This hotel is a part of a hotel 'group'. Originally I was to stay in another hotel in the group - the Virginia Hotel because I was not interested in the beach so didn't need a hotel which was right on the beach. But when I emailed Booking.com that I needed a first floor room, someone called me and changed the reservation to the more accessible Congress Hall. This hotel is almost right on the beach (if you count the parking lot, it is right on the beach)
We found our way in the entrance that I could do with the scooter, and checked in. I asked the girl at the desk what time the lighthouse was open (the AAA book said 'various times') and she gave us a big glossy magazine type of book which was about Cape May but didn't have any information about the times of the lighthouse either.
We went up to the room - the hotel was built after the Civil War and is huge. We have a town view room. The elevator is very good for someone on a scooter. You go in on the first floor, and when the elevator gets to your floor, the back door opens and you can just go forward right out (instead of having to back out), Bob brought up the luggage and parked the car. They have valet parking but you don't have to use it. However if you don't use it is a long walk back to the hotel.
Unique Quality: Each door to the room has a wooden louvered door in front of it which makes it even more difficult to get out with the scooter because there are two different doors to hold open and when I am through the door, it bangs behind me.
We had a comfortable room with a view of a beautiful Victorian house across the street. It had two queen beds which were comfortable, but I had a hard time getting to sleep because the covers were tucked in so tight that I could not pull them out. I need to be able to stick a foot out of the covers at night to sleep.
The hotel had the old style pedestal sink (with no room to put anything), and they hid the light switch on the outside of the half
wall at one end of the tub. (claw foot of course). I couldn't find it and Bob had to tell me where it was.
There was good internet and I got Bob logged onto it (he took his iPad with him for the first time), and when I looked it up on the internet I found the hours for the lighthouse.
Directions: Garden State to Exit "0", to 109 South (Lafayette Street). Ends at Jackson Street Turn left and immediately turn right onto Mansion Street.Turn left onto Perry Street. Make first right onto Congress Place
Worth the stay
Stayed here at the start of the Christmas season last year. Comfy, peaceful rooms full of charm. You get the feeling you are staying in the guestroom of a large oceanfront private home. Not lots of furniture in the room, but that's part of the charm of it. Carpeting reminiscent of old fashioned rag rugs and large windows that open out onto a private balcony. Uncompromised ocean views. The bed was one of the most comfortable I have slept in. The bathroom featured an old-fashioned claw-foot type tub, rescued and restored from the building when it was being refurbished. It was super-deep and roomy and made for one relaxing bath. The front desk staff was friendly and helpful. We ate at the Blue Pig, and while the restaurant was a little too dark for my taste, the food was good.
Unique Quality: The restoration of this beautiful, big hotel was right on the money. They didn't try to modernize the features, but instead brought it back to its historical roots. There are several shops located on the ground level, and a day spa. It's right off Washington Street with it's touristy shopping mall, and a short walk across the front lawn takes you to the small boardwalk and the ocean beyond. Because of the time we stayed, (December - mid-week) there were not a lot of rooms taken. However, the building has a solid feel to it and feels like the rooms would be fairly quiet even if the hotel was booked.
"The Summer Whitehouse ~ Congress Hall "
On our last day trip to Cape May, I finally got to visit the recently restored "Congress Hall" hotel. Unlike any other hotel in Cape May, Congress Hall has no Victorian architectural features!! It is an expanisve L-shaped, 4-story building with porticoes the entire length of the building at the 3rd story level which makes it look something like Mount Vernon (George Washington's Virginia home) or the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan. All this charm and it's facing the ocean --- the "porch" is a fantastic place to sit in one of the many rockers for guests and while away the hours in peaceful bliss. Lovely gardens surround the and pool, but the ocean is always the primary object for view.
Inside is just as fabulous. High ceilings accent the grandness of proportion in this historical hotel which has hosted past presidents such as Grant, Pierce and Buchanan. Benjamin Harrison made Congress Hall his "Summer Whitehouse"* from which he conducted affairs of state directly from this hotel.
Congress Hall has 108 rooms and 5 deluxe suites. All rooms have private bath, ac, color TV, DVD players Iron/Ironing Boards, hairdryers Aveda bath products and too many other features to mention here. Many, but not all, rooms face the ocean.
The hotel also "The Boiler Room" nightspot with live jazz, not to mention a Spa on the premises. What more can you ask for!
Unique Quality: One of the several features that I really liked about Congress Hall was the The Brown Room. This is the cozy bar on the main floor which connects the lobby with the dining wing of the hotel. With the walls painted a deep brown, a beautiful heavy wood and marble bar, bookcases, fireplace, plush furniture and striking faux-zebra stripped rug, this room is my idea of elegance and a great place for before dinner drinks or a nightcap. The Brown Room also has live music on some nights.
Let's not forget the Blue Pig Tavern. This is the hotel's restaurant featuring 2 sepate dining areas, each with its own decor, and one gorgeous little outside dining area.
Last but not least, room rates are almost always a concern. This can be an expensive place, but it is a memorable place. Rates start at $100 for midweek, off-season dates, probably with no view. Check the hotel's website for current rates, and specials if any. I am considering a fall weekend here, when the weather is still beautiful but the tourist season is over!!
NOTE: Don't buy anything from the gift shop at this hotel! The prices are exhorbitant. I forgot my camera on our most recent day trip and decided to buy a disposable one from Tommy's at Congress Hall. My $13.95 + tax got me the cheapest and worst disposable camera I've ever bought. The film must have been very old & the flash didn't work!! I only knew this after I had the film developed!
Directions: Less than 1 block from Washington Street Mall, and facing the Atlantic Ocean.
Historic hotel by the Ocean
Cape May at Christmas time is a festive sight! The Victorian homes are all decked out in their holiday finest and off season prices become a reality. We spent part of our Christmas holiday at Congress Hall a couple of years ago and as recently as a few days ago.
The historic hotel was built in 1816 first as a boarding house. By 1878 it had doubled in size, but a fire destroyed it. A year later it was rebuilt and continued serving as a hotel. There was a renovation in 1920 but after time it declined in use and appearance. It was eventually used as part of Cape May Bible Conference from 1968-1995. Then it was bought by the present owner and renovated once again.
Congress Hall overlooks a wide, sandy beach. It's within walking distance to The Washington Mall, a shopping area opened only to pedestrians. The rooms are pretty and simply furnished. There is an outdoor swimming pool, a fitness room and full service spa.
The Blue Pig Tavern is located off the lobby and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are also several upscale shops on the ground level.
Unique Quality: Proximity to Washington Mall and other Cape May sights--a historic hotel
Directions: Garden St. Pkway. turns into Lafayette; go thru 2 lts. to end. At Jackson turn left and immed.rt. onto Mansion St. Go to stop sign, left at Perry, rt. to Congress Place.
Nearby Congress Hall
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Emlen Physick House. 0.9 miles away
Cape May Lighthouse 1.8 miles away
Cold Spring Village 2.7 miles away
Turdo Vineyards 2.9 miles away
We've found that other people looking for this hotel also know it by these names:
- Congress Hall Cape May
Address: 251 Beach Avenue, Cape May, New Jersey, 08204, United States
14 Photos of Congress HallView Professional Photos
Amenities at Congress Hall
- Swimming Pool
- Wheelchair Accessible
- Room Service
- Fitness Center
- Free Parking
- Business Services
- Kids Activities
- Free High Speed Internet
- Bar / Lounge
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