I've yet to visit Newfoundland, and now there are no more excuses ... with four boutique properties that have opened in St. John's in the past five years, there are plenty of posh places to stay.
As the oldest English-founded settlement in North America, St. John's is known as the City of Legends, and each summer it serves up an 11-day party called St. John's Time. It includes the George Street Festival, Royal St. John's Regatta, the Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival and the Buskers Festival. St. John's Time runs from July 31-August 10. Here are some of St. John's hotels:
- The Ryan Mansion dates from the early 20th century, and after a two-year restoration, the 5 Star Canada Select Queen Anne style property reopened in 2007. The six guest rooms all have fireplaces along with baths featuring heated marble floors, two-person Jacuzzi tubs, plasma TV’s in the bedroom and bath, Frette linens and toiletries by L’Occitane en Provence. The mansion has a connection to the Titanic. Built during the same time period, the mansion’s grand staircase is said to be carved by the same European craftsmen as that of the ocean liner which sank in the waters of Newfoundland in 1912. The Ryan Mansion is offering special dinners featuring the Titanic menu served on the ship’s fateful last evening, presented on finely-crafted British replicas of the Titanic china. Rates are $184 to $481.
- The newest addition to St. John’s hotel scene is The Peninsula, located at the foot of Signal Hill and an easy stroll to downtown. It features 11 rooms in 10 brownstones, along with 30 one-bedroom condos that will open later this summer. Designed in a sleek and contemporary style, the rooms feature queen-size beds dressed with Porthault linens, plasma TV and deep soaking tubs in some of the rooms. The room rate includes complimentary continental breakfast, free local and national newspapers, free local and long distance calls and high-speed Internet access. Rates are $108-$158.
- The Beach House is an intimate seaside getaway ten minutes from St. John’s. Most of the ten suites and three cottages offer sea-views and patios or sun decks. Amenities include flat screen TVs, DVDs and marble baths with rain showers. Rates are $118-$317.
- Blue On Water is located on Water Street, the oldest street in North America. With just seven rooms, guests receive service amidst the elegant contemporary décor. Amenities include high-speed Internet access, 400-thread count linens and CD and DVD players. Rates are $138-$167.
- Murray Premises Hotel is in an 1850's mercantile building overlooking the entrance to St. John's harbour. Amenities in the 28-room boutique hotel include plasma TVs, oversized Jacuzzi tubs, heated floors and complimentary parking. Rates are $138-$247.
- The Spa at the Monastery and Suites is a 5 Star Canada Select property with 25 rooms and two suites. Amenities include fireplaces, double Jacuzzis, king-size beds and high-speed Internet access. The on-site spa offers treatments ranging from Reiki and Ayurvedic massage to chemical peels and botox; soaking pools including one with warm sea water and an iceberg pool. Rates are $128-$496.
- The Franklin Hotel has ten sleek and expansive rooms in a historic building. Amenities include flat screen TV’s, bath with rain shower, high-speed Internet and a sun deck. Rates are $99-$198.