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“Charming. Exceeded Expectations!”
Review of Congress Hall

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Congress Hall
Ranked #4 of 37 Hotels in Cape May
Certificate of Excellence
Cherry Hill, New Jersey
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Charming. Exceeded Expectations!”
Reviewed 5 June 2010

Those that are expecting corporate elegance in the form of cookie cutter rooms that look the same in Minnesota as they do in Miami will not be impressed by Congress Hall. Congress Hall garners its charm from the uniqueness of it's Victorian style while not trying to compete with the bed and breakfast capital of the world that is Cape May. The turquoise blue/green paint color of the interior rooms is calming and appropriate for people who cannot stomach the flowery chintz of the nearby bed and breakfasts.
It is one of a kind in its own right. Yes, the floors tilt and creek sometimes but this is what you expect and want in Cape May, NJ. The hotel did an amazing job of renovating this hotel just enough for it to feel like an upscale resort while still maintaining the integrity of its historic, seaside beachy feel.

We stayed during the christmas season and were amazed at the attention to detail in the lobby and public spaces. The Christmas tree was one of the most amazing I had ever seen as its large, non-traditional shape was a perfect scale for the space. We just couldn't take our eyes off of it. The whole lobby was decked out in branches decorated with what looked liked ice crystals but was not gaudy or over the top. The breakfast at the Blue Pig Tavern exceeded our expectations as the eggs benedict was one of the best we had ever eaten. This hotel has enough charm even without the beach as we did not miss it at all. When we stay here again this spring, the beach will be an added bonus! Not many shore hotels can boast this claim.

The only downside to this hotel is the bloated price during the peak summer months which can exceed 400 per night. We have been lucky to stay here during the off-season and have taken advantage of sites such as priceline in order to make our vacation at this beautiful historic landmark more affordable. But then again, everything in New Jersey is overpriced so this should not surprise anyone.

We are looking forward to our stay tomorrow night for the beginning of the summer season!

  • Stayed December 2009, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank JSass
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Newark, New Jersey
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 May 2010

Just got back from a weekend at Congress Hall and was very pleased. Great location in center of the action and right across the street from the beach. Free valet parking was a plus too. Our room on the 3rd floor had a great ocean view and was a good size. Bathroom had walk-in shower and a separate tub. Carpet was a little dated, but overall the room was nice and had a nice B&B charm to it. Staff was friendly also.

We got a last minute rate of about $114 and $144 per night on the weekend, so it was a great value as well, even if it was still off-season. It seems like a lot of weddings are here, so it can be a little noisy at night, so maybe get a room on the other side of the hotel if you think it could be a problem.

Many shops and restaurants are a 1 minute walk away. I would definitely recommend!

  • Stayed April 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank goingfor50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Westfield, New Jersey
Level 6 Contributor
129 reviews
57 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 May 2010

My wife and stayed for two nites for our 5th anniversary.

Off season, we got what we thought was a great rate, as Orbitz had the room at 180 per nite (Fri ad Sat) when every other site was averaging 220. When we checked in, we asked what kind of bed and were told a queen size. When we got to the room, not only did we find that we had a double bed, but when we came back to sleep, we found that we were right over the ballroom where there were weddings both Friday and Saturday night, but our window was directly next to a big air conditioning unit (you know, the kind that are sitting outside your house) - I'll post a picture, difficult to believe. The last annoyance was the shower in the 1950's outfitted bathroom had a trickle for water pressure (not sure if this is hotel wide or only in our room). My wife and I kept joking that we were punished for this good rate by having been given the worst room in the hotel, which couldn't possibly have been full, given that we were off season.

On the plus side, the bed was very comfy, even though smaller than promised, the room spotless, and the bar tending staff in the main bar were friendly and efficient. The hotel itself is a great older building, from a different era, very stylish. We did not go to the restaurants, other than the coffee shop. The hotel is perfectly located, right across from the beach, and next to the pedestrian shopping mall.

When we checked out and mentioned the noise, the desk clerk immediately took $50 off the bill for our inconvenience, which was not only appreciated, but the only reason why this review isn't completely negative.

  • Stayed May 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank ggtirevite
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SF Bay Area, California
Level 5 Contributor
56 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 87 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 April 2010

Some travelers like hotels that are part of the large multi-national brands, some like traditional B&Bs. What's special about Congress Hall is the fact that it combines the best from both worlds - it took an architecturally distinct local landmark, retained its character but updated it to give it the modern convenience and style many of us appreciate. I love the bright colors that furnish the public areas and the guest rooms, the antique furniture, and the doors and floors. The grounds are imposing.

As for the specifics, we arrived before the 3pm check in time, and they were unable to let us check into the room until exactly at 3pm. All the reception desk staff were professional but a couple were not particularly friendly.

The rooms are very spacious - the rooms in the main building are almost 50% bigger than most hotel rooms, and nicely furnished with free wifi access. The beds and liner are very comfortable. The bathrooms are beautiful and functional. Aside from the main door, there is another shutter door which blocks the hallway noises, and makes it very quiet in the room.

The concierge is a very nice lady who provided very helpful suggestions on restaurants and things to do.

There is a great Breakfast Restaurant next to the hotel, I think it's called Uncle Bill's Pancake Place. Great selection and good price.

The hotel is right on the beach drive, with the beach 100 steps away. Off season, the long promenade was not crowded at all, and was a wonderful place to walk, run or just hang out.

  • Stayed April 2010, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank spiderkitties
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lancaster
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 April 2010

My wife and I made our 2nd trip to Congress Hall within 12 months. We visited last summer, but cannot make a summer trip this year, so we went the week after April. The hotel is simply beautiful and has so much "old world charm." Valet parking is nice, along with complimentary coffee your first night, and complimentary NY Times each morning. If you like a hotel that always has the feeling of "there's something going on," then this is the hotel for you. When we were there, there was a wedding and reception. It didn't hinder our stay, but the music could be heard until around 10-11 PM.
The bottom line with this hotel is this - (and a few others touched on this) - both times my wife and I stayed at CH, we were able to get an online deal they offer from time to time. Our room was suppose to be 200, but we got it for 115. In the summertime, our 300 room was only 175. If money is NO ISSUE for you, then it doesn't matter, but for those who don't have a money tree in our backyard, CH may be difficult to stay multiple nights for some people. In peak season, unless you have serious dough, don't even bother looking for oceanview rooms - they're going for about 600+. So, overall, WE LOVE THIS HOTEL, but all the stars have to be aligned in the universe for us to be able to stay our usual 2 night stay in Cape May. The location for this hotel CANNOT be beat...it's in the HEART of the historic district. Overall, highly recommended, but you better open up your wallet if you can't get an online deal/sale.

  • Stayed April 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank lancguy1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Maryland
2 reviews
Reviewed 15 April 2010

This is a wonderful old hotel rebuilt after fire in the early 1900's and more recently updated. Great location, great service. The rooms are nice but not outstanding. The beds and bathrooms were totally acceptable but not considered modern. The hotel has a really nice bar area with a fireplace and couches and lounges. Very nice to relax and have a drink before dinner. The Blue Pig Restaurant is right next to it and also a very nice atmosphere and good food. Prices are on par with any other good restaurant. The only complaint is that noise travels from room to room and from the outside. I don't think they knew much about insulation in 1905. The inside annex view rooms that are the cheapest have a view if the inland road. Not that bad and a lot cheaper than the ocean view. You can always go out to the large ocean side court yard or chairs they have set up at the end of the property nearest the ocean. So I wouldn't spend the extra money on the ocean view rooms. Also, I think the rooms at the end of the building would be quieter. We had a flag pole clanking in the middle of the night right outside our room. Over all, a very nice place to stay.

  • Stayed April 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank RetrieverPatton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago, Illinois
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 April 2010

Even though it was one of the worst weather weekends in years on the Jersey Shore with horrible winds and rain we enjoyed every moment of our trip. It made our stay at the Congress Hall even more wonderful because we actually got to enjoy the hotel and our room. Our room had an ocean-view room that I am sure is great in summer because it also had a lovely balcony. The room was decorated beautifully - exactly as you would want your hotel by the beach to look - very serene and calm and lovely. It had high ceilings and beautiful old moldings and charm. The bed was amazing!!!! It was really hard to get out of because it was so comfortable with crisp white linens, fluffy pillows and a great mattress! The bathroom although small had a large shower and we enjoyed the charm. They have a coffee shop in the lobby and they even gave us free vouchers to get whatever we wanted for each night. We did want to go the bar and have a drink on Saturday night but had to pass because it was so crowded and there was no where to sit. I would love to go back to this hotel anytime of year and especially when you can go to the beach because it is so close.

  • Stayed March 2010, travelled on business
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Helpful?
1 Thank JBinIL
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
#3 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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