It’s been almost 1.5 year since we last had a long vacation, so I’m here to take you on our Newfoundland 15-night tour. This post is mainly about where we stayed, as I spent almost half our tour budget to make sure we had a sitting area in all the accommodations (all suites and cottages) so we didn’t have to work on the bed while the other was using the desk for meetings. Whether cruising or on land, I’m a strong believer to have a “home away from home” and not just a “bedroom” away from home to enhance my travelling experience. Due to COVID, we deliberately stayed away from B&B’s to avoid sharing a house with strangers with no masks on while eating breakfast.
To further lower the risk of contracting COVID during the pandemic, we decided to splurge on transport. with premium direct flights (only 7-12 passengers using the toilet in that section instead of over 100 in the economy section), flying out from Toronto to St. John’s, Newfoundland. Another reason of flying Premium was that I had over $1000 in my West Jet travel bank so I had to use the money before it expired soon. I also exchanged one of my 2 companion vouchers for 4 complimentary lounge passes since my Priority Pass membership does not cover the use of Plaza Premium Lounge in Toronto Pearson’s Terminal 3 anymore. I will talk about the details of the flights in a separate post.
Here is a summary of where we stayed on our 15-day trip:
Day 1 – St. John’s (midnight flight arrival) – Fairfield Inn by Marriott (Executive King Suite) – the only place with NO oceanview throughout our whole trip.
Days 2 & 3 – Port Rexton (Bonavista Peninsula near Skerwink Trail) – Fishers’ Loft Inn (Oceanview 1-bedroom ground floor suite)
Day 4 – Twillingate – Anchor Inn & Suites Annex (Oceanview 1-bedroonm suite)
Day 5 – Fogo Island – Finn House (Oceanview 1-bedroom cottage of a duplex)
Day 6 – Twillingate – Carriage Hill Cottage (Our favourite luxurious oceanfront 1-bedroom cottage)
Days 7 & 8 – Woody Point (South side of Gros Morne National Park) – The Rooms at Woody Point (Efficiency unit with separate sitting and dining areas in an oceanfront quadruplex)
Days 9 & 10 – Rocky Harbour (North side of Gros Morne National Park) – Crow’s Nest at Meeting Hill Cottages (Oceanfront 1-bedroom cottage in a 4-unit row house)
Days 11 & 15 – St. John’s – Courtyard by Marriott (Harbourfront 1-bedroom suite)
Here is the detailed description of each accommodation:
Day 1 – Fairfield Inn by Marriott, St. John’s (Sept 8, 2021)
A convenient & well-maintained little gem in St. John’s
I was very happy with the service provided by the hotel: from the email communication regarding current major road work in front of the hotel, to the complimentary upgrade from a regular King room to an Executive King Suite. Room number was provided to me in the afternoon of my arrival day on my Mobile Bonvoy app. Check in & check out at the hotel was super fast and easy.
Breakfast served by a waiter was just the normal fare with egg, sausages & potatoes. Muffins, boxed cereal, milk, juice and fruit were all self-served items. Tables were well-spaced to allow social distancing at the breakfast area on the main floor next to the reception.
Complimentary hotel parking was plentiful and the parking lot was well-lit. The hotel is about a 10-minute drive from St. John’s airport and there are lots of restaurants and shops around. Walmart Supercentre with a lot of other stores is only 5 minutes away. Trans Canada Highway is also a 5-minute drive so the location is very convenient. I highly recommend this hotel.
Day 2 & 3 – Fishers’ Loft Inn, Port Rexton (Sept 9 & 10, 2021)
A luxurious oceanview suite with some unexpected moments during Hurricane Larry
I booked this hotel mostly due to the raving reviews & its close proximity to the famous Skerwink Trail. Loved the well-appointed Ground Floor Oceanview Suite #5 that was in the building right beside the Lobby and the main dining room.
Check in was a breeze. There was a small parking lot opposite the reception that we could park our car then walked over to the opposite side of the road for check-in.
During check-in, we were given the map of Fishers’ Loft so it was very easy to get to the parking lot which was less than 100 meters from our suite.
The 1-bedroom suite was very spacious. Knowing that there were stairs going to the 2nd & 3rd floors and it was not as easy to bring our bags up, I specifically called and asked for a ground floor suite.
Unfortunately, we were there during Hurricane Larry and the window facing the ocean was leaking on the 2nd night of our stay. We had to put towels on the window to soak the water.
There was also a power outage at around 2 am on the day that we’re supposed to check out, but we brought an LED flashlight so it was handy. It was almost as bright as a regular lamp. We didn’t go to bed early as we were trying to change our return flight to a direct one that just got added to the airline schedule, so we spent over 4 hours trying to talk to an operator, otherwise we wouldn’t even have noticed the power outage in our sleep.
Fishers’ Loft also provided a flashlight in the TV cabinet but it was not as bright as our own so we didn’t use it. We had no water from 2-9 am on Sept 11 since there was no electricity to pump water from the well. Fishers’ Loft gave us a few bottled water for washing and brushing our teeth so it was a nice touch.
The restaurant offered superb dinner ($66 each without drinks) and breakfast ($16-20 each). I’m going to write about food in a separate post. I would highly recommend both the lodging and the restaurant, though the accommodation rate was the highest of our 15-night Newfoundland trip. Nonetheless, the well-appointed furnishing of the suite, the hotel location with its close proximity to Skerwink Trail and the amazing restaurant all made it worthwhile.
Day 4 – Anchor Annex, Twillingate (Sept 11, 2021)
We booked an Oceanview 1-bedroom suite and was housed in the Annex of the Anchor Inn up the hill.
There was a big open space with loungers overlooking the ocean,
From parking, we had to get our luggage to walk up one flight of stairs so this was a bit inconvenient for us.
The view was great and the complimentary continental breakfast at Hodge Premises opposite the inn was adequate.
Check in & check out were both fast, accurate and easy. Georgie’s Restaurant provided great food and we had dinner there after we came back to Twillingate from Fogo Island.
Day 5 – Finn House, Fogo Island (Sept 12, 2021)
This beautiful property, Finn House, located in Deep Bay (about 17 km from the Fogo Ferry) was perfect for our stay on Fogo Island.
The ocean view was absolutely spectacular!
The cottage was clean and beautifully decorated. It’s a pity that there was no microwave so we had to use the oven to warm up our food which was a bit time consuming. Yet the beautiful view with nice seating area on the patio made it all up.
Our host Theresa communicated well with directions to the location and photos of landmarks and parking.
The only inconvenient part was the steep gravel road from the parking to the cottage.
It’s impossible to wheel any suitcase or bag so we had to lift our luggage to the house.
Occasionally we could hear our neighbours next door from Aiden House but the noise level was quite minimal. I would totally recommend this place as driving to the main town Fogo was only 15 minutes. While driving in Newfoundland, there were road signs that we saw quite often and we thought they were rather unique and interesting!!
Day 6 – Carriage Hill Cottage, Twillingate (Sept 13, 2021)
This is by far our favourite lodging of our 15-night Newfoundland trip. If I could give this property a 6-star, I would definitely do it in a heartbeat!
As soon as I unlocked the deadbolt of the house using the keypad, the new furniture and superbly designed layout with upscale equipment totally blew me away.
The freestanding bath tub, the washer and dryer, plus the fully loaded kitchen with all sorts of condiments and breakfast needs were all fine touches added to make this cottage a little gem in Twillingate.
The patio with gorgeous view and lovely cushioned furniture, the outdoor fireplace, the BBQ and spacious parking all contributed to a wonderful stay.
To our host Marie, many congratulations on providing us with extremely clear instructions and location coordinates so we had no problems finding this place although Durrell Street was not listed on Google Map. However, we could see the yellow cottage behind 174 Main Street on the opposite side of the road, right by the ocean. I’ll highly recommend this cottage to those looking for a great stay in Twillingate.
Day 7 & 8 – The Rooms at Woody Point (Sept 14 & 15, 2021)
After 1 week in Eastern & Central Newfoundland, we finally arrived at the famous Gros Morne National Park in the western coast.
After the 2 pm Bonne Bay Boat Tour in Norris Point, we drove for another hour to reach the south side of Gros Morne National Park. The Rooms at Woody Point were cozy little cottages with gorgeous view of Bonne Bay from the patio.
The best thing about this cottage was that we could drive our car all the way up the steep hill and park right in front of this fully accessible cottage. There were only 2 of the 8 units that offered direct car access to the cabins. Other 6 units all had stairs from parking to the cabins.
Both the bathroom and the roll-in shower areas were big enough for a wheelchair/walker to get by.
A huge King bed welcomed us as soon as we opened the front door, with hooks for outdoor dirty overcoat behind the door.
To the right there was a folding rectangular table that could be opened up to a square table. A well-equipped kitchenette was next to the 2 huge comfy single sitters.
I especially liked their “breakfast box” for $10 per person, as it was not easy to find any breakfast place nearby. The box was delivered to us the afternoon before after we pre-ordered for the next morning. The host put the box in the fridge with clear instructions on how to heat up some of the hot breakfast items.
The well-designed blinds which could be pulled down from the top or pulled up from the bottom allowed more privacy and let in more day light even with the bottom part down.
There was a mattress under the bed which could be pulled out to accommodate an extra person in the sitting area, though we did not use it.
Internet could be very slow and spotty at times but we were still able to have Zoom meetings though with long wait time to log on.
The host Donna gave great recommendations for nearby restaurants for dinner. The Rooms also provided patio dining when the weather was warm enough. I would certainly recommend this place at Woody Point as it was a great location to access the Tablelands Trail and the Gros Morne Discovery Centre in Bonne Bay.
Day 9 & 10 – Crow’s Nest, Meeting Hill Cottages, Rocky Harbour (Sept 16 & 17, 2021)
This was another cozy and clean cabin that we stayed in the Gros Morne area (north side) in Rocky Harbour.
Check in location was at 140 Main Street and this cabin was further down the street at 170B. It was the 3rd unit of a 4-unit row house with parking right in front of the house.
Bottled water was offered to us as the town was undergoing some pipeline problems so it was safer not to use tap water for drinking, cooking and even brushing teeth. Everything was clean and well-equipped especially with the welcome goodies placed on the table.
The only problem we found was the limited sockets for plugging in our electronic devices. Either we had to use the ones in the kitchen, or we had to disconnect light fixtures in order to use the plugs. The one close to the front door was not working so we had to move the table to get close to a plug while charging our laptops and working at the same time.
To be honest, I found the blue/green colour not quite pleasing in my own opinion, I much prefer a more neutral colour like the bedroom.
Another reason to choose this unit instead of the one next door, also a one-bedroom “Cuddy Cabin”, was because we didn’t want anyone to walk in front of the window or peek into our cabin, since the long patio was shared by 3 units. Closing the blind all the time would defeat the purpose of having a gorgeous view of the beautiful ocean! The sunset view from the cabin was spectacular though it’s a little blocked by the hill.
We drove down the road to a huge public parking lot opposite the Oceanview Hotel for a more stunning, completely unblocked sunset view.
Day 11-15 – Courtyard by Marriott, St. John’s (Sept 18-23, 2021)
This check in was seamless at the Courtyard St. John’s. Front desk staff Robinson was extremely helpful and friendly. As a Bonvoy gold member I was offered a free upgrade from a Junior Suite to a 1-bedroom harbourfront suite for our 5-night stay in St. John’s. Though it was on the ground floor, the room was a little raised from street level so passers-by could not directly see the inside of the room. We thoroughly enjoyed the extra space and loved the room location which was super close to the little complimentary parking lot on Water Street. There was a much bigger complimentary parking lot for hotel guests opposite the Courtyard on Duckworth Street. For us, the one on Water Street was convenient as we didn’t even need to use the elevator to take our luggage to the suite, which was the 1st room from parking.
The location of the Courtyard made it able for us to walk to many nice restaurants (Peaceful Loft, Merchant Tavern, Oliver’s, Adelaide Oyster House, etc.) on Water Street, Duckworth Street and George Street. It was close to Jellybean Row and Terry Fox Monument. Signal Hill & Quidi Vidi Brewery were just a few minutes drive. Since the hotel is situated on a slope, the lobby of our hotel block is on the 4th floor, which is the ground floor of the Signal Hill block with the main entrance on Duckworth Street.
During COVID, daily housekeeping was not offered at the hotel but we could request fresh towels, Kleenex and big garbage bags for our stay. Again, Robinson at the Front Desk had everything prepared in a plastic bag and handed it to us after our 1-hour dinner at Peaceful Loft, a 5-minute walk to the #1 restaurant in St. John’s. I would strongly recommend you make dinner reservations for other restaurants as many were closed on Monday & Tuesday when we were there. That’s another reason we stayed for so many days in St. John’s, as we knew many restaurants and sites were not open on Mondays & Tuesdays after Labour Day. Take into consideration when planning for your off-season trip to Newfoundland.
I highly recommend staying at Courtyard by Marriott St. John’s.