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
My husband and I recently spent a weekend down Cape May and love Congress Hall. The hotel itself is beautiful with nostalgic Victorian charm. It's always the place to be and found it crowded for the off-season.
We stayed in a regular King room on 3rd floor which was super quiet and very much enjoyed our town-side view. Food was very good as well and ate in the Blue Pig Tavern on first night and room service was also great.
Most stores are open on main strip and got to enjoy the Congress Hall tour. It's only $5 but definitely worth it! We finally were able to understand the history of building and our tour guide was very informative and fun. A sure "must-do"!
The only items to me that felt short was I wanted a special Birthday surprise for husband birthday. Concierge although friendly and helpful, dropped the ball on setting up birthday surprise for my husband after I emailed back and forth several time before check-in. Another issue was with valet, the front desk was reluctant to give my husband his car keys on check-out day so he could load the car with our luggage. I found this odd and also we generously tipped the valet staff a few times we took our car out.
Overall, I like the Congress Hall and will definitely stay there again. It's the heart of everything in Cape May and love the atmosphere.
Room was nice and the floors go down hill! Just what you would expect from a vintage grand hotel. Food was very good, despite being off season. Rates were very competitive and you can negotiate off season.
My boyfriend and I finally stayed at Congress Hall after many years of visiting Cape May. It’s almost impossible to get a decent priced room in the summer so we visited in March. We stayed in the king ocean view room and it was nice. I enjoyed the decor of the room. My favorite part was the separate bathtub. Definitely a cozy and comfortable room.
Only downside was that they delivered a fruit and cheese platter to our room when it was supposed to go to someone else. Whoever delivered it left our door open while we were out for several hours. When we called to tell the front desk, they apologized and came to take the platter. They should’ve let us keep it for the inconvenience of leaving our door open. :)
This is a reporting to correct a typo.
We’ve been coming here every year for Presidents Weekend ever since the hotel reopened in about 2002. The staff is friendly and the rooms are clean and well maintained for this old hotel. Don’t expect opulence but it is comfortable. One of the main reasons we stay here is for the nice evening music and drinks in the Brown Room. Imagine our dismay to arrive this year to discover the room to be closed for renovations. Yes, we could have gone downstairs to the Boiler Room but the music is very loud and the ambiance more like a low light disco. We wouldn’t have cancelled our reservations but it would have been a nice gesture for management to give us notice that the Brown Room might not be open in time—even though it was used for a wedding!
IT is so nice if you do not want to drive everywhere amd just stay close by. The Blue Pig Restaurant, The Brown Room Lounge, The Boiler Room Bar , the Spa, the Lobby , The grounds are all just great places to hang without leaving the building. The beach, All the nice stores are within walking distance as are excellent restaurants and boutique shops. It is a lovely getaway. Even though it was winter in a beach town, we loved it.