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muir hotel captain suite the watch

Suddenly Chic, Halifax Sets Sail to Higher Status with the Muir at the Helm

muir hotel captain suite the watch

Dubbed The Watch, the living room at the Muir Hotel’s most prestigious suite overlooks the harbour and includes a number of exclusive features, including a private elevator and ultra-premium wine options. (Photo courtesy of the Muir Hotel)

Of course the Muir Hotel has its own schooner.

That thought flicked through my head when I learned of the yacht experience — and that I was going on it.

The schooner, which unsurprisingly has a resemblance to the Bluenose, moves fast in the Halifax Harbour, reaching 8 knots when the sails lift, revealing the luxury hotel’s logo as the fabric unfurls to appear like a beacon for those who seek out glam kinds of exhilaration.

The cruise connects travellers to two defining features of the Nova Scotia capital — the natural harbour that made Halifax a significant port for goods and for people (it is home to the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, an impactful facility that honours the nation’s history of newcomers), and, secondly, the new manmade wonder that is the city’s gleaming waterfront.


Cameron Shaw, a 2014 Canadian sailing champion in the under-16 division, guides the Muir Hotel’s yacht through Halifax Harbour. (Adrian Brijbassi photo for Vacay.ca)

Dubbed the Queen’s Marque district, the waterfront is about two kilometres (1.25 miles) along the harbour, featuring 10,000 square feet of cafes and restaurants including a container village of takeout eateries, kid-friendly distractions like a hopscotch board and a maze, boutique shops and tourism-related kiosks, and art everywhere.

At the heart of it is the Muir. There’s nothing not to admire in this 109-room hotel — and what you admire most is the dedication to a vision imagined by the local ownership group. Its realization of a harbour district catapults the Nova Scotia capital’s stature as a global destination. Despite all of its luxury (it owns $7 million of artwork and the largest private suite east of Montreal), the Muir is a neighbourhood experience. It includes 144 residences attached to the hotel, as well as corporate spaces, and it shares ownership with eight Queen’s Marque restaurants, one of which is the on-site Drift, whose executive chef is Toronto’s acclaimed Anthony Walsh. [Read More: Chefs Profile on Anthony Walsh]


Gabriel Brijbassi, 5, and his mother, DeNon Brijbassi, enjoy sailing the Muir Hotel racing-class schooner, an amenity of the luxury property. (Adrian Brijbassi photo for Vacay.ca)

A two-year-old property that has earned a place among the Marriott Autograph Collection, the Muir, along with the entire Queen’s Marque, has completely transformed the Halifax experience. The area has done for the city what the Distillery District did for Toronto and the new Ice District promises for Edmonton — a complete renewal and reimagining of a space that becomes an instant magnet for locals and travellers, resulting in a shift in both how people live and play, and how the city both identifies itself and is perceived.

Halifax is suddenly chic. The restaurants are elegant and serve modern cuisine alongside dependable lobster rolls and donairs. You can choose Tim Horton’s or walk a few steps to Grounded Coffee for an artisanal brew. Find an old-fashioned ice cream or lose yourself in the stunning Peace By Chocolate Boutique that harkens you with some of the best truffles and artisanal bars in the world, and keeps you enthralled with its heart and history. Rather than the raucousness of Argyle Street, the nightlife hot spot long regarded as the place to be in Halifax, you now have the option to stroll into a quiet wine bar or catch street performers on the boardwalk or observe the public art around the Muir or inside it at the hotel’s own art gallery.


The granite steps outside of the Muir Hotel are one of the hallmarks of the Queen’s Marque district. (Adrian Brijbassi photo for Vacay.ca)

Of course, guests can also soothe themselves in the Muir, which underscores its nautical theme with elements such as a shiplap ceiling, earthy tones that resemble the sky on chilly days at sea, and artistic touches like porthole-style windows that add to the motif.

A eucalyptus sauna and halotherapy salt room  are among the amenities, so is an 8,000-square-foot gym. The hotel often offers private fitness classes that are complimentary for guests.

A third-floor speakeasy called BKS (Best-Kept Secret) is reserved for guests and occupants of the residential units. It is a cocktail lounge with a heated patio that overlooks the harbour and the increasing amount of bustling activity on the boardwalk.

You can sit there before or after your yacht cruise, thinking the east coast of Canada — famed for its small-town charms and humble appearances — has delivered something new and needed: High class and the exceptionalism that comes with it.



The Muir Hotel’s logo graces the Halifax Harbour as the hotel’s yacht sails through the waters of the Nova Scotia capital. (Adrian Brijbassi photo for Vacay.ca)

Location: 1709 Lower Water Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia (see map below)
Room Rates: Nightly rates vary depending on the season and the activities in the city. A recent search for a weekend night in August showed a rate of $686 per night. Visit the Muir’s website for details.
More Coverage: “The Muir Makes Waves on the Halifax Waterfront” by Claudia Laroye

Ease Your Lift Off at ALT Hotel Halifax


The ALT Hotel Halifax connects to the city’s Stanfield International Airport through a tunnel, making it a convenient location for travellers. (Adrian Brijbassi photo for Vacay.ca)

As Halifax beckons more travellers, its airport becomes a more active hub. That’s why the ALT Hotel’s Stanfield International Airport location is so attractive. Attached by a covered glass tunnel to the airport’s terminal, the ALT is an exceptionally smart and accommodating property — and affordable.

A contemporary lounge area is suited for business travellers while family-friendly features include a full-service restaurant that also has grab-and-go options, which are ideal for passengers on the move. The restaurant’s open-concept look is appealing with booths and high-top seats congregating around the bar and kitchen.

Several rooms have windows facing the runway for thrilling views of takeoffs and landings. As with many airport hotels, there are luggage carts at the front desk to help ease your walk to the gate for your flight.

The ALT Halifax is comfort and convenience for those guests who can be weary or time-poor from travel. As its name suggests, it’s a quality alternative that ticks all the necessary boxes for its niche.


Location: 40 Silver Dart Drive, Goffs, Nova Scotia. It’s a 25-minute drive from downtown Halifax, and a one-way taxi/Uber ride will cost about $50.
Room Rates: Prices vary depending on the season. A recent search on the property’s search engine for a weekend night in August, returned a rate of $319. Visit the ALT’s website for details.

Note: Vacay.ca Managing Editor Adrian Brijbassi was hosted by the Muir Hotel and received a media rate from the ALT Hotel Halifax. Neither property reviewed this article before it was published.

Adrian is the editor of Vacay.ca and VacayNetwork.com. He also edited "Inspired Cooking", a nutrition-focused cookbook featuring 20 of Canada's leading chefs and in support of the cancer-fighting charity, InspireHealth. "Inspired Cooking" was created in honour of Adrian's late wife and Vacay.ca co-founder, Julia Pelish, who passed away of brain cancer in 2016. Adrian has won numerous awards for his travel writing, travel photography, and fiction, and has visited more than 55 countries. He is a former editor at the Toronto Star and New York Newsday, and was the social media and advocacy manager for Destination Canada. His articles have frequently appeared in the Huffington Post, Globe & Mail, and other major publications. He has appeared on national and local broadcasts, talking about travel, sports, creative writing and journalism. In 2019, he launched Trippzy, a travel-trivia app developed to educate consumers about destinations around the world.