it’s airy, bright and open-planned, with the kitchen, dining area and front room all as one. It was smartly renovated, with a contemporary and modern design, yet still had that balance of home - I’m sure Dermot Bannon would give it the seal of approval.
The colour palette throughout is neutral with a pop of colour from Laura Ashley-style armchairs and couches. As for the bedroom, it was beautiful, again featuring neutral colour tones with some lovely statement pieces on show including a dressing table which gave it that French boudoir feel. A perfect getaway for couples, the luxury bedroom has gorgeous views over the courtyard and the heated swimming pool.
The grounds are just as impressive, with a horizon of green that can be explored, a nearby lake and a wooded valley. When we began to explore the grounds, we admired the back of the main house towards the courtyard - the grandiosity is breath-taking. The front garden stretches to the lake with a picturesque bridge - my first thought was that it would be stunning for a wedding setting. It is complete perfection, one of the country's most hidden gems.
Because the cottage has a fully equipped kitchen, we decided to cook that night. Then completely unplanned but rather lovely, we had a candlelit dinner with our wonderful Airbnb hosts, Gerard and Anne. The rest of the guests joined in for drinks too by the pool - It really was lovely and something you'd rarely experience staying in a hotel.
One place our host Gerard told us to visit was The Fish Basket in Long Strand. Now, having grown up in Cork, honestly, I had often heard of The Fish Basket - it was time to put that right. Even now, I’m still raving about the crab sandwich and scampi. In fairness, it’s very hard to beat - They really know how to do good fish and chips. The food aside, the set-up of The Fish Basket is something special, overlooking Long Strand Beach.
Ardnavaha Poolside Cottages is a place I will visit time and time again - it’s atmospheric and wonderful but non-fussy. It includes free wireless internet, heating and an LCD TV is available too, along with a walk-in-wardrobe. A fully equipped kitchen together with a walk-in shower and bathtub are provided and the kitchen facilities include a fridge and freezer, a microwave, oven and an electric kettle.
Each of the cottages come with one bedroom, so unfortunately, it’s not family-friendly but perfect for couples or a girls' trip away. Not too far away is Inchydoney Beach which is incredible, so if you wanted to venture out I’d definitely recommend a spin there. Just don't fill up on fish and chips beforehand...
If you are interested in planning a trip to Ardnavaha Poolside Cottages, prices start from €150 a night for two people sharing. Contact Gerard on firstname.lastname@example.org to enquire about making a booking.