Fogo Island Inn
Perched partially on metal stilts above wave-battered rocks, Fogo Island Inn’s modern, angular outline rises from the landscape like a mirage. Built of whitewashed wood and designed to encompass both local traditions and a contemporary style, the property directly faces the North Atlantic Ocean, which provides a constant backdrop to your stay. Every suite features ocean-facing floor-to-ceiling windows, you can take in panoramic views from the rooftop hot tubs, and as you enjoy meals in the dining room you can watch rolling waves and passing clouds.
The predominantly white décor is intentionally simple, which makes the bright furnishings stand out, as well as focusing your attention to the outdoors. Staff are friendly and attentive, and an activities co-ordinator ensures you make the most of your time.
Built to directly benefit the island and its people, the inn places great emphasis on social and environmental responsibility. All furnishings have been handmade by local artisans, food is sustainably sourced and all surpluses from your stay are fed back into the local communities.
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The 29 suites span four floors. Each is beautifully furnished with locally-made furniture and fabrics, including a rocking chair and brightly patterned quilts and cushions. Books, playing cards and even a scarf are placed in the room for use throughout your stay.
The whitewashed walls and ceiling enhance the natural light, and feature wallpaper includes designs that reflect aspects of Newfoundland. Bathrooms include a remote-controlled toilet, large walk-in overhead shower and, in some suites, a stand-alone bath tub. Toiletries are made from local ingredients including raw berries, seaweed and iceberg water.
Best of all, one whole side of each room is given over to full-length windows that partially open to let in the fresh ocean breeze. With a pair of binoculars provided, you can sit and watch the crashing waves and sea birds soaring in the sky with nothing but the ocean separating you from Greenland. Depending on the season, you might also see icebergs and whales offshore.
The inn is situated in the small fishing community of Joe Batt’s Arm on Fogo Island’s north coast. This remote shard of land is around an hour’s ferry ride from Newfoundland’s mainland and was first adopted by 19th-century Irish settlers, whose culture (and accent) has been passed down the generations. The inn is around a 20-minute drive from the ferry terminal — representatives from the inn can meet and transport you free of charge.
Food and drink
The high-ceilinged dining room is set in the corner of the property, boasting windows across two sides. Here you can enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner, with the menus altering slightly each day.
The food is fresh, seasonal and locally sourced using sustainable methods, with a big focus on seafood. The fully-stocked bar offers plenty of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, including a cocktail menu.
Room service is available, and each morning you’ll find a box of pastries and your preferred beverage outside your door to enjoy before breakfast.
There are two Fogo Island Family Suites designed for families of up to four. They feature a queen bed and two twin beds, as well as a bath tub and a wood stove. Cribs are available and a babysitting service can be arranged using carefully selected members of the local community. Activities can be tailored to your family’s interests.
Facilities and activities
There are rooftop saunas and hot tubs, a small cinema showing daily documentaries and films, a gym, a well-stocked library, and a contemporary art gallery featuring local art installations.
Each morning, the activities co-ordinator can help plan your day. There are plenty of options to choose from whatever time of year you’re visiting, from berry picking, fishing trips and guided hikes to snowshoeing, art workshops and boat cruises. Every stay includes a half-day island orientation with a local Community Host, who’ll show you the island’s highlights and tell you more about life on Fogo.
Environmental and social responsibility
The inn is part of the Shorefast Foundation, a charity that aims to improve and maintain the island’s economic and cultural wellbeing.
All surpluses from the inn go back into the local communities. Most of the staff are from the island and furnishings throughout the property are handmade by local artisans — you can purchase these items from the inn’s online shop, with all profits feeding back into the work of the Shorefast Foundation.
The property is designed to be environmentally friendly. Triple glazed windows keep in heat, and natural ventilation is used rather than air conditioning. Rainwater is collected from the roof and filtered for re-use around the property, and solar panels are used to heat much of the water. Food is sustainably sourced, with fishermen adopting a ‘cod potting’ method to protect fish numbers.
Every aspect of a stay here anchors you back to the island and its people. We’re particularly impressed by the far-reaching ocean views you have from your room and the wide variety of activities on offer each day.