This is the last of my accommodation reviews from my last trip and it’s a mixed one so please read on to find out the pros and cons of South Shore guest house near Black River, Jamaica.
South Shore guest house is one of a few quaint little spots along Crane Road, just outside of Black River. Every time I drove by I was curious so one day I dropped by for lunch. I was staying at the home of some friends nearby but I’m always looking for new places to eat so I figured I’d try it out. Upon driving through the gate there is a restaurant and bar right in front of you, it’s visible from the road and a great spot to sit and chill out, which we ended up doing for hours since a long rain storm settled in soon after we ordered our lunch. Seating around bar area is covered and has free WIFI so it was our pleasure to sit and enjoy a couple of hours surfing the net on our phones while we waited out the rain and enjoyed our food.
My friend and I were literally the only people we saw on the property besides Lisa, the manager / bartender, the chef and another local who was sitting up at the bar on his laptop. That guy also had his two over-friendly dogs at his feet who quickly adopted us as their snack provider. We loved the dogs!
After a while the rain let up and I asked Lisa if I could see a room or two here. I knew in a couple weeks time I would be looking to try out a new place to stay and this one looked so cute. Plus the location can’t be beat…..it’s literally steps from the seaside. After she showed me the property (which you can’t see from the bar at the front) I made the decision that I would try it out once I came back down here from the north coast in a couple of weeks. Here’s what you can’t see from the road.
And that view translates into this view at night. Spectacular!
Before coming back down south I tried to call South Shore a couple of times to make sure they had a room for me when I arrived but they didn’t answer on several occasions. That’s a little bit of a problem here in Jamaica – customer service isn’t really what it should be so I basically had to drive in with the hopes that they would have a room. Thankfully, they did.
There were no guests at the time so Lisa took me straight to the end unit which was nice, at least I couldn’t get neighbors on one side of me if other guests did show up. I was satisfied with the appearance of the room so I dragged my bags in and got comfy.
The room was very basic, not many frills but for me that’s fine because I tend to spend very little time in a room unless I’m sleeping. I noticed an air conditioner on the wall – bonus! I wasn’t expecting that but it was a godsend because the temperatures down here that week were running between 32 and 34 degrees Celsius this time of year. There was no remote for the air conditioner so I had to stand on a chair to turn it on and off. It also appeared to only have one setting – low. That was totally fine for me though, it kept the room at a nice cool temperature but never got too cold.
What excited me the most about my room was the little veranda. I could have slept in a cardboard box and been happy with my veranda, the little table on it and its proximity to the sea. I was already relishing the thought of laying awake at nights listening to the waves roll in. This is literally how close I was to the waters edge. Amazing!
I inspected my room a little further and checked out the bathroom at the back. It was decently equipped with two large towels and a couple rolls of toilet paper. I did notice an odd side door to the outside in the bathroom. I didn’t love that there was no deadbolt on it so I propped the towel stand in front of the door and left it there for my stay.
The bathroom was a really good size but a little bit “meh” as you can see in the photo below. One of the ceiling panels above the tub was missing which creeped me out a little that I could see into the space above the ceiling. Not a big deal but I’ve stayed in much better kept rooms for less money in this area. The toilet also had flushing issues…..it flushed but I had to hold the handle down a long time for a complete flush.
While I was on property one day I did some looking around. I went into one of the double rooms to check it out as well. It was a great size, perfect for two people or two couples to share, except that none of the bathrooms have doors on them, as you could probably see in one of the pics of my room above. It’s just kind of a walk-through situation. No problem if you’re staying alone but if you have a few different people staying together it might be weird.
After looking around the property even more it is apparent that weddings are quite popular here and they definitely have the space and ambiance for it. Right outside my door in front of the sea there’s a gazebo that still had decorations on it from a wedding that had happened the week before. They also have a huge covered space with a stage area across from the bar where it appears they can seat maybe about 40 people if they had all their tables set up. The manager said they had a wedding the week before I was there and one coming a week after I was leaving.
So what are the room rates like?
I asked Lisa on our lunch visit and she told me rooms range from $55.00 to $85.00 USD per night. This was the only place I paid to stay on this trip and I didn’t ask her what she charged me for my room but I’m guessing I paid around $65.00 USD. The reason I don’t know is because for the four days I stayed here she let me run a continuous tab for food, drinks, snacks, and my room. So I paid it all in a lump sum on my last day and that included breakfast every morning and a bunch of flasks of rum over the course of four days.
What was the food like?
The food and the service were great! The only thing I ate here was fried chicken and chips for my dinners because it was so good. I brought some Americans here one night for dinner and they ordered brown stew chicken which they said was really good as well. Michael, the chef was always on property and will pretty much make anything you want if he has the right ingredients on hand. And every morning for breakfast I asked for scrambled eggs, bacon and toast. A really nice added touch is that Lisa delivered my breakfast to the little table on my veranda every morning so I could eat breakfast by the sea. I had my own jar of instant coffee with me so she also brought me hot water and a coffee cup each morning.
The bar is fully stocked with anything you want including all liquors, juices, water, snack foods like peanuts, etc.
- You simply CAN’T BEAT the location and ambiance of South Shore guest house. Even my very favorite place in this area doesn’t have you waking up this close to the sea.
- The property has everything you want from food to drinks to the seaside at your door and you wouldn’t even have to get out of your pajamas to get it.
- The staff is awesome. Lisa is a doll and very friendly to chat and laugh with while sitting around the bar.
- Free WIFI – but only works well near the bar. And the chef Michael is a cool dude as well. He’s always bored at nights so I’m sure if you wanted company to go to karaoke on the beach up the road he’d go with you lol.
- The food is great and priced very reasonably.
- The location in proximity to Black River is great. You could probably walk it in about twenty minutes down one straight, main road. And if you don’t want to walk I’m sure a taxi would cost you no more than $100.00 jmd. That’s like….a dollar!
- There were lots of bugs. The first night I had a roach run across my pillow right before I was about to go to bed. So I slept with the lights on lol. I also experienced lots of those tiny little ants that gather when you put things on the floor or the dresser. I asked the housekeeper to spray one day while I was out but she never did.
- The water pressure left a lot to be desired. It was very weak and on my last morning it was almost non-existent. I pretty much sponge bathed that day. Also, there IS hot water but it takes about five minutes to happen.
- The housekeeper never refreshed my room once during my stay. It was kind of weird considering she knew I went out every day and never came back until after dark but not once was my bed made in four days. I wonder if I was supposed to ask?
- In my opinion the rooms are overpriced for what they are. I suppose in their favor they have the seaside view and ambiance but I’d be willing to trade a few steps to the water for a room in better repair, with less bugs.
- The walls are paper thin. I only had one neighboring wall to deal with and had a neighbor on my last night. He had his TV on all night and I could hear every single word like it was in my own room. And I could literally hear him cough as clear as a bell.
I’m sure I would stay here again if I knew I would have no neighbors. But knowing that I can go up the road to Paradise Ocean View for a nicer room at a cheaper rate, South Shore would definitely be a second choice – not a first. However, I will always stop in here for food and drinks. I really loved Lisa and Michael and the ambiance of the place. Plus they owe me a bonfire on the beach one night! We were supposed to do it but we had a few rainy nights that prevented it from happening.