Experiencing a city by staying at a stand-out hotel is a bit like putting a new lens on a trip that would’ve otherwise been different.
The Muir Hotel, part of the Marriott Autograph Collection, is a new addition to the accommodation options in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It is a destination of its own — a place where you can relax, see the view from your room, recharge at the spa and fitness center and have a meal and a drink, all under the same roof.
As a first-time Halifax visitor, staying at the Muir was perfection, in my opinion. From the beautiful touches of design in each room to the gracious staff and smooth experience, this hotel is not to be missed.
I hope you enjoy my full review on all the aspects of the Muir Hotel, as you determine if this accommodation is best for your upcoming trip to Halifax. And if you’re traveling to Halifax soon, check out this travel guide we wrote.
We stayed at the Muir Hotel courtesy of Air Canada and Discover Halifax.
Background on the Muir
I learned, in passing, that “muir” means “by the sea,” in Scottish Gaelic, which is a part of Nova Scotian heritage.
With a hotel truly by the sea, it is a fitting name. By walking into the Muir, you sense a blend of maritime tradition with the modern new face of Halifax.
The Muir Hotel opened in December 2021 with 109 rooms, and leveled up the range of accommodations in Halifax on the whole. As part of the Autograph Collection under the Marriott brand, the hotel is both independent and distinctive, and operates under its own name.
The Muir strives to be distinctly “Nova Scotian” and is quietly classic. I thought it was an experience of its own, starting with the gorgeous rooms and ending with the sunrise views from our window that I will never forget.
The Muir Hotel has an excellent location, and I say this having been to Halifax for my first time on this trip, but it’s undoubtedly true. For visitors on both business and leisure trips, staying at the Muir provides a central location near both downtown and the waterfront.
The Muir is located on the Halifax Harbour, just steps (literally) from the famous Halifax boardwalk, one of the most well-known things to see in Atlantic Canada.
The Halifax Boardwalk has a plethora of food options, ranging from casual food stands, to the more upscale sit-down restaurants within the Queen’s Marque complex, as well as top-notch eateries like Bicycle Thief about a 10-minute walk away.
If spending time in the breeze and sun of the boardwalk is not your thing, walk out the doors of the hotel and head the other way, into Halifax downtown, for the bars on Argyle Street, restaurants on Barrington Street and the museums of this district.
The Queen’s Marque
The Queen’s Marque was a pleasant surprise for us, as we stayed in the Muir and did most of our dining in the immediate area. The development is new since winter 2020 and also has private residences.
Staying in the Muir was particularly convenient, as we were with our baby, and in order to minimize time spent walking and being close to the hotel room, we found ourselves happy to eat at lovely restaurants like Bar Sofia and Darya. For a fast casual option, Sapori Italian Street Food worked out great for both our dietary preferences, as well as being child-friendly.
Aside from dining, the Queen’s Marque development is great for shopping. We stopped by Peace by Chocolate, a trendy chocolate shop, and picked up treats to bring home. For dessert, there’s the not-to-be-missed ice cream shop The Fog Company, which has Instagram-worthy concoctions.
Other restaurants we would’ve tried if we had had the time were Cafe Lunette, Peacock (wine bar) and Salt & Ash.
The Muir exudes effortless chic Atlantic elegance. This means wood tones, muted colors in the color palette, soft touches of naturals and vistas of the water.
As someone who used to work in home design, I take note of things like bathroom hardware, doorknobs, textures used in the pull-out mini bar and the stone in the shower.
Some of my favorite design elements of the rooms at the Muir were the unique light fixtures, the mid-century modern time piece on the bedside table, the framed art on the wall and the simplicity of the floor lamps.
The expertly-defined touches of design created coastal vibes against modernity and made the entire hotel nice and airy, yet also sleek and slightly mysterious.
On par with the design ideals employed in the hotel, the True Colours Art Gallery is located within the hotel for hotel guests only, and features a rotating selection of pieces from throughout the region.
The Muir has a range of rooms, starting with Standard King rooms and junior suites, up to the Thrumcap Suites Executive Suite with a water view.
The Signature King
As we stayed in the Signature King, I’m able to comment on that style of room, which had a king-sized bed, a corner couch, corner chair and lamp and entertainment unit along the wall with ample counter space for unpacking.
The bed was incredibly comfortable, and I used the corner chair with the ottoman for feeding our infant daughter.
The floor-to ceiling windows were an amazing way to see the view as we arrived, and better, to see the start to the day with bright morning light and nice shadows.
The bar was a strikingly chic element of the room, with a pull-out cocktail counter and a pull-out fridge under shelves for glasses and spirits.
I’m commenting on the bathroom in this hotel room because it was so aesthetically-pleasing. The big round lit mirror above the stone vanity was the centerpiece between the toilet and the shower. Being in this bathroom felt like being in a spa.
Space for a crib
As we were traveling with our infant, we requested a crib for the room, and it fit with ample space in the Signature King. We decided to have the crib near the window, to give our daughter her own space away from the king-sized bed.
The Muir is not short on amenities to please a traveler. From working out in the world-class gym to taking out a bicycle for a spin, check out how you can enjoy your time at the Muir.
Dan used the fitness center at the Muir on our first night, and texted me to tell me that the gym was awesome. The Windward Fitness Centre offers top-end cardio equipment, along with strength and core workout equipment. Believe it or not, there is a dedicated spin and yoga studio.
For fitness buffs, there is a full “equipment list” on the Muir website that you can view in order to learn more.
Spa & Wellness Center
The Interlude Spa at the Muir is a place I wish I had had time for, as it is gorgeous. The spa and wellness center offers services from hair to massages.
I didn’t even think to bring my bathing suit. What was I thinking? The Muir Hotel has a spa pool and a cold plunge pool. There also a “halotherapy salt room” that reception recommended to me upon arrival. In addition, guests can check out the infrared sauna and the steam room, which are two things I like to try out during some time spent swimming.
For families, there are designated family hours during which parents with children can enjoy these locations within the building.
If we had more time on our hands, I would’ve totally taken one of the Muir Hotel’s bicycles out for an easy ride on the Halifax Boardwalk. Biking is one of my favorite ways to see a city, and the Halifax Boardwalk is flat and made for that type of thing!
The Muir Hotel also has kayaks, in addition to motorboat and yacht excursions for guests. These are great ways to appreciate the harbor-front location.
For parking our rental car, we learned that parking right at the hotel property in the below-ground garage is the same price as the hotel’s valet service! The choice is ultimately yours. The garage is for the Queen’s Marque private residences as well.
We opted for self-parking in the garage first, but found that the garage was tight. We then opted for the valet service from the Muir, as we were getting the car in and out for our day trips from Halifax. For the valet, all we had to do was walk up to the reception desk and give a five or ten minutes’ notice that we’d like to have the car pulled up to the entrance.
It was our first time using a Valet service, which is why we originally opted for the self-park option.
Staying at the Muir Hotel was a beautiful experience that allowed my blood pressure to lower as soon as we walked in the doors each time.
A bonus of staying at a five-star hotel is traditional turndown service, which, at the Muir, included a set of chocolates and macarons, along with a handwritten note, in the evening.
House car & driver service
When we stay at a hotel, we don’t expect to have many unexpected scenarios, but lo and behold, our daughter was sick on the second night and Dan needed to go out to a supermarket to buy a thermometer.
This is where the Muir’s house car, a Range Rover with a driver, came in really handy, and we are grateful for this as a hotel amenity. The Muir has a concierge car that can take guests within two-mile radius from the hotel grounds.
When we checked in, the reception staff offered this service to us for if we wanted to avoid taking our stroller up the giant hill between the hotel and the top sight to see in Halifax, the Citadel.
The reason we took the car was because we wanted to get the thermometer ASAP and the walking round trip would have been around 40 minutes. Dan shared the car with a couple taking the car up the hill for a dinner reservation.
Yes, the Muir owns a yacht. It’s called The Little Wing, and if you arrange an excursion, you’ll see the Halifax coastline for a treat.
The Muir Hotel sometimes has programming and events, like mixology events from local experts or flower arranging with a local grower. While we weren’t aware of anything like this happening during our stay, it sounds really cool.
Restaurant on site
The restaurant on site at the Muir is DRIFT, featuring classic regional Nova Scotian fare in a refined atmosphere.
Located right downstairs off the lobby, and with outdoor dining right on the Queen’s Marque with views of the harbor, DRIFT is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is popular with business guests as well as hotel guests looking for a convenient upscale dining option.
Aspects for families
As a family on our first trip far from home with a baby, we felt welcomed at the Muir as soon as we checked in and the staff gave us a little Muir teddy bear that hung out in our room during our stay.
To my surprise, there was also a bath gift box for our infant daughter. It contained a baby sponge, organic baby shampoo and body wash and gentle lotion.
When we were unpacking our car upon arrival, the staff helping us asked all about our baby and told us about his daughter of almost the same age. A few hours later, staff offered us use of a sound machine for our daughter’s night sleep (luckily, we travel with a travel sound machine).
It was all these elements that made us feel welcome at the Muir, as staying at a hotel with a baby can sometimes make you feel like an outlier in an otherwise adult-centric environment.
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