Saint Andrews, New Brunswick has a long history as a playground for Canada’s upper class. Looking to escape the heat and humidity of the inland cities in the 1890s and later, the wealthy would ride the railroad east from Montreal and Toronto, arriving in New Brunswick and the shores of the Bay of Fundy. The wealthiest bought islands or built their own cottages in towns like St. Andrews while others would settle in at luxury hotels like the Algonquin Resort. A rail spur off the main Canada Pacific Rail line would bring guests between the coastal retreat and their real world homes to the west. Alas, the hotel struggled over the years and changed ownership several times, being purchased by the provincial government at one point to help keep the operation running. Most recently, in 2012, the Algonquin Resort was sold by the government to a group of private investors and reflagged under Marriott’s Autograph Collection brand. Following a massive, multi-year renovation the property is open once again.
This is a slightly different sort of hotel review in that we didn’t actually spend a night there. But we spent an afternoon exploring the public areas (including the bar) and got a feel for the place; it was enough (and this version of the hotel new enough) that I figured it was worth sharing some of my observations.
The renovations only slightly belie the original construction. Little things, like a waterslide poking through the walls at one point almost certainly weren’t part of the 1860s version of the blueprints. That’s actually part of a second building which was added to increase the room count from the original 80 to the current 200+.
But the other parts mostly maintain the classic, luxurious but not over-the-top vibe. The lobby bar and patio area was well appointed and most comfortable for enjoying an afternoon beer. Plus some cool artwork on display, too.
Beyond that, the grounds were impeccably manicured. And considering that a tropical storm blew through only a couple days prior that is even more impressive.
There’s a separate outdoor pool area as well which was busy during our visit but didn’t seem overwhelmed at any point.
As for the rooms, well, I have no idea what they’re like. We weren’t guests and never got inside one of them. Based on the rest of the renovations (and the photos I’ve seen on Marriott’s site) I’ll go ahead and assume that they are very nice but mostly like a Marriott room. Some suites have fireplaces, which is a nice touch in the winter, I presume.
The hotel is on the edge of town atop a hill. That provides it with commanding views out over the Bay of Fundy but also makes it a tiny bit out of the way for exploring the quaint resort town in which it sits. Really just a couple blocks of walking or a 5 minute drive will get you to the waterfront so it isn’t too bad and it is a very, very small town so having a self-contained resort is a good thing in many ways. And if you want to stroll into town the option is there.
If you’re going to be in the area and need a place to stay this probably is going to be one of your better options, if for no other reason than there really aren’t too many other options. Plus, the renovations have it looking spectacular.
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