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“Terrific Even Off Season”
Review of Congress Hall

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Congress Hall
Ranked #3 of 37 Hotels in Cape May
Certificate of Excellence
Madison, Connecticut
Level Contributor
14 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
“Terrific Even Off Season”
Reviewed 19 March 2009

We arrived on a cold, rainy day in mid-March, resigned to spending more time indoors than out. The hotel was finishing renovations in its spa area and the balcony room we'd chosen would have been noisy, so the manager graciously moved us to a wonderful room on the top floor with two window seats overlooking the ocean. Watching the waves from the window seat with a novel in hand was almost as good as lounging on the beach on a warm summer day (well, maybe not quite, but at least we could easily imagine some warmth!).

Our room (432) was quite generous in size. The comfy king size bed had freshly-ironed high-thread-count linens. Towels were numerous, new and thick. The big marble and tile bathroom had a large shower and a separate soaking tub, also with views of the ocean. Room decor is perfect for the beach (wicker chairs, pastel colors, white furniture). Everything was spotlessly clean.

The entry and reception area looked a bit tired and staff was sparse for the winter, but the hospitality and service level soon made us forget our wary first impression The lounge was both sophisticated and cozy; we enjoyed drinks and snacks by the fire there each evening. Because it was still winter, many of the area restaurants were closed, so we had most of our meals at the on-site Blue Pig Tavern. Virtually every morsel of food was extraordinary. The signature eggs benedict was especially noteworthy. Appetizers, entrees, breads, drinks and desserts were all were all top-notch as was the presentation and service. The Blue Pig boasts lovely fresh linens, china and silver but in a very comfortable, informal setting with lots of windows and mirrors.

The value was excellent - we had a special package that included free cocktails and breakfast. My husband had some work to do and was disappointed by the absence of a business center, but this is a vacation place and the front desk staff generously helped him with faxes and there is free wi-fi throughout the building. There was a DVD player in the room and DVDs were available but at a cost of $5 per night. There is no in-room coffee maker or refrigerator, but there was free freshly-brewed coffee and tea with big paper cups downstairs each morning. Room service was available, although we didn't use it. The hotel shops looked quite nice, but they were shuttered.

This was our first trip to Cape May. Off-season it's quiet and relaxing and has much to recommend it - if we return, it will be in warmer weather, but to this hotel. It's within easy walking to just about everywhere you might want to go except the harbor (and that would require only a 5-minute drive). As noted, the value and service were matchless.

  • Stayed March 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Much2Learn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (340)
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English first
Philly
Level Contributor
26 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 December 2008

We have just returned from a couple nights at the Congress Hall. The hotel is just beautiful. We booked via Priceline and got an incredible rate on this gorgeous old hotel. Our room was of adequate size with a queen-size bed; the bathroom was huge. Everything was clean, comfortable, nicely decorated and furnished. Staff friendly and helpful. We had an ocean view, which was also beautiful. Maid service twice daily. All in all, a wonderful experience.

  • Stayed December 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank LisaAC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Falls Church, Virginia
Level Contributor
66 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 105 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 November 2008

We stayed at Congress Hall on a Thanksgiving Package that included a King ocean view room, breakfast in the Blue Pig Tavern (the onsite restaurant) every morning, and Thanksgiving dinner.

We arrived on Thanksgiving day for a 4 night stay.

The room was a bit disappointing to me. I think that is because In the picture I saw on Congress Hall's website there was a little window seat in the room and we didn't get one of those. I had pictured the room in the picture and it just wasn't what we got. We were in 304. The furniture is a little tired -- there were a lot of nicks in the black paint on a table. The floors are very slanted -- but that goes with the territory when you are staying in a property this old. The bed was very comfortable. NIce mini bar. The bathrooms are charming, they have very old black and white tile and a big old-fashioned bathtub in them. Aveda bath products, including bath salts for the big tub are a nice touch.

The Thanksgiving dinner in the Blue Pig tavern was really, really good. I can't cook a turkey that well, and I can cook. I can't say enought good things about that turkey! The breakfasts were pretty good too. Service was excellent.

In the morning there is coffee in the Brown Room down off of the lobby and there was a roaring fire in there both mornings that we sat in front of for awhile with our coffee. That was great.

The not-so-goods? The lightswitch in the bathroom was grimy. And I mean grimy. I noticed it right away and it really turned me off. Also, the place is a little dead -- their fitness room was locked and the Cape May Spa on the first floor was vacant. I don't know if that is because it is off-season at the seashore or because the hotel is not doing so well. Either way, it doesn't look good.

This is a nice hotel, but if I came back I would probably stay in one of the many victorian B&Bs.

  • Liked — The views of the ocean
  • Disliked — Dirty lightswitch
  • Stayed November 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank fand
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
new zealand
Level Contributor
9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 October 2008

We had only booked for 2 nights but were so impressed that we stayed another night. This grand hotel was like stepping back in time with old fashioned service and beautiful surroundings. Staff were always helpful and the rooms were large and had great beds! We had a 4th floor room were ovely views over the beach.

  • Liked — the setting and gracious furnishings
  • Stayed October 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank sherylnewZealand
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Westchester County
Level Contributor
333 reviews
55 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 177 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 October 2008

I rarely use the “5” or “1” on these reviews because nearly all properties have to fall somewhere in the middle out of sheer statistical probability. However, I am going with the “5” on Congress Hall. In terms of location, out front is the beach and out back is the pedestrian mall. Although expensive there is nothing missing from the property: big, clean rooms, a great bar, two nice pools, rocking chairs on the porch, rocking chairs on the great lawn and a chair-and-umbrella setup service on the beach out front and a modern-retro night club called “The Boiler Room” in the basement. The décor brilliantly captures the history (it was first a hotel in 1816) yet also appears clean and modern. Unlike much of Cape May it delivers a sense of its history without feeling worn. The Blue Pig restaurant made a fabulous breakfast and the interior shops were friendly and well-thought out. Although I wouldn’t recommend Cape May as a vacation spot as strongly I would once have, if you going (and can afford it) stay at Congress Hall.

  • Liked — Location, location, location
  • Disliked — Pricey
  • Stayed September 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank thewestchestarian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
267 reviews
198 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 139 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 September 2008

Cape May is a great place for families. There are many good restaurants and quaint gift shops. The grounds at Congress Hall are really nice and lively. The rooms are in good condition (not great) and the location is ideal for a visit to Cape May.

  • Liked — Great locations. Lovely grounds.
  • Stayed September 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Happytravelinfamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Devon, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
11 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 September 2008

This hotel is great! My husband and I had stayed here once the summer of 2006, just to watch a friends' new baby while they attended a wedding here. But we decided to come back for an impromptu mid-week stay, just the two of us. This is a close drive for us (we're from the Philly burbs), just about 2 hours. And we find Cape May to be really charming, the complete opposite of other over-populated beach destinations on the NJ shore.
If you are looking for something brand-spanking new and contemporary, this hotel (and this town!) is not for you- everything here is a little vintage including the refinished tubs, marble slab counters, the old-fashioned rocking chairs on the porch and the demographic staying here! But by no means should this be a turn-off- this is a gorgeous hotel with great amenities like pool side service and beach service, including complementary set up and use of a CH umbrella, chairs and towels. And a lunch menu for oceanview noshing from their in-house restaurant, Blue Pig Tavern. This property is meticulously kept up, inside and out, and the location can't be beat. A beautiful stretch of beach out front, and Washington Street kitty corner from the valet area. Lots of great restaurants in walking distance, including Martini beach for tapas and the Mad Batter for breakfast on the porch.
September is a great time to visit, we heard it's mostly locals finally emerging after the hoards of summer tourists who are now 'back-to-school.' And the weather was really great!
As far as the rooms, they are refurbed the way you'd do it in your own home- vintage touches with modern comforts. Beachy colors are sweet, not psychedelic. We originally booked an Oceanview, but the room had two double beds so we opted for a Townview which was a corner room and I think we actually enjoyed it more! Opt for 2nd or 3rd floor- higher ceilings and I think the rooms are a little bigger. We booked too late for these, but still enjoyed our 4th floor room quite a bit.
Special bonus: awesome Aveda toiletries, including bath salts! You can bet I made room in my luggage for them to come home with me!
Congress Hall is a gem in the sweet Victorian town of Cape May- enjoy it!!

  • Stayed September 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank kmorgan475
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Congress Hall

Property: Congress Hall
Address: 200 Congress Place, Cape May, NJ 08204-5306
Phone Number:
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
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Cape May
#11 Romantic Hotel in Cape May
#12 Family Hotel in Cape May
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
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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