The vibe: Stylish seaside comfort
Location: 1709 Lower Water St., Halifax, NS B3J 1S5 | View on Google Maps
The AFAR take
Over the past two years, the $200 million development of the Queen’s Marque District has transformed the Halifax waterfront. Once a parking lot, this section of the harbor is now a thriving hub drawing both travelers and locals with its dynamic restaurants, wide range of local art, a 60-foot tidal clock, and wide steps that lead right into the Atlantic. In the center of it all is the Muir Hotel, which channels the city’s lengthy maritime history, from the four-degree angle of the building that mimics boat supports to the mesmerizing Light Chocks installation composed of Fresnel lens–inspired glass that glows like a lighthouse at night.
Who’s it for?
With easy access to the Halifax waterfront and its many museums, shops, and other entertainment, the Muir is certainly a family-friendly hotel. We think it’s ideally suited for travelers looking for a romantic escape—time your visit with a Canadian holiday and you’re likely to get an excellent view of local fireworks—and business travelers who want to be close to the action. (Digital nomads will love the suites with separate sleep and work spaces.)
We can’t say enough about the Muir’s waterfront location. Within a 15-minute walk of the hotel, you’ll find several museums and activities, including the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, the Discovery Centre, and the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, the hotel’s neighbor. The hotel is also an easy jumping-off point for more ambitious excursions: The ferry terminal is steps away, offering access to Dartmouth and Woodside, Nova Scotia, each a 15-minute ride away. Don’t miss a day trip to Georges Island, a national historic site in the middle of the Halifax Harbor. (During certain times of the year, the hotel can arrange outings on its 36-foot Morris yacht, including a sunrise or sunset champagne cruise or a picnic on the island.)
It’s also easy to reach the hotel, which is located a 15-minute walk—or a 5-minute drive—from the VIA Rail train station for those arriving by train and a 35-minute ride from the airport.
Each of the 109 guest rooms at the Muir are so comfortable and well-appointed that it’s difficult to leave the cocoon.
Each of the 109 guest rooms at the Muir are so comfortable and well-appointed that it’s difficult to leave the cocoon. During the building phase, the hotel committed to using only Canadian materials, and that extends to every last detail in the rooms, designed by Ontario-based Studio Munge. There are midcentury-style furnishings made in Quebec, local art, and modern tartan blankets—designed especially for the hotel—that nod to the province’s Scottish history. (The tartan is now on the Scottish Register of Tartans.) Even the mini bar is stocked with a rotating selection of Canadian snacks and beverages—you’re likely to see custom-made chocolates from Peace by Chocolate, owned and operated by a local refugee family with a shop in the Queen’s Marque District.
Guests can choose from single rooms or suites, with a variety of bed arrangements, including single kings and double queens. The 2,075-square-foot presidential suite, called the Watch, mimics a captain’s view on a ship, with expansive windows overlooking the harbor, a dining room, and a private tasting room stocked with a mix of local and international wines and spirits. (Local wines include Lightfoot & Wolfville and Benjamin Bridge.)
Food and drink
Within the hotel itself, there are two dining establishments. There’s Drift, a elegant ode to Nova Scotia. Heavy on locally sourced seafood—lobster bisque, salmon tartare, mussels—the restaurant has also gently upgraded local classics like rappie pie, a hearty chicken and potato dish. And then there’s BKS, a speakeasy for hotel guests that references the city’s rum-running history.
In the surrounding Queen’s Marque District, there are eight restaurants, with more coming in the next couple of years. Highlights include Café Lunette, a Parisian bistro with swan-dotted wallpaper and excellent French classics (try the baked camembert served with buttery baguette), and the Latin-inspired Bar Sofia, where cocktails like the pisco-based Del Rey are dangerously good and the tacos range from adobo cauliflower to carnitas. Coming soon is a fine-dining restaurant at the base of the Tidal Beacon, a 60-foot tide clock visible throughout the harbor and downtown Halifax.
The Muir is perfect for introverted extroverts: You’re part of the action of the waterfront but can retreat whenever you like. The thoughtful details run all the way to the rooms, where alcoves allow you to step out of the corridor before opening your door.
Staff and service
The Muir has hired predominantly local staff, which means they know the area well and can channel Nova Scotian hospitality. They are unfailingly warm, accommodating, and knowledgeable.
There are elevators within the hotel and, on each floor, there are a handful of fully accessible rooms, which include roll-in showers and grab bars.
Commitment to conservation
Sustainability is baked into the Muir’s DNA. In addition to using all Canadian materials, the hotel used as many reclaimed materials as possible. (The Queen’s Marque District is constructed of cobblestone and granite, some of which was reused from the original seawall built more than 200 years ago.) Construction also included green roofing materials, thermally efficient windows, and most impressively, a sea-water loop that pulls in water from the harbor to heat and cool the building.
There are no single-use plastics throughout the property.