Where to Stay in St. John’s, NL
St. John’s is the oldest city in North America and the capital of Newfoundland and Labrador. This colourful city on the North Atlantic rises from the sheltered harbour and is known for its tasty food, friendly people, dynamic arts, and row upon row of brightly painted row houses climbing up the hillside. I like to joke that you need to be part mountain goat to live in downtown St. John’s.
The city is packed with things to do like visiting Signal Hill, The Rooms, or the Johnson Geo Centre. Will the highlight of your trip be shopping on Water Street or taking part in a pub crawl? Will you try your hand at throwing axes or shooting arrows? There’s no shortage of attractions to fill your St. John’s itinerary.
St. John’s also makes an excellent base for exploring all of the Avalon Peninsula and beyond with Cape Spear, Ferryland Lighthouse, and Bay Bulls for whale and iceberg tours an easy drive away. The East Coast Trail runs through St. John’s if you’re looking for some world-class hiking. You could also easily do a brewery tour hitting up 8 craft breweries within an hour’s drive.
Without a doubt, the best part of town to stay in during your visit to St. John’s is downtown. Downtown is where the action is with a compact core filled with shops, restaurants, and entertainment. With one exception, all of my hotel picks are located within walking distance of Water Street. There are plenty of well known chains to choose from in town but I prefer to stick with mainly independently owned inns and hotels.
Book a room at any one of my picks for best places to stay in St John’s and you’ll have the perfect base for exploring all the wonderful sights and making the most of the artistic and foodie haunts.
Where are the best places to stay in St. John’s?
HI St. John’s City Hostel
I can count the number of hostels in Newfoundland on one hand but there is one in downtown St. John’s. The HI St. John’s City Hostel is located in one the city’s famous colourful row houses close to all downtown attractions. They even have a free shuttle that will take you to the Quidi Vidi Brewery. The hostel offers both shared and private rooms as well as a common kitchen and living area. The rooms are basic but a good option if you’re on a tight budget.
- What: HI St. John’s City Hostel
- Where: 8 Gower St, St. John’s, NL
- Rooms: Female & Mixed Dorms, Private Room
- Price Range: From $40
For a budget stay that feels like luxury, check out the Alt Hotel. Request a harbour view room and be treated to some of the best sunrise views in the city. The rooms are small but make use of smart design to feel larger. Each room has a full wall of windows to let in lots of natural light. The bedside table doubles as a bed desk. The ice bucket doubles as wall art. The bed itself hides two large drawers if you like to unpack during your stay. Choose from a queen or king bed or even a room with two queen beds. Two of the best things about the Alt? They’re pet friendly and there are no check out times. Seriously. Out partying on George Street the night before and want to sleep until noon? No problem.
- What: Alt Hotel
- Where: 125 Water St, St. John’s, NL
- Rooms: Queen, Double Queen, and King rooms
- Price Range: From $119
JAG Boutique Hotel
JAG came roaring onto the local hotel scene in 2014 and is known as the rock ‘n roll hotel. The property features photos of rock legends throughout and each room has music inspired touches amidst the calming cream and grey furnishings. Located on the west end of Water Street, it’s especially close to Mile One and the St. John’s Convention Centre. No matter what kind of room you prefer, JAG has a plush, comfortable option: queen bed, king, double rooms or suites for those who want to feel like the king of rock ‘n roll.
- What: JAG Boutique Hotel
- Where: 115 George St W, St. John’s, NL
- Rooms: 84 – Queen, King, Double Rooms and Suites
- Price Range: From $169
Blue on Water
If you like your boutique hotel on the smaller side, book yourself one of the eleven rooms above Blue on Water. The exposed brick and reclaimed wood details mixed with the plush and luxurious furnishings create a true contemporary urban space. Each room is unique so if you’re looking for a place with character, look no further. You’ll also have to look no further for a delicious meal or a good cocktail with the restaurant and bar on the ground level.
- What: Blue on Water
- Where: 319 Water St, St. John’s, NL
- Rooms: 11 – Double Beds
- Price Range: From $169
Murray Premises Hotel is located in a National Historic Site on the St. John’s waterfront, with rooms radiating character through exposed 19th century wooden beams, contemporary furnishings and luxurious touches. Along with the original beamed ceilings, columns and timber-slanted roofs, all rooms feature custom-made maple furniture. Each stay also comes with a full complimentary breakfast and its downtown location can’t be beat.
- What: Murray Premises
- Where: 5 Beck’s Cove, St. John’s, NL
- Rooms: 69 – Queen and King rooms
- Price Range: From $209
The Inn by Mallard Cottage
After opening and running the successful Mallard Cottage restaurant, chef Todd Perrin went all in and decided to open a sister inn. The Inn by Mallard Cottage has suites located over two buildings in Quidi Vidi, making it my only accommodations pick not located in the heart of downtown. The spacious rooms are bright and decorated with an upscale cottage chic aesthetic reminiscent of the Fogo Island Inn. Your stay comes with a welcome bottle of wine and daily hot breakfast at Mallard Cottage during the high season.
- What: The Inn by Mallard Cottage
- Where: 5 Barrows Road, St. John’s, NL
- Rooms: 7 King Suites
- Price Range: Low-season $189 | Shoulder-season $279 | High-season $349
If more traditional elegance is your speed for luxury, book a room at Ryan Mansion. The crown jewel of the 5 star inn is a grand staircase built in the same style and by the very same craftsmen who fitted the Grand Staircase on the Titanic. Located in an affluent heritage district near Bannerman Park, Ryan Mansion is still within walking distance of the shops and restaurants of downtown. All rooms feature a fireplace, spa-like ensuite with heated marble floors, therapeutic tub for two with plasma TV, amenities by L’Occitane & separate marble/glass shower.
- What: Ryan Mansion
- Where: 21 Rennies Mill Road, St. John’s, NL
- Rooms: 5 – Rooms and Suites
- Price Range: From $325
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