No sign of checking out for Shaw’s Hotel after 163 years
Posted on January 13, 2023 | By Alexander Chafe | 0 Comments
A home away from home at Brackley Beach. In operation for over one and a half centuries, Shaw’s Hotel is the oldest business on Prince Edward Island. What started as a family farmhouse has grown to a 15-room family-owned inn with an on-site restaurant and 25 seaside cottages.
The Shaw family first settled on their farmland close to Brackley Beach in 1793. Robbie Shaw, the current owner, says his great-grandfather Neil built the hotel in the 1850s as a family home. In 1860, a friend of a friend was looking for a place by the sea where their daughter could live for a summer while coping with a respiratory illness. So, Robbie’s great-grandparents moved into a cottage on their property and Shaw’s Hotel was open for business.
Over time, the hotel went through many changes. The main building grew from five rooms to 30, which was later reduced to 15 so modern electricity and bathrooms could be added throughout. In 1896, the family also began building cottages along the property for additional accommodations.
From day one, the hotel provided guests with three meals a day during their stay. This was reduced to two meals in 1980 and later evolved to a traditional bed and breakfast operation. Guests can also dine at the onsite restaurant on their own schedule, later in the day.
In its infancy, the hotel used oil lamps and guests arrived by horse and buggy. However, upgrades were made over time to include Internet service, television and other services that modern travelers expect.
Historical site & valued guests
In 2003, Shaw’s Hotel was recognized as a National Historic Site of Canada due to its contribution to the tourism industry. When asked what keeps guests returning, Robbie commented “we’ve always tried to create a home away from home. We have a good reputation for our accommodations, ideal location and service, but it’s the sense of home people feel that keeps them coming back year after year.”
Shaw’s Hotel has had guests from across North America, Europe and as far as New Zealand and Japan. They’ve also hosted many well-known guests over the years including CTV’s Lloyd Robertson, actress Cynthia Dale, writer Pierre Berton and Robert Stanfield, politician and former owner of Stanfield’s Limited.
Today, Shaw’s Hotel on Brackley Beach, P.E.I. is the oldest family-owned and operated resort in Canada. Six generations of the Shaw family have worked at the hotel since its opening in 1860 and have ensured the business hasn’t missed a single season, despite many challenges.
When asked about the future of Shaw’s Hotel, Robbie says “it’s not 100% certain what will happen in a few years’ time. For now, I encourage my sons to pursue their education and passions.” In terms of growth, he mentioned that “those changes will be left to the future generation.”
An extended stay of 163 years and counting.
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