What We Love
- The Jetsetter rate includes daily continental breakfast
- The sprawling Great Lawn has a private pool and plentiful Adirondack chairs
- A curated design that pairs antiques with chic beach style
- The Brown Room, a lively Old Havana–style bar and lounge, encourages socializing
- Free WiFi and valet parking
What To Know
- The beach is across the street from the hotel, and badges ($7 per day) are required to use it
- Cabana rentals cost $100 per day, but chairs and umbrellas are free
- The historic hotel has thin walls; the quietest rooms are located in the spa wing, away from the lobby and bars
- Popular for weddings and large gatherings
- Free WiFi
- Kids Club
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
Originally built in 1816, Congress Hall gets its name from its original owner, Congressman Thomas H. Hughes. Transformed in its early years from a boarding house to a summer White House for President Benjamin Harrison, the hotel has seen its share of history, which has been stylishly preserved through photographs and memorabilia that mix with Colleen Bashaw’s amusing and colorful design. Part rambling beach house, part chic retreat, the hotel has 108 unique rooms — complete with sloping floors — that are painted in beach colors accented by bright white trim. The beds are outfitted with plush Belgian linens, while the white tile bathrooms feature cotton robes and Aveda bath products. The Ebbitt Room is headed by executive chef Anthony Micari and serves farm-to-table fare such as roasted Amish chicken with marble potatoes, spring onions, wild mushrooms and natural jus. And with an underground nightclub in the hotel’s former boiler room, plus a lively Havana-inspired lobby bar, the property is geared to the social set. Yet guests can find solitude in the rocking chairs on the terrace, among the Adirondack chairs on the Great Lawn, or at the yellow-and-white-striped Sea Spa.
In the Area
Guests can stroll the Washington Street Mall, a pedestrian-friendly stretch of boutiques, cafés and ice cream shops. Step up to the bar inside Bath Time to mix a custom scent from the apothecary-style selection of oils. Wander Jackson Street to view meticulously maintained Victorians, such as the elegant Virginia Hotel, where you can sip a crafted cocktail on the porch before dinner at the romantic Ebbitt Room. Tiny Louisa’s Café is an elusive BYOB gem with a blackboard menu that usually includes local bluefish. Work up your pre-dinner appetite with a bike ride to Cape May’s historic lighthouse — it’s 199 steps to the top.
How to Get There
We return to Congress Hall twice a year for the Exit Zero Jazz Festival (if you like jazz, check it out).
This last time we decided to give the Congress Place Suites a try.
The folks that own Congress Hall bought the building across the street (on the Washington Street Mall), and renovated the second floor into 4 different suites. We were in one of the balcony suites, a large suite with separate bedroom (with door), kitchen, dining area, and living room area.
It was a little quieter than the main building (which we dearly love), but only a couple of dozen steps to get to the Blue Pig, the Brown Room, Boiler Room, etc.
If you are traveling with kids (or another couple), and want access to a kitchen for an extended stay, this is your place. Just know that you'll have to get you, your family, and your bags up the stairs: Everything is on the second floor, and there are no elevators.
We've already booked our fall visit.
Avoid here for the time being unless you can committ. Have stayed here in the past and had a lovely time but the staff is not what it used to be. Had to cancel months ago and reservation manager was really rude. She bluntly questioned my parenting skills and lectured me instead of showing me any compassion.
The cancellation policy is fine but the way it is inforced is not. Please I advise you only to make plans if you know you can go. If not and you need to cancel try not to deal with the reservation manager she is not kind and not cut out for hospitality. Many other places in Cape May that treat their returning guests correctly.
A perfect hotel located in a most magnificent spot. Exquisitely appointed room with the charm and character that brings you back to colonial times but updated with USB charging stations, free WIFI and lovely toiletries. Everyone is kind and pleasant.
I was pleasantly surprise with this hotel. It is in a beautiful location by the sea and the main quaint, little shopping area in Cape May. The meeting facility was good and the food they served is for dinner was above par. It has a really nice hotel bar. The rooms were in a historic hotel but excellently updated with modern amenities.
We enjoyed the surroundings of the 150 year old building with all its uneven floors and lounging space with ocean views. The only reason I didn’t give it higher ratings was the incessant and loud noise from the “old machinery” just below our window. It lasted all night and made it a bit difficult to sleep.