Trip Reports

Who Says You Can’t See Kingston Jamaica like a Tourist – Day 3 & 4: Shopping, Hellshire, Party, Club and Spanish Court Hotel

Written by Xavier Murphy

Day 3 – Shopping, Hellshire, Party, Club and Spanish Court

We were up early that morning as we had a lot to do.  My cousin was coming for us later that morning to take us to see some relatives I have in Portmore.  First we wanted to do some shopping.   My wife’s aunt was taking us to a few places to get some Jamaican shirts. I love wearing my Jamaican colors, especially when I travel to other countries. It’s an icebreaker as most people see the flag and ask about Usain Bolt, Bob Marley, Reggae or something Jamaican.  Our first stop was at Sovereign.  We did not find much there so then we went to  Sun Island outlet off Molynes road. We bought some t-shirts shirts and went back to the house in time to meet my cousin there.

Each time I go to Portmore I am amazed at how much the place has changed since I lived in there. There seems to be no open spaces anymore. Houses and commercial buildings are everywhere. I lived in Edgewater and remember when I could see Garvey Meade from the top of my street. The relatives I was visiting lived in Garvery Meade.

We spent some time catching up with my family and then it was off to Hellshire beach. I was also going to visit a prep school teacher who lived in Hellshire hills overlooking the beach. I was still amazed how much it changed from the little fishing village I once knew in the 1970’s.  We walked along the shore and remised about the old day of Hellshire.

 The water was gorgeous. We did not swim.

The visit to my school teacher was quick as we had to get back to Kingston to check in at the Spanish Court as were attending my wife’s reunion dinner in New Kingston.  We would also try to squeeze in a JC mixer that was happening that night.

The Spanish Court Hotel used to be the location of an old office plaza. It is a gorgeous boutique hotel.  Check-in was smooth and the front desk clerks were very courteous. It was a lovely place. Very hip and reminded me of some of the Art Deco hotels in South Beach, Florida. Everyone was courteous at the check in area. I loved the waiting area. It felt like a mix of a cozy hip library and Starbucks café where you would sit and “hang out”.  In fact rental laptop computers are available at the front desk for those who wish to get on the internet. They have WIFI access throughout the hotel.

The room was clean and nice. It was “Spanish” art deco styled. There was a big screen TV and all the amenities of a modern hotel. Most of the colors of the room and hotel were black, tan and red. We relaxed for a little while before we went off to the Pegasus Hotel for my wife’s reunion banquet.

The main speaker’s speech was very inspirational as she talked about each Jamaican being accountable for the direction of the nation.

We left the banquet and went to Jamaica College old boy’s event which was at a club very close by.  I saw many of my old school mates. It was a mini-reunion. We hung out there till the wee hours or the morning.

Day 4 – Spanish Court, Alhambra Inn, Time to go Home
We requested a morning call. I was having an early morning light breakfast as would be eating brunch with my wife’s aunt. I had requested a tour of the hotel.  We met Maurice the manger at the Spanish Court. He took us on a tour of the place. One of the features I loved was the pool and balcony on the roof. It is the perfect place for any cozy event. The ambiance is perfect. The facilities are great and the room prices are affordable. It is the perfect boutique hotel for a weekend getaways, a family reunion or a business trip. I was impressed with the facility. Most of all I was impressed with the courteous friendly staff.

My wife’s Aunt picked to us for brunch. She took us to the Alhambra Inn. This was a treat for me. It was one of the places on my Kingston “bucket list” however I was not planning to do it this trip. We were going to have brunch there. My wife’s Aunt knew the owners which was a wife and husband team of Sonia and Trevor Clarke.  Sonia worked the room going from table to table greeting the patrons. She was warm and very friendly.  Trevor had a stroke a few years back and was not as active as he used to be. I would talk with him after breakfast.

The dining room was an open-air covered building.  Breakfast was buffet style. They had everything you would find for a traditional Jamaican Sunday breakfast. There was fried corn pork, liver, ackee & salt fish, callaloo & saltfish, yellow yam, boiled banana, boiled dumpling,  fried dumpling (Johnny cakes), festival, roast & fried bread fruit, hardo bread, hot chocolate (Jamaican style from cocoa), blue mountain coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice.  It was hard to choose but I did. I had some fried corn pork with yellow yam, boiled banana and fried dumpling.  I had not had fried corned pork in over 15 years. It was good. While eating breakfast I could not stop thinking of what I would do next. I was excited with anticipation to tour the property. Not the rooms but the relics that lined one side of the property.  Some of the relics date back to the 17 century. This is why Alhambra Inn was on my Jamaica “bucket list”. Mr. Clarke had collect relics and antiques from all around Jamaica and brought them to the property. It was like walking through a nostalgic museum. There were old sign of everything you can think about. I can try to describe it but I think my pictures below tell the story. I will do a story on Alhambra Inn because I believe it is an intriguing story.

I could not get enough of the Alhambra Inn but we had to go. We had our afternoon flight. I was back to my wife aunt’s house to pack. As usual we take back more than we carried as relatives give us all types of Jamaica food to take back home to our family. 

We got to the airport early expecting the flight to be delayed which is typical of Air Jamaica. The flight was on time. As we took off we were a little exhausted but satisfied with the trip. You can see Kingston like a tourist and enjoy it.

About the author

Xavier Murphy