Deciding which of the seven seasons to visit the remote Fogo Island Inn, located on the small Fogo Island off Newfoundland’s rugged northern coast, may be the most difficult choice you make when visiting the world renowned boutique hotel.
You read that right: the Inn observes their stark landscape in seven seasons instead of the typical four. Gwyneth Paltrow, for instance, chose to visit the Inn during the balmy summer months, when the island buzzes with swimmers, wedding goers, hikers, and music festival attendees, whereas Justin Trudeau spent one of his Easter holidays in the dramatic pack ice season and David Letterman, in conversation with Barack Obama, told the world he visited in spring.
I visited during the berry season, when the island was plump with cloud and partridge berries, though I do dream of returning to the hotel in the spring, like Letterman, when hundreds of icebergs pushed by the Labrador current parade lazily by the Inn. I daydream of watching the white giants float by through the floor-to-ceiling windows of the cozy, whimsical-quilted rooms.
At the Fogo Island Inn, you don’t have to upgrade for the best view—even the entry level rooms feature sweeping views of the Labrador Sea (where the Titanic rots some hundreds of miles away at the frigid bottom) and depending on the time of year, you may see of circuses of Atlantic puffins flapping by. Bathrooms are white with pops of seafoam and robin’s-egg blue and the showers feature little regional poems that skew tongue in cheek: “the Tickle is long and not very wide.”
With 29 rooms and one restaurant (all meals are included in booking and feature an organic, seasonal menu) the Inn is an incredibly intimate hotel—it isn’t uncommon to make new friends while reading in the library by the warm fireplace, perusing the art gallery, enjoying films in the cinema room, or upon check in when the hotel’s two dogs, Make and Break—two very fluffy Newfoundlands—snuggle on the lobby floor in the late afternoon.
Yet it is just as much a place for solitude and escape as it is for socializing. The roof of the hotel hosts wood-fired saunas and two jacuzzis, perfect for keeping warm in the chilly north Atlantic gusts while the nearby trails and shorelines “at the end of the world” allow you the opportunity to watch the tides change and the waves slam into the pink-hued rocks of the coast.
One of the most popular day time activities for guests is the island’s architectural scavenger hunt, which takes them on short hikes to four stunning art studios where artists on three month grants come to live in the local communities, work, and give presentations on their creations – you’ve probably already seen these gems decorating your favorite minimalist Instagram feeds.
Since its opening in 2013, this hot spot has become an icon of Canadian hospitality, winning a plethora of awards and garnering attention not only for its modern, stilted design, but for its innovative social enterprise and dedication to reinvesting in the community of Fogo Island through a charity called Shorefast. This unique getaway is imbued with the soul and spirit of the island community around it, and they make sure to give back.
So the question remains: which season will do it for you? Late fall, winter, ice pack, spring, trap berth, summer, or berry?
Book your stay at the Fogo Island Inn here. And if you’re going to go to the ends of the earth to stay there, be sure to explore the rest of Newfoundland and Labrador from the hip capital of St. John’s to the fjords of UNESCO World Heritage site, Gros Morne National Park.