When it comes to describing what they’re most proud of on their island and in their towns, Newfoundlanders have a flair all their own. Take St. John’s rainbow-painted “Jellybean Row,” or its world-class The Rooms museum and gallery. When the huge red-roofed museum went up next to the Basilica Cathedral of St. John the Baptist on the hill overlooking the downtown area in 2005, locals started referring to it fondly as “the box the church came in.”
In the same vein, taxi drivers and tour guides in St. John’s may tell you how the newly opened Alt Hotel St. John’s “went up like a stack of Lego bricks on the waterfront.” It’s an apt description — the structure was built from dozens of prefabricated room modules, with beds, desks, touchpad controls and all, stacked by crane and connected on the spot. That not only made for significantly less disruptive construction at the busy downtown corner of Water Street and Job’s Cove, it brought a new level of cool, colourful and affordable to the city’s hotel scene.
The result, which opened at the end of 2017, is a trendy, highly eco-sensitive 148-room hotel steps from a slew of boutiques, restaurants (including Raymond’s, one of the nation’s top dining experiences, next door), live Newfoundland music and the famed barscape of George Street. A few minutes on wheels will get you to the Atlantic views of Signal Hill, several wild and spectacular sections of the East Coast Trail, and the fishing-village neighbourhood of Quidi Vidi.