As the capital of Canada's smallest province, Charlottetown is all about paying homage to the history of Prince Edward Island (or PEI as it is better known) and The Holman Grand is a paragon of this. It takes its name from the first retailer on the island, Holman's — a store remembered by every resident who lives here, despite being closed in 1985 after 125 of business.
The favored boutique hotel among anyone looking for a luxury stay, the Holman is one of Charlottetown's most recent additions. Located directly across the street from Canada's birthplace, the Province House, its original late-Victorian three-story facade has been restored by architects so as not to disrupt the area's rustic feel.
Inside, 80 guest rooms and suites are outfitted with modern furnishings and decor. Featuring rich hardwood flooring, spa-inspired bathrooms, and luxurious fluffy bedding, visitors enjoy complimentary WiFi access, as well as a variety of other amenities including a well-equipped fitness room, indoor swimming pool, and whirlpool.
Ask for a penthouse with a harbor view and watch the sun come up over historic old Charlottetown, just as guests Shania Twain and James Taylor have done. Penthouse aside, the best accommodations are in one of two Harbour Lights Suites: the panoramic views and en-suite jacuzzis making them a favorite with Charlottetown's VIP clientele.
Guests at the Holman (many of whom are corporate travelers) spend time relaxing in one of the hotel's focal points: Grand Senses, Charlottetown's premier Aveda concept spa. The 6,000 sq/ft facility offers a full range of services, from elemental nature facials and massages — to manicures and body treatments. Alternatively, enjoy a visit to the hotel salon for a fresh new cut. While there, you're invited to visit the extensive Aveda retail boutique selling a range of exclusive products.
The staff at the Holman largely consist of graduates from the local Holland College hospitality program and are always on hand to help with anything you might need during your stay. Rooms are cleaned with great efficiency, and room-service is delivered at the drop of a hat. Rest assured, a friendly face will be waiting to greet you in the hotel lobby should you need assistance planning your vacation on the Island.
Charlottetown's community spirit is best exemplified by its dining scene, which runs the gamut from gourmet cuisine to sand-between-the-toes casual.
The acclaimed Redwater Rustic Grille (the hotel restaurant) is open for business from breakfast through dinner. With Chef Leslie Flynn at the helm, it turns out fresh interpretations of contemporary cuisine, the restaurant's design complementing the vibrancy and freshness of the food. Diners tuck into menu favorites including PEI Mussels served in a Thai Coconut Curry Broth, Chicken Pappardelle with Spinach, Forest Mushroom, Bacon and Parmesan Cream, and the Baseball Steak Sandwich with Grilled Focaccia, Caramelized Shallot Aioli, and Crispy Onion.
The adventurous menu at popular eatery, Terre Rouge features a Smoked Eggplant Curry with Lavender Organic Basmati and Beet Gnocchi with House-Made Honey Ricotta Cheese, among other dishes. Or for basic but delicious alfresco dining, grab a bite at the John Brown Richmond Street Grille, a no-fuss restaurant serving pub grub located on the historic Victoria Row of downtown Charlottetown.
The back of the Holman leads directly to a major shopping mall, while an underground walkway allows guests to reach the lobby of the Confederation Centre of the Arts without even stepping outside (and with rainy days totaling on average 160 per year in PEI, you'll be counting your blessings you chose the Holman).
Elsewhere in Charlottetown, highlights include guided walking tours, historical and cultural celebrations (including at the beautiful Beaconsfield Historic House), as well as some of North America's most beautiful sandy beaches and red sandstone cliffs.
Of course, no visit to PEI is complete without a visit to the Anne of Green Gables House. Millions of the book's fans have made the trip from across the globe to discover the land that captivated Anne in Lucy Maud Montgomery's stories. Those who want more can find their perfect souvenir at the Anne Of Green Gables Store, located on Queens Street in Charlottetown.