Long before you arrive at the sparsely populated community of Joe Batt’s Arm on the north of Newfoundland’s remote Fogo Island, you’ll likely have a mental picture of what to expect from the Fogo Island Inn. Whether or not you could actually pinpoint the inn on a map, you may well have seen (and possibly even saved) images of its award-winning, modern architecture designed by Todd Saunders, who was born in nearby Gander. The steel-and-glass wonder is composed of two intersecting rectangular boxes, one of which rests on spindly stilts, precariously perched on an outcrop overlooking the North Atlantic. Surrounding it, rough lichen-covered stones abut the shifting seas.
The trek to Fogo Island typically requires multiple transfers and stops along the way, with most guests opting for an overnight stay in Halifax, where the Muir Hotel offers a standout reprieve. The empowering, reflective energy of the remote locale only comes into clearer focus once you land at the tiny but historic Gander airport. There, a Fogo Island community member is on-hand to collect guests for the hour-long car ride and the 45-minute ferry ride that follows, a journey that serves as an introduction to the cultural immersion that will define any stay at the inn. Conversation is struck up. Convivial history lessons are shared. Friendships are quickly forged.
Yet no dialogue, regardless of how informative, can prepare you for the first glimpse at the spectacular structure set against the dramatic topography in the distance. The drive concludes with a warm welcome from friendly staff members—and then wonder takes hold. There’s the tactile charm of a luxury property born from humble materials like repurposed wood and even fishing rope. There are unexpected angles that provide vistas that constantly shift throughout the island’s “seven seasons,” from the pack ice of early spring to the flavorful berry season of late fall. There are also thoughtful touches, like the daybreak baskets that await guests outside their door each morning, complete with freshly baked goods, coffee, juice, butter, and molasses.
A rural retreat off the northern coast of Newfoundland, Fogo Island Inn is a forward-thinking interpretation of local outport architecture. The 29-suite property is sleek and sophisticated, complemented by a fine dining menu. While preserving the island’s longstanding culture of fishermen, boat builders, and local artists, the inn adds modern touches, including rooftop hot tubs, a cinema, a contemporary art gallery, and more.
Amenities: Restaurant, bar, hot tubs, gym, saunas, cinema, art gallery, library, laundry, free Wi-Fi
Address: 210 Main Street, Joe Batt’s Arm, A0G 2X0 Canada