Giles and Monica experience the warm embrace of Fogo Island Inn, on a rocky, sea-sprayed outpost of remote Fogo Island in Newfoundland.
White, angular and perched atop zig-zagged stilts like the local fishermen’s houses, it pays homage to the European settlers that arrived from Ireland and Devon to fish cod – most islanders still have Irish or West Country accents.
For years cod was the primary source of income, but overfishing saw stocks plummet, and a cod-fishing moratorium was put in place in the 1990s. The island’s population subsequently shrank, as families moved away in search of other work.
Delving beyond the lobby, Giles and Monica meet founder Zita Cobb, the little girl who grew up to be a multi-millionaire and realise her dream to build a hotel that would revive her island home and its folklore. Her family has lovingly folded its rich heritage into a unique retreat for guests (and celebrities) from all over the world.
Giles is initiated as an honorary Newfoundlander by eighth-generation sisters Cynthia and Lori, the inn’s housekeepers, who rope him into a community boat race. Monica spends time with local guide Norm, who reveals surprising secrets of growing the perfect potato for use at the Inn. Monica and Giles both help to put on a traditional Fogo Inn ‘wedding scoff’, resulting in unexpected mummification. Above all, they tell the poignant story of the fight to revive the island through the hotel.
Pictured are Giles Coren and Monica Galetti outside Fogo Inn.
Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond The Lobby Episode 5 (of 6) airs on Monday 24 April 2017 from 9.00pm-10.00pm on BBC Two.