We have just returned from our first trip to Jamaica, staying at Shaw Park Hotel and Spa (Jan 7-21, 2013). This hotel is about 100 years old, formerly part of a 26 acre estate. The hotel is small, and staffed by the most wonderful people. Smiling and happy, looking after our every need, they include Head Cook (Bergen), dining staff (Miss Rose,Tina, Regina, Pebbles and many more), bar staff ("maybe later" Darren, Smiley, Jimmy and others), beach staff (Gary and Kelly and Nathan), the carpenters who worked so hard on rebuilding a gazebo at the end of the big dock that had been wiped out by Hurricane Sandy, only to be crashed into by a catamaran a day or so after we left! Spa ladies, housekeeping (Hazel, Nadine, Janet and more), reception staff ladies...we could not ask for better! It is so nice to see period antiques, as well as the shining woodwork and flooring in the beautiful comfortable lobby area and other areas below, which lends a lovely feeling of warmth and coziness. This must have been a very grand place in its prime years ago! There have been some improvements made according to fellow travellers who were here 2 years ago.
Our room (#52) was kept clean and tidy and from our balcony on the second floor we overlooked the beach and bar area just feet away. Just a note here, shampoo is not supplied so bring your own. Lots of hot water for showers, so no complaints there. We wish there had been a screen for the patio doors in order to leave them open at night for fresh ocean breezes, but we had to close them to keep the few pesky mosquitoes out instead. We were not bothered by any during the day. Karaoke was held at the bar, starting at 9:30 pm (til sometimes much later) and was so loud we actually had to complain. It was then moved to an area further towards the end of the dining area which helped. The music was too loud, but we got used to it, and earplugs helped..that's a hint for you fellow travellers! During the day the music blared from the water activities hut, and while loud, it was more annoying in that there seemed to be only a few songs ever played and they got boring fast! Hint for Gary...perhaps a wider selection of Jamaican music would be a good idea....and quiet time is enjoyable too.
Food was fine, lots of choice at mealtimes, lots of Jamaican flavours to sample. Cruise ship tourists descend 2-3 times a week for lunch, and another hint is to go for your lunch around noon in order to beat the influx of hungry cruise people. The beach is easily walked to and from the river area. There is an old fellow there (George) who paddles around in a small boat showing his mahogany carvings to any interested buyers. We booked an all day "Port Antonio" tour thro our Sunwing Rep, Patrick (a very nice fellow) which included a van pick up and a tour down to Port Antonio, a swim in the Blue Lagoon, waterfalls, lunch on a beach, finishing up with a 2 + hour leisurely trip on a bamboo raft built for two and poled down the Rio Grande River to the ocean. Spectacular vegetation along the way.
All in all, we enjoyed our visit to Shaw Park with the chance to see more of the island with the tour.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.