Nestled along the coast in St. Andrews, The Algonquin is a resort hotel boasting the captivating Tudor Revival architectural style. Recognized as one of New Brunswick’s architectural gems, it stands as St. Andrews‘ most celebrated emblem and ranks among the province’s most photographed structures.
The inaugural Algonquin was an expansive wooden edifice in the Shingle Style, established in 1889 under the aegis of the St. Andrews Land Company. This entity, founded by American entrepreneurs in 1883, commissioned a Boston-based architectural firm for the hotel’s design, which initially encompassed 80 rooms and greeted its first guests in June that year..
By the turn of the 19th century, St. Andrews’ denizens, alongside business magnates from Montreal and New England, championed the burgeoning summer tourism catalyzed by the hotel, drawing visitors from North America’s sweltering inland metropolises.
Tragically, a 1914 blaze decimated the majority of the hotel, sparing only two annexes constructed in 1908 and 1912. The Algonquin’s rebirth saw it rise from the ashes on the same site as a four-story Tudor Revival concrete structure, replete with a faux half-timbered exterior and a vibrant red slate rooftop. This resurrection was the handiwork of the Montreal-based architects Barott, Blackadder & Webster. Subsequent expansions graced the hotel in the early 1990s and 2010s.
A standout feature of the original Algonquin was its unique saltwater baths. Saltwater, sourced from Passamaquoddy Bay and stored in attic tanks, could be drawn from bespoke bathtubs equipped with dual taps for both fresh and saltwater. Complementing these baths, the invigorating Bay of Fundy air, coupled with the local “Samson Spring,” was reputed to confer therapeutic benefits on guests.
Promotions highlighting the absence of hay fever and an overarching ambiance of relaxation beckoned affluent visitors. Many even established opulent summer residences in St. Andrews and its verdant environs.
St. Andrews’ rail connectivity was courtesy of the New Brunswick Railway (NBR), with one of its key shareholders, George Stephen, being the inaugural president of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) from 1881 to 1888. Stephen’s initiatives led to CPR’s acquisition of NBR and its development of the International Railway of Maine. William Cornelius Van Horne succeeded Stephen in 1888 and, after overseeing CPR’s 990-year lease of NBR in 1890, enjoyed St. Andrews’ hospitality. Van Horne, hailing from Montreal, acquired the neighbouring Ministers Island and soon commenced the creation of his “Covenhoven” estate, which remains a testament to history today.
After stepping down from his presidential role in 1899, Van Horne chose to spend increased leisure time at his Covenhoven estate. By 1903, the Canadian Pacific Railway Company acquired The Algonquin, subsequently enhancing its facilities with golf courses and integrating it into its prestigious hotel chain.
Throughout the 20th century, under the banner of the CPR, The Algonquin saw a consistent influx of guests. With most visitors arriving by passenger train, the CPR erected a significant transfer station in McAdam, where the St. Andrews line met the Saint John-Montreal main line. This station also boasted a spacious 30-room hotel, primarily catering to the St. Andrews resort’s clientele.
In a shift of stewardship, the CPR relinquished ownership of The Algonquin Resort to local proprietors in 1970. By 1973, it was leased by the Government of New Brunswick and, a decade later in 1984, the provincial government acquired the entire property, inclusive of the neighboring golf courses and the pristine Katy’s Cove beach. Despite these changes, the resort consistently operated under the Canadian Pacific Hotels and Resorts brand.
By 1999, the CPR acquired Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. A couple of years later, in 2001, Canadian Pacific Hotels and Resorts were unified under the Fairmont banner. Subsequently, in October 2001, Canadian Pacific Limited decentralized its portfolio, resulting in individual control of its offshoots, including Fairmont Hotels and Resorts.
Over the years, The Algonquin has been graced by a constellation of dignitaries and royalty, encompassing U.S. Presidents like Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson, illustrious figures such as HRH Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales, Sir John A. Macdonald, and nearly every Canadian Prime Minister post-Confederation. The hotel further gained televised fame when it featured in the Amazing Race Canada in 2016.
Approaching the close of 2010, the Fairmont chain petitioned the New Brunswick government for financial support towards a comprehensive refurbishment of the property. After contemplation, in early 2011, the province resolved to explore alternative managerial avenues distinct from the Fairmont brand. The subsequent year, the hotel transitioned into the hands of New Castle Hotels and Resorts and Southwest Properties, collaboratively known as the Charlotte County Hospitality Partnership. Post a meticulous restoration in 2012, the hotel re-emerged in 2013 as part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, marking its induction as the maiden Canadian property within the Marriott conglomerate.
Fast-forwarding to 2023, the venerable Algonquin Resort transitioned to the stewardship of the Toronto-centric InnVest Hotels.
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