Canada’s eastern seaboard is spoiled with culture. The region keeps a lower profile than Alberta or Ontario, to be sure, but that’s more indicative of humility than lack of beauty. And, when Atlantic Canada decides on a jaunt to the pop-culture zeitgeist, its grounded charm is sure to tag along; find it in the cottage-core classic Anne of Green Gables, Broadway’s feel-good Come From Away, or Maud Lewis’ folksy, optimism-filled paintings. To be fair, Atlantic Canada’s casual kindness could be a mere product of nature. The landscape — jagged cliffs on Cape Breton’s Highlands, burnt orange beaches of Prince Edward Island, star-dappled skies above Kejimkujik National Park — is euphoric. Thanks to a post-pandemic travel boom, hospitality has taken off on the eastern shore. But don’t just take our word for it: curl up in spa-side cottage on Prince Edward Island, or brave the Newfoundland winds from a historic lighthouse — these Atlantic getaways capture the salt-air spirit like nowhere else.
The Owner’s House at Evangeline Inn (Grand Pré, Nova Scotia)
Looking to escape his high-pressure lifestyle, Avram Spatz — at the time, a Toronto-based lawyer — travelled home to Nova Scotia in the fall of 2021. Having stayed at the Evangeline as a child, Spatz drove through the Annapolis Valley to visit the hotel. Spartz’s nostalgia, coupled with an antsy, late-pandemic energy, led him to purchase and renovate the Evangeline. Less than a year later, visitors strolled through the doors to find the property restored and polished to perfection. With amenities like an infrared sauna and fire pit, guests can take advantage of the rural bliss year round.
The real highlight of the five-acre property, though, is the Owner’s House — a stunning, private five-bedroom, three-bathroom affair complete with its own outdoor terrace. Inverting the muted palette of the Inn, the Owner’s House is decidedly bold; teaming up with local designers at Bricks + Birches, the Owner’s House sports vibrant patterns and chic designs. In the kitchen, you’ll find plum-coloured cabinets and a charming breakfast bar. Midcentury-modern furniture ties the house together; stretch out on the living room’s Bellini Camaleonda or spin a vinyl in the reading nook from the comfort of an Eames chair.
Muir Hotel (Halifax, Nova Scotia)
Though it’s a newcomer to the Halifax waterfront, the Muir Hotel is Nova Scotian to its core. The exterior, designed by celebrated local architects at MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple, blends modern design with timeless hospitality. Inside, the Muir tapped interior designers at Studio Munge to craft an earthy and elegant aesthetic. Rustic materials — think salt-and-pepper granite, sandstone, and white-oak flooring — capture the essence of relaxation, complemented by warm, backlit mirrors and large windows overlooking the harbour. Inside, guests can enjoy the plush comfort of a king-size bed, accented by a custom tartan blanket as a nod to Maritime heritage.
Amenities include the True Colours Gallery, featuring a rotating display of visual work; located in the Queen’s Marque District, the Muir is a stone’s throw from the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and the local Sales & Rental Gallery. When it’s time to explore, the Muir Hotel offers tailor-made experiences, including a trip to the much-fabled Sable Island — a truly one-of-a-kind opportunity. To round out the experience, stop by the premium Windward Wellness centre for a top-notch fitness equipment and spa treatments including an innovative cold plunge.
Mysa Nordic Spa & Resort (St. Peters Bay, Prince Edward Island)
Overlooking the quaint St. Peters Bay, Mysa Nordic Spa is a charming refuge on Prince Edward Island. Boasting multiple fully-renovated cottages, the spa is a private cocoon of comfort. Take in the salty breeze from your furnished private deck, or take a complimentary coffee down to the waterfront. For the cooler months, a rustic propane fireplace provides heat and charm. Plus, guests of the cottage can enjoy award-winning cuisine by chef Seth Shaw at the on-site restaurant.
Though you can book a cottage on its own, we’d highly recommend signing up for a spa pass. From dawn to dusk, Mysa Nordic Spa offers the ultimate pampering package: a Scandinavian-inspired ‘Thermal Experience.’ Composed of three phases — hot, cool, and rest — the treatment starts with a thermal bath and waterfall. Aside from the calming cascade of thermal water, the area is silent to maximize relaxation. Then, it’s time for the cool phase: a shocking, full-body plunge into cold water. To finish the experience, curl up in front of the crackling fireplace for some much-deserved rest.
Quirpon Lighthouse Inn (Quirpon Island, Newfoundland & Labrador)
No scene captures the East Coast spirit quite like a fog-covered lighthouse — the enchanting structures overlook vast oceanic rocks and lapping waves. Quirpon Lighthouse Inn (pronounced kar-poon), looks out over a deserted island just off the northern tip of Newfoundland. From late May to mid-June, icebergs float amidst the grey-blue waves; fittingly, the locale is known as Iceberg Alley. Meanwhile, whales swim and frolic through September.
As you may suspect — given the nature of being, well, a deserted island — the journey towards Quirpon Lighthouse Inn is an adventure of its own. Linkum Tours, a Newfoundland travel company, packages the excursion: guests board a boat by the ancient Viking site of L’Anse aux Meadows, crossing the shallow waters to reach Quirpon Island. For the especially-adventurous, there’s an option to disembark by Grandmother’s Cove for a 5.5-kilometre hike to reach the Inn. Ancient path winds through the woods, boasts stunning views of the ocean and opportunities to discover the island’s ruins. Upon arrival, guests can unwind in one of ten unique rooms at the base of the still-operating lighthouse. Enjoy homemade suppers with traditional ingredients, then venture towards the coast to take in the seascape.
Kingsbrae Arms (Saint Andrews, New Brunswick)
Before there was a Shangri-La or Ritz-Carlton, there was Kingsbrae Arms: Canada’s first five-star hotel. Gilded vases and antique candle holders abound, sparkling with late-Victorian charm. The historic hotel traces its roots back to 1897 — the salad days of the Canadian Pacific Railroad. A stop along the way, St. Andrews became a bustling resort town for wealthy Montreal travellers; the Newport to Montreal’s New York. Fashionable travellers built massive seaside escapes, many of which — like Kingsbrae Arms — still stand today. Restored in 1996, the premises host a library, lounge, outdoor patio, and (in true vintage fashion) a garden fire pit. Unwind and enjoy a piece of the Gilded Age.