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What if I told you that a jaw-dropping, world-class hotel exists in Newfoundland – and you don’t have to venture to Fogo Island to find it? That there’s a luxury boutique hotel worthy of five stars right smack-dab in St. John’s?

The name doesn’t quite roll off the tongue: The Luxus, meaning luxury in Latin, might be a moniker better suited for a Las Vegas club. But don’t let that sway you – this place is luxury, all right.

Every room has a panoramic view of the city's harbour. (Chris Crockwell photography)

Location, location

Did I mention every room has a panoramic view of the harbour? With the ocean across the street, it’s tempting to stay in bed and watch the ships come in. But a few steps away, the city’s swankiest restaurant awaits – Raymond’s will treat you right, but make reservations early. The city’s famous “jellybean row” of colourful houses is right behind the hotel, stunning Signal Hill is viewable from the executive suites and puffin-watching tours – just try not to squeal! – depart down the street.

Each of the hotel's six suites offers serenity. (Chris Crockwell photography)


The hotel is small – only six suites, but each one offers serenity: Polished walnut walls, soaring ceilings, heavy wooden doors, a walk-in closet the size of my bathroom. The king bed is so plush I needed to be physically removed every morning. As for the decor, the living room and bedroom feel like the most beautiful I’ve ever been in, classy without feeling stuffy or dated. No two suites share the same wall, so you’ll never hear your neighbour. The mix of classic and modern (a cool, geometric coffee table beside a chair upholstered in gold fabric), natural and high tech (rustic wooden sink basins are steps away from a 70-inch HD TV) makes for a very special, memorable stay. Despite all the effort that went into every single detail, it all feels effortlessly cool.

The bathroom's Japanese toilet presents something of a learning curve. (Chris Crockwell photography)

If I could change one thing

For the first 12 hours of my stay, I would’ve easily said the Japanese toilet. Its remote control, surprisingly heated seat and directional, pulsating bidet was a lot to handle for a usually mundane activity. My first visit ended with water covering all the walls – and screaming. Lots of screaming. But after I got the hang of it, I have to say, it was a treat.

If I’m being picky, the one thing I would change is the hotel’s food – the hotel’s kitchen wasn’t ready yet during our stay and the 24-hour “breakfast bar” that the Luxus touts on its website is really just yogurt, cereal and coffee. Not quite the Fogo’s breakfast-in-bed service – but I’m told offerings will be improved soon.

A glass wall dividing the tub area from the bedroom means you're always in view of the large windows. (Chris Crockwell photography)

Best amenity

Back to the bathroom: It may sound silly to choose glass as the best thing with so many options – but it’s the glass wall that’s in the bathroom, dividing the sink-and-tub area from the bed-and-TV area. You never lose sight of the ocean as you’re brushing your teeth or soaking in the beautiful tub.

Fair warning: There’s a hotel just beginning construction across the street that will affect this amazing, currently unencumbered view quite significantly. So hurry.

The hotel's bar offers high-end cocktails. (Chris Crockwell photography)

Eat in or eat out

Definitely eat out – at the aforementioned Raymond’s, if fancy food is your jam. But before you go out, drink in. The cocktails offered at the Luxus’s swank lounge (which doubles as the hotel’s reception area) put any big-city bartender to shame. Have the smoked-tequila old-fashioned upon arrival, watch the ships come sailing in and forget about going anywhere else.

The Luxus Boutique Hotel, 128 Water St., St. John’s,; six suites starting at $379.

The writer was a guest of the hotel.