Halifax Muir Hotel – Halifax’s Mind, Body & Soul
From Gaelic ‘Muir’, meaning ‘the sea’, this new Autograph Collection Hotel located in the new Queen’s Marque district will offer guests 109 rooms and suites mirroring what Halifax has best to offer. Establishing itself as a true cultural beacon for Nova Scotia and beyond, Muir is an integral part of the vibrant Halifax waterfront. This new urban district is located in the absolute centre of the city’s downtown core and is ushering in a new chapter to the iconic and historic neighbourhood. “We hope our guests feel warmly welcomed and experience an authentic connection to this region and its people through Muir’s refined, distinctly Nova Scotian hospitality.” Says Scott Armour McCrea, chief executive officer of The Armour Group Limited, owner and operator of Queen’s Marque. Inspired by the region’s inherent grace, rich cultural history, unspoiled beauty and enduring character, but also by the rugged architecture, resilient spirit and materiality of the region, Muir juts above and over the ocean, offering unprecedented ocean access and sweeping views.
“Muir’s intent is to offer guests an authentic connection to this region and its people while providing an indelible sense of place.”
Designed by celebrated Nova Scotian architecture practice MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects, with interiors conceived by award-winning Canadian designer Alessandro Munge of Studio Munge, Muir follows a distinctly local narrative inspired by the materiality of Nova Scotia. Featuring an honest and rooted design, this style removes unnecessary flourishes, creating a purposefully understated and modern aesthetic that expresses the culture and history of the region. It is a nuanced luxury of craft and substance. Honest materials also nod respectfully to the past while looking forward to the future. Scott Armour McCrea adds that “bringing to life a concept that is so intrinsically tied to a place is extremely meaningful. Muir is an example of ‘Born of this Place’ design – honouring character, materiality and heritage through the art of place-making. Throughout the property, the forms portray a contemporary marine, wharf-like design while materiality makes a connection to place – from local materials, including salt-and-pepper granite and sandstone, to Muntz metal, a copper alloy prominently used in shipbuilding. Together, these elements provide an indelible sense of place, resulting in a design that simply could not exist anywhere else.”
From the sourcing of the building construction materials to the fabrication techniques of the custom furnishings, Muir’s team have sought to achieve the highest standard of quality while minimizing environmental impact. “Throughout Muir, custom furniture and lighting, designed and crafted in Canada, reflect a modern interpretation of East Coast design. Rooms and suites are richly textured with curved white oak walls and plank flooring – a subtle nod to ocean voyages. On each bed, is a Muir tartan throw – a contemporary expression of Nova Scotia tradition featuring a modernized tartan pattern using Muir’s muted tones. Gathering spaces are anchored by soft cove lighting and lively fireplaces. Statement pieces from local artists are proudly displayed throughout Muir, including commissioned landscape paintings, sculptures, photography, ceramics and tapestries. The overall aesthetic is contemporary, warm and welcoming.” Indeed, each of the hotel’s rooms and suites showcases an original Nova Scotia landscape painting that was commissioned purposefully for Muir and invited guests to get to know Nova Scotia through art. “We worked with local galleries to select artists and commission paintings that tell the story of Nova Scotia, through the eyes of its artists. It’s not possible to pick a favourite – what is compelling though, is how all pieces work collectively together to tell the story of the diverse landscapes of this region.” The restaurant called ‘Drift’ draws on local, seasonal ingredients to create modern, contemporary interpretations of traditional Atlantic Canadian recipes. From early morning breakfast to an evening nightcap, Drift is a culinary destination where guests and locals connect. The ambience at Drift welcomes guests to linger, lounge by the fire and taste the latest Nova Scotia vintage. A ‘secret’ speakeasy provides an exclusive ‘guests only’ experience complete with a breathtaking waterfront terrace and a collection of modern cocktails with a lineage that nods to the area’s rum-running past.
Fresh ocean air and unprecedented ocean access also create a recipe for outdoor adventure. Visitors will feel the salt air and ocean breeze on their skin during a guided yacht or motorboat excursion on the harbour, complete with stunning views of the city’s skyline, bridges, islands and shoreline. At each phase, from design through construction and into the guest experience, Muir is committed to sustainable and responsible practices. Natural energy efficiency was created, allowing for passive heating and cooling while minimizing solar heat gain. Sustainable practices have been built into all aspects of operations, reducing waste and natural resource usage while incorporating renewable energy sources. Muir works with regional partners and suppliers to provide local products and ingredients, reducing our carbon footprint while providing an authentic Nova Scotian experience.
“The ebb and flow of life is unique here - we are extremely connected to place and community. Halifax has undergone a tremendous transformation and become a multi-dimensional city – one that is attracting new citizens who are drawn to the values and lifestyle. Muir connects to this place – our past and our future. Through architecture, design and food – we reference historical motifs, traditions and craftsmanship, yet express them in a modern Nova Scotia way.” Says Scott Armour McCrea when asked about what makes Halifax unique. Muir offers something truly remarkable – a refined hospitality experience as singular in style, character and spirit as the place that inspired it.
Words by Alexa Bouhelier-Ruelle
Photos provided by Muir Halifax