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“Excellent period hotel”
Review of Congress Hall

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Congress Hall
Ranked #6 of 37 Hotels in Cape May
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 20 March 2014

A beautifully restored 19th century hotel with all the amenities of the 21st century. Architects did a bang up job, and resisted the temptation to go over the top with needless frufru. Wonderful spacious rooms and baths, decorated with just the right touch that makes them feel like authentic 19th cent spaces.We were here off season (March) so hard to comment on staff and service as the hotel had few guests and wasn't stressed at all, but everything we wanted or needed was quickly supplied. Food at the hotel was very good in a nice tavern room with a roaring fireplace. Our front facing 3rd floor room had a great ocean view. Room was quiet, bath had a wonderful old bathtub made for soaking, elegant hexagonal, marble tile floor. In short, a great experience.

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Jxstr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 19 March 2014

What a delightful, beautiful and luxurious hotel! We spent 2 nights here thanks to a TravelZoo promotion. Our room on the fourth floor was gorgeous with a view of the ocean (even from the bed)! The linens and mattress were luxurious and comfy! We really enjoyed relaxing on the large cushioned window seat overlooking the Atlantic! :) The bathroom had been recently renovated and was absolutely gorgeous! We understand that not all baths have been renovated, so be sure to ask for a room with one! The front desk staff and room caretakers were all very friendly and helpful.

We had a wonderful time tromping through Cape May during the big 9.1" snowstorm! This town is fabulous during every season of the year! If you haven't experienced a visit to the beach during a snowstorm, then this is a must for you!

Room Tip: Ask for an ocean view room with a newly renovated bathroom.
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank bouncingbunny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 February 2014

Our stay at Congress Hall over Valentine's Day Weekend was a bit disappointing. We were booking two rooms and called on the phone to do so. My first surprise was their requiring a 50% of the stay as a deposit. I am accustomed to deposits equaling the first nights stay, but 50% of the whole stay I thought was a bit excessive. Surprise # 2 came as the clerk told me of their cancellation policy. From 21 days out to 4 days out, they charge a $75 cancellation fee, per room, and then give you a voucher for the balance of your deposit. So in effect, if you cancel you lose your deposit. Cancelling within 4 days? You lose the cost of the whole trip. The restaurant, The Blue Pig Tavern, has a similar customer unfriendly cancellation policy. When making a reservation, they ask for a credit card. If you do not show up they will charge the card $20 per person.
The day before our trip we received 18 inches of snow and I was really sweating whether we would be able to go. Luckily the roads were cleared and we didn't have to cancel.
Arriving in Cape May, which was 100 mile from home and snowless, we pulled up to the Congress Hall. The Valet service was friendly and quick, check in went smoothly, and we went to our rooms.
The hotel, built in the 1880s, had the look and feel of a trip back in time. The rooms, were sparsely furnished with a bed, desk and chair, easy chair, and minibar. The first thing we noticed was a definite and pronounced slope in the floor, going from the front to the middle of the building. The doors to our adjoining room was so warped and swollen that it was difficult to open, and then once opened, impossible to lock when closed. A real refrigerator and a coffeemaker would have been welcomed additions to the furnishings. We discovered a wonderful sitting area on the main staircase between the second and third floors. With large windows that faced the ocean, it was a delightful place to sit and chat with a cocktail.
We had dinner that night at the Blue Pig Tavern, the restaurant in the hotel, and it was good. The service was great, the food average, but a bit pricey. We also ate breakfast each day at the tavern. Our room package included a $20 voucher that almost covered the cost of two breakfasts. Most breakfast entree items were in the $10 - $12 range.
Our rooms were on the third floor at the top of the staircase. We found that the noise from the bar traveled up, and was easily heard in our rooms. If I ever went back, I would be sure to book rooms at the opposite end of the hallway.
When we went to bed that night the sloping floor was noticeable when we got into bed.
The bathrooms, had no hooks for clothes, which would have been an easy addition making guests a little more comfortable.
So in the end, in spite of a just average hotel, we had a great weekend in Cape May, shopping, taking a winery tour, and climbing the Cape May Lighthouse. The Congress Hall was just okay. If we were to go back, I don't think I would stay there again. I don't think the "historic" ambiance is worth the money they charge, especially when it comes to the sparseness of the rooms.

Room Tip: Be sure to ask for rooms on the Spa end of the building away from the bar noise.
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  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank bhicks1052
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CHCapeMay, Manager at Congress Hall, responded to this reviewResponded 20 March 2014

Dear Guest,

Thank you for your comments, we value all feedback in order to improve our services. While our deposit and cancellation policy may be different from other hotel companies, most resort hotels will typically enforce a stricter advance deposit policy since they are a destination property. We do our best to make that clear when we have new bookings since we do want to accommodate our guests the best we can without costing them a deposit. Although we do not guarantee reservations due to weather conditions, if it were deemed necessary to cancel due to dangerous conditions or states of emergency we are more considerate of the cancellation policy under those circumstances and do our best to work with guests to make all parties happy. We hold similar standards in our restaurant, The Blue Pig Tavern, and typically require a credit card for holidays and large parties since we are preparing to serve a large crowd. We may require a credit card if the hotel is full and restaurant is busy, but would never charge a guest without stating our policy to them first.

We thank you for your feedback and will certainly take all points mentioned into consideration.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 February 2014

My husband and I were invited to a wedding here over President's weekend. Since we live in New Jersey, trips to Cape May have always been to the beach and staying at friends. Congress Hall was a lovely place to stay. The restaurants were excellent, and the breakfast options at The Blue Pig were excellent (buttered croissant sandwich and fresh made green juice).

The hotel is shifting so it is pretty interesting to feel like you are walking sideways sometime, but honestly it just led a little more to the charm of the place. The prices were not cheap (even for a wedding block), but the rooms were very clean, the bathroom was spotless and had wonderful Aveda products. We stayed in an annex room and it was fine, nothing special, but we didn't' pay for anything special. The beds were very comfortable. The room however was quite small and definitely only big enough for one couple.

All in all we enjoyed our stay (and quick getaway from our 2 year old). My husband even said he would maybe like to go back another time and he was impressed. We would definitely recommend.

Room Tip: I would try to recommend an non-annex room that is a bit further away from the main bar area.
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  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank ChristineFriedauer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 February 2014

Because of a late change in plans, my wife and I ended up staying at Congress Hall for Christmas vacation. It turned out to be a wonderful and very Christmasy experience! We spent four nights in a room overlooking the hotel's 35 foot Christmas Tree on the Great Lawn, with the colorful Shopping Village and the ocean as background. While the building is very old and a bit quirky, i.e. uneven wooden floors, we really enjoyed the Holiday adventure. All of our meals, including Christmas dinner, were eaten in "The Blue Pig Tavern" and added another great touch Christmas touch. We will definitely return to Congress Hall and Cape May for Christmas!

Room Tip: Second floor facing the Great Lawn and the ocean.
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  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Dondzi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 February 2014

Beautiful hotel in a great location. Although I didn't like the all the up and down steps just to get to the room after taking the elevator then down a long hallway. Not for those who have a hard time with steps. The private deck was big and over looked the ocean, just a shame all the bulky power lines took over the view. And the kitchen is very tiny. Its located a few steps from shopping at some of the cutest gift stores and restaurants along Washington street. The Blue Pig Tavern inside the Congress hall was nice but pricey. They state its kid friendly but honestly I didn't see anything for kids, my 11 and 12 year old would have been bored. The gift shops in the hotel were very expensive I'd be afraid to take kids in them. Would I stay there again? Not sure...

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled with family
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1  Thank Julie C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 January 2014

This was our first week long stay at Congress Hall. We normally go for small weekend trips in the Fall or during Christmas. Overall really nice time! Loved the complimentary beach set up with towels, chairs and umbrellas. Blue Pig is also never a disappointment for breakfast and dinner. A few things in the room could be updated. Our room was very dusty, with cobwebs on the lamps. Noticed a lot of scuff marks on the walls. Still, overall, Congress Hall is in a great location and is always a fun experience.

  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank WDWfan80
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Congress Hall

Address: 200 Congress Place, Cape May, NJ 08204-5306
Region: United States > New Jersey > Jersey Shore > Cape May County > Cape May
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Luxury Hotel in Cape May
#4 On the Beach Hotel in Cape May
#8 Family Hotel in Cape May
#11 Romantic Hotel in Cape May
Price Range: £90 - £256 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Congress Hall 4*
Number of rooms: 106
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Congress Hall in Cape May is America's First and Oldest Seaside Resort Hotel. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Congress Hall Cape May, New Jersey

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