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
- Handicap Accessible
- 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
Congress Hall has been on our bucket list for years. Our visit this month did not disappoint!
We started with a great check in process with complimentary valet parking and friendly front desk staff.
We stayed in a Junior Suite, Room #330. It was a very nice room. Lots of character with its unlevel floors and period furniture.
The entire hotel was very clean and well kept inside and outside. Location was perfect and right in the heart of all the to do's in Cape May.
Restaurants and Room Service were all very good and the bartenders in the Brown Room and The Boiler Room were great!
The beach service was a real treat, chairs, loungers, tables and umbrellas...just tell them what you need and where you want it and they take it there and set it all up for you!
It is not the cheapest Hotel in Cape May but it is competitively priced with other units in the same area and you just cant beat the character of this hotel.
If I were to say one thing bad it would be that the staff uses the same elevators as the guests. This might not be a problem normally but there was one elevator out of service when we visited. That left just one elevator for guests and staff who usually had very large carts with them for linens etc.
We recommend staying here and will return ourselves next year.
With the exception of being surprised with a check in time of 4pm instead of 3pm, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay. Congress Hall was so convenient as far as location and amenities. If you stay off peak season, you may want to call ahead to confirm certain activities being available.
We had a great time at the hotel, the room we received was very nice with a great deck facing the ocean. Service was friendly and quick. The pool is heated I assume as the water was very warm considering it was beginning of October.