“What time is checkout?”
“We’re in no rush tomorrow, right? “
We’ve been at The Algonquin Resort a mere 30 minutes, and Drew is making plans to stay. The property certainly makes an impression. Driving in, my breath caught in my throat at first glance of this Victorian-style estate in St. Andrews by the Sea. On the way to check in, we stroll past a terrace full of couples of all ages lounging and sipping icy martinis in the hot July sun.
The resort first opened in 1889. After more than a century of hosting everyone from families to royals to heads of state, The Algonquin closed briefly in 2011 to undergo a 30 million dollar renovation.
The Algonquin gets it right, right down to the little details. The rich history of the space blends seamlessly with modern bedding, large sleek bathrooms and little extra touches like this telescope perfectly placed for star gazing at night.
Once checked in, we head out to explore the property. There are two large main buildings. The first houses the grand ballrooms, guest rooms, two restaurants, a rooftop garden, and a stately games room with hand carved versions of board game favourites like Scrabble.
The second building is connected by a covered pedway. It has additional guest rooms, a pool, a 24-hour gym, and this little beauty, one of the new features added during the renovation.
There is a third, smaller building across from the main that serves as more conference or wedding space, and a second pool outside. There are two fire pits on the property as well, perfect for making s’mores.
Back in our room, we retreat to the deck. Two birds make wide loops through the air from turret to turret. I walk the distance of the deck to follow their flight. And it is a walk! The decks are the largest I’ve seen at a hotel, including every resort I’ve visited. There is a full table with four chairs on one side of the double French doors, and on the other a large padded lounge chair.
That’s where I decide to spend the bulk of my time, relaxing, writing, and watching the birds pass above me and the people pass below. I don’t want to get out of the lounge chair but it’s almost 8 and I do want to eat. We head downstairs to Braxton’s, one of two on-site restaurants.
Drew and I have a notoriously difficult time ordering at restaurants, especially when the menu looks as good as it does at Braxton’s. Drew decides on the evening special, a halibut with sweet potato mash. I’m drawn toward the seared scallop and risotto. But then we both do a total 180 and order all small plates, instead.
We ask for the small plates two at a time so we can pick our favourite each round, then an overall winner, like a bracket-style tournament. First up are oysters and the chef’s soup of the day, cream of broccoli. The lime chili oysters are especially tasty. The soup is good though we should have accepted the offer for cracked pepper.
Next is the steak tartare and the trio of smoked salmon. We clearly don’t eat tartare enough because neither of us know how to consume it.
“What is the egg for?”
“I have no idea.”
“I think it’s to crack overtop…but I kinda don’t want to.”
With just the right amount of mustard and caper curry infused oil, it is a real treat. Even eggless, we’re predicting it will be hard to beat for overall favourite.
But it turns out the best is still to come. Round three is lobster cake with three pepper relish and lemon thyme aioli. We taste each on its own first, then the three together. It’s a taste sensation, combining hot, sweet, citrus, and savour all at once. We call the winner on the spot and ask to have our final plate, a charcuterie board, taken to the room for a late-night snack.
We leave Braxton’s, change, and head to the 24 hour gym (now that the dinner has made it clear why a 24-hour gym is necessary). When we finally arrive back to our room at 11:30 the charcuterie board and the sea of white, fluffy bedding is a welcome treat.
The Algonquin Resort is as welcoming as it is grand, in no small part due to the wonderful staff. Our server Ben was charming and timely and the front desk staff were very helpful. They are clearly very proud of the resort, and seem energized by the renovations. That warm open nature extended right to our dog, Charlie, too.
Charlie was greeted just as warmly as we were (maybe more so, he got cuddles and treats on arrival). During our stay, one of the front desk staff taught him some new commands, and he even made a new canine companion, Riley, whose dad was headed the opposite direction to us, to his cottage in Cape Breton.
We leave at 12:10 the next morning, reluctant to go, but confident The Algonquin is ready to host guests in style for another 100 years.
Thank you to The Algonquin for providing us with a place to rest our heads and food to fill our bellies. It is organizations like yours that helps us continue to tell our travel tales.