Shaw Club Hotel & Spa
What We Love
- It’s located in the historic district, near all the shops, bars and cafes
- Zees Grill: Gourmet yet approachable fare, good times on the patio and veranda
- The attentive staff: Chirpy, bright-eyed and quick with suggestions
- Free parking and WiFi
- READ MORE: 72 Hours in Ontario
What To Know
- Annex Rooms are located in a separate building
- Breakfast is excellent and worth the splurge
- Some rooms are cozy, and decor and room amenities vary
- The Shaw Spa is off-property, just down the street and offers great treatments; a three-week lead time is recommended for appointments
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
The Shaw Club’s façade is definitely on the quaint side (appropriately so, given the town’s historic flavor) but step beyond the white picket fence and you’re in boutique hotel territory: Chrome and dark wood finishes gleam within a smart palette of charcoal, dove gray and mocha. Houndstooth club chairs rub shoulders with a wall-mounted aquarium in the lobby. The marble-paneled guest lounge has its own gas fireplace, a curated library of DVDs and an Arco floor lamp. So much urban sleekness, yet the “club” aspect has nothing to do with being exclusionary or pretentious; rather it speaks to making you feel incredibly welcome and cherished during your stay.
Bed and Bath
Most of the 30 rooms have comfortable king-size beds; the bathrooms have oversized multi-head showers, glass vanities with stainless steel sinks and mini flat-screen TVs embedded into the mirrors (larger, state-of-the-art versions are mounted above desks or gas fireplaces). Strategically-placed outlets and a little ledge next to the bed offer a convenient charging station for your phone and laptop. And a curated collection of modern art and sculpture is distributed among the rooms to enliven the minimalist décor. Noteworthy amenities include a guest diary to jot down reflections (and indulge in some literary voyeurism); a “leave-one, take-one” stash of books and personalized temporary residence stationery.
Zees Grill had us at “Nova Scotia Lobster Poutine”—butter-poached lobster atop a mound of house-cut fries with white cheddar cheese curds and red wine veal jus reduction. The rest of Chef Executive Chef Jason Dobbie’s menu stars similarly imaginative (and decadent) comfort food, along with inspired takes on vegan and vegetarian fare (e.g., orange-scented organic quinoa with roasted vegetables, sautéed greens, Canadian cedar jelly and kale chips). Carnivores should order the Eggs Benedict for breakfast—the local Canadian bacon is thicker and more succulent than what you get stateside (and somehow less salty). Besides the restaurant, the Shaw Spa is also worth visiting (especially since hotel guests receive discounts on some treatments). The space may be small, but the variety of services is not: Choose from nine types of facials, plus a number of massages and body wraps that incorporate vinotherapy elements like masks and creams made with red wine.
In the Area
Located right where Lake Ontario and the Niagara River meet, Niagara-on-the-Lake is a picturesque hamlet about 30 minutes from Niagara Falls. Specializing in Riesling, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay, the region’s 27 wineries are a year-round attraction, while a January Ice Wine Festival draws oenophiles who don’t mind the cold and like their wine very sweet (ice wine is Niagara-on-the-Lake’s culinary hero). The Shaw Festival Theatre—six months of quality summer stock—is another popular annual event (the Shaw Club is located right across the street). Locals love Ravine Winery Estate Vineyard’s wood-fired pizzas; visitors like to bring home jams and marmalades from Greaves (the Four Seasons hotel chain’s brand of choice); take afternoon tea at the Prince of Wales Hotel and pick up gifts for tony tots at The Owl and the Pussycat.
How to Get There
While visiting the area Zee's grill was suggested for Dinner. The wife and I decided to give it a try and we had a good meal pricey but good. Everything is expensive in the Niagara-on-the-lake area just give it a visit and see why. Give Zee's grill a try.
As I reported on Yelp, I’m not one to leave reviews and never a negative one for sure. We just returned from 3 nights at the Shaw Club. I booked this on a third party site and have to say, was treated differently because. When we checked in - and mind you we paid plenty per night for the room at nearly 1000 dollars - we were shown the door of the adjacent outbuilding, which sits next to the backdoor of 2 restaurants. Up a dark and narrow set of stairs we found our room 302. The room was dark and dingy and when I asked the next day why we were placed there, I was told it was the third party booking and I would’ve had a better room for less if I phoned directly instead. We were being punished I guess. Funny thing is, we would’ve given the Shaw no money as we found out about the hotel on the third party site. The worst part was not the dirty room with flickering lights, it was the comings and goings of people all night and yes, folks, the used condom we found on the stairwell our 2nd morning, which we reported. I’m not convinced the outer door locked at night. I assumed they would move us but all I heard was babbling about third party bookings. We did have a great time in NOTL and think the main hotel that we felt odd and out of place in is probably wonderful. We even spent some time in the restaurant having drinks, breakfast, and a snack. It was always busy and the food was good. In the end, the Shaw Club has 1400 of our dollars and I feel a little duped. Very disappointing.
Before I start, this is not a bad hotel. It’s just not what it claims to be and in my opinion is overpriced. The hotel claims it feels like a private club...it does not. The only public areas of the hotel are the reception, a very small guest lounge and a bar which has 3 tables. The whole of the rest of the ground floor is taken up by ZZees restaurant which you can only access if you eat. For example, Hotel guests cannot sit on the porch or access any of the outside seating areas for a coffee or a drink. We stayed in the Annexe rooms which are completely external to the main Hotel, are up a very narrow flight of stairs and are now looking a bit shabby and dated. The pictures posted make the rooms look nice but the furniture is scuffed and wallpaper is peeling, the Aircon units are old and noisy and the rooms overlook the car lot. Not what I expect for nearly $300 per night. On the plus side, the hotel is perfectly located and they do offer a shuttle into town in the evenings which is a nice touch. I was super excited to have booked this hotel but I’m afraid it did not even reach my expectations let alone exceed them.
The service at the Shaw Club hotel is spectacular. My maintenance problems were fixed immediately. The evening shuttle rides were quick to take us to dinner and then the theater. The rooms are new and clean. I love the Nespresso machine in my room.
My wife and I have become semi-annual visitors to either the Shaw Club or Harbour House over the last decade. The extremely friednly and attentive staff are by far their greatest attribute. Jennifer Dickson and her staff are always available to assist and spend time conversing with the clientele. Whether it's offering advise on local attractions or just idle chit chat. The location to the main downtown is excellent but keeps you away from the main crowds. Although the rooms are a little smaller at the Shaw compared to the Harbour House we really don't spend alot of time in it.