From the Publishers perspective | Photos by Autumn Photography
The breathtaking panorama of St. John’s Harbour is worth the price of booking alone. The stay in St. John’s, in the world-renowned Battery, is reckoned to hold the best view on the island, and the impeccably-decorated ocean view estate is almost a bonus. Emilie Bourque, our rental agent and concierge is still taken aback by the splendour from this vantage: “I’ve lived here my whole life and this is definitely the most beautiful view I’ve ever seen of my own city.” During a home-sweet-home family stay, Pie was treated to a world-class spectacle of the magnificent Eastern Canadian landscape.
A cast-iron spiral staircase connects two levels of the property, each with its own glass-railed balcony. Guests can see the entirety of the harbour, which should be hungry itself for a look at this beautiful home. Cherry red and built into the face of a massive rock, it is as much a beacon as the lighthouses for which the area is known. Another staircase runs along the front of the property and invites guests—of which there is room for six—to take ownership of something truly special, even if only for a few nights.
The striking exterior is in strong contrast to the muted earthy tones inside. Studded couches and large farmhouse tables give the interior a sleek, modern look when paired with massive, floor-to-ceiling windows. Along with the open concept floor plan, this is a welcoming space; even a full house would have room to relax.
When guests wish to sleep or spend time alone, two bedrooms are each equipped with queen-sized beds and private washrooms. The shale-grey walls offer peace and tranquility matched only by the rolling water outside.
Sinking into the soft memory foam and breathing fresh, East Coast air made for an unimaginably restful sleep. In the loft area, a plush sofa can remain as such or be converted into a third bed. There’s also a sturdy writing desk, which proved handy in producing this piece. Having said that, it was often difficult to concentrate with an across-the-harbour view of Fort Amherst filling every window.
Over 70 years old, the property is not without its share of history. The previous owner, along with his wife, raised five children here and the house expanded with each one. A bedroom, then a playroom. Storage. In fact, the structure was far from today’s finished product: the original roof had so many holes that at night, stars were visible through the ceiling. Now, you’re welcome to stargaze on one of the balconies’ many comfortable deck chairs.
Bourque manages a number of beautiful homes under her company FabStay Accommodations and has been dominating the comfortable luxury short-term rental market in St. John’s since 2015.
She loves that Airbnb gives people a comfortable and family-friendly alternative to hotels. “Every time someone stays at a FabStay Accommodations property, they know to expect the exact same things… [they] know they’re going to be well taken care of throughout their vacation.”
Most apparent was the cleanliness and attention to detail. Bourque hesitates to label her exemplary hosting as anything akin to a concierge service. “I laugh to myself—that sounds really high-end! In Newfoundland, it’s just called great hospitality.” This goes beyond the stocked pantry—there’s pancake batter and syrup for a quick breakfast—and luxurious, hotel-quality linens. Need baby gear for a family travelling with little ones, unique decorations in place for a special occasion, or a certain type of beverage upon arrival? Bourque says consider it done.
“An elderly gentleman once asked for a special type of teapot, a Brown Betty, mentioning he drank several pots a day,” recalls Bourque. She tracked one down and within hours of his request personally delivered it to the home he and his family were renting.
“I’ll never forget the look of delight when I placed it in his hands. He was in disbelief that all he had to do was ask and I would make it happen.”
The same thing occurs when you ask for a local recommendation: a smile creeps across Bourque’s face and it’s abundantly clear she loves her city. St. John’s, one of the oldest European settlements in the western hemisphere, is home to shopping, entertainment, and world-class cuisine. Have something special in mind? Bourque can help make it happen.
With Emilie Bourque’s burgeoning FabStay Accommodations it’s clear that Newfoundland comfort is available in the short-term rental market. Her properties’ consistently top-shelf maintenance and amenities, coupled with the natural splendour of the surrounding area, make her an ideal hostess for your next vacation. But be warned: you may end up booking a few extra nights.