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“Get the meal plan” 3 of 5 stars
Review of The Chalfonte

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The Chalfonte
301 Howard St., Cape May, NJ 08204   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #24 of 42 Hotels in Cape May
Brooklyn, New York
Senior Contributor
43 reviews 43 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Get the meal plan”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 29, 2012

We spent a night in August. The room was a queen with a bath (shower actually) on the top floor. The place is over 100 years old with creaky floors and guests. Our room had central A/C it was small by contempoary standards. We opted for the meal plan $30 a head which was dinner and breakfast. Dinner was great, go with the crab cake and the sea food bisque, drinks and desert are extra. Breakfast was a buffet with the usually scrambled eggs and freshfruit, bacon etc. We enjoyed chillin' on the porch in the rockers watching the horse drawn carriage and bicyclists pass by. My main complaint is that the bill is unreadable, I asked the front desk what mt evening in the hotel cost me and she circled a number on the bill that is $50 less then my math. I hope my Am Ex bill agrees with her.

Room Tip: European bath has a toilet and shower in suite, shared baths are in the hall.
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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126 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (21)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
New York City, New York
Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 16, 2012

Just recently returned from a three day stay in Cape May.
First the good..... The hotel itself is charming and is in a wonderful location (near the beach and in a very lovely part of Cape May). The bed was comfortable and the food in the restaurant was pretty good. Also, some renovations took place and I really liked the shower stall. The porch rocking chairs are fun.
The bad..... You are not able to individually control the temperature in the room. It is great that the hotel now has air condtioning, but it was a little too cold for me. I did not spend much time in the room, but it was cold once out from under the covers.
Also...remember that it is not a bed and breakfast, so food is not included with the room rates.
T.V's are not in the rooms, but there is a communal tv on the main floor.
Wanted to give a higher rating..........but I was quite bothered by how cold my room was.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
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Chevy Chase, Maryland
Top Contributor
70 reviews 70 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 11, 2012

My first visit to Cape May has sold me on a return visit! The Chalfonte is truly charming -- an over-used description in a very charming town -- but true. My rundown on various aspects:
1. Architecture and Ambiance -- Charming; breezy, terrific porch to relax and chat
2. Rooms: Varied! Very, very varied! Stayed in two of the "suites." The first one was cramped without any charm; the second was great with a huge balcony. Friends stayed in the twin rooms -- the price of $100 is reflective of the small space and the bath down the hall. If you're cool with that, it's great. Advice: Get really specific when making your room reservation so you are happy and expectations are set and met.
3. Staff: Friendly, but FAR from accommodating; they are not going to do ANYTHING other than their specific jobs. Don't ask for help with this or that -- if it's not exactly what they do -- it's above their pay grade. Some staff didn't even know when breakfast was; how to get a horse buggy ride; and helping book a ferry ticket "Go to the library" doesn't feel very service-oriented. The over-all impression was that guests are lucky to be able to stay at the property.
4. Breakfast -- Really, really bland. AND it's from 8:30 am to 10:00 am -- too late for early beach goers and too short for those that like to sleep in. AND, coffee service while starting at 7am -- closed at 10 am as well!
5. Beds: All of us (twin rooms, suites) had really COMFY beds. The hotel is quiet and our sleep was fantastic.
I will return to Cape May -- but will select from the plethora of fantastic accommodations with equal charm. Enjoyed the stay -- but not worth repeating.

Room Tip: Do NOT call the 800 number. Call the hotel directly. Staff is good at describing the rooms.
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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West Grove, Pennsylvania
Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 8, 2012

Let's begin by saying that staying at the Chalfonte is supposed to be like a "trip back in time". It is NOT a "five star, modern" hotel, NOR does it want to be. It's old....REALLY old! That is the charm of staying here. It is clean and well maintained, it's just old!
This was our third visit over the last 10 years. Upgrades include AC in most rooms, but not all. (Ask!) Some are getting TVs. An obvious yield to tourist pressure. No phones!
The rooms are comfortable and well appointed. Maid service is timely and thorough. The front desk was quite friendly and helpful. The giant porch is wonderful for "hanging out". We recently (actually) enjoyed a rainy morning on the porch. The huge awnings did a great job of keeping the rain at bay! The breakfast buffet and Prix Fixe dinners are an amazing value! Their chefs and food have been covered by FoodTV, the New York Times, etc. The King Edward Bar is quite charming for a nightcap!
The only drawback, and it can be a serious one, is there is NO "dedicated" parking. On one occasion we had to park over a block away! The good news IS, if you are a "walker", there is really no reason to drive anywhere. It's 2 blocks to the beach and promenade. The walk to "the action" is a little longer, but within reason. I need a double knee job and I just walked it for a week, okay?
So, I highly recommend the Chalfonte. Just keep your expectations within reason and I think you will be delighted by the "Old World" charm!

Room Tip: Room 4 in the "Southern Quarters" has the only private, second story porch!
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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New York City, New York
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2012

Stayed 2 nights.

Very pleasant experience.

Drawback- no on premise parking, but it wasn't a huge inconvenience. Always managed to find parking within a block or two.

No TV except in TV room. For us this was a plus, as we didn't go to Cape May to stare into a TV.

WiFi is free, but only seems to work in certain areas - again, we didn't go to Cape May to spend time on puter.

Casual, easygoing, clean, charming place to stay.

Would recommend.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, Texas
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2012

If you've seen the movie of the title (without the Chalfonte) you'll understand when I say this hotel is very much an American "Marigold". It truly appears to be on its last legs— carpenter bees were eating away at the porch bannisters daily— but there is something quirky/charming and very relaxing about the place. Because things are a bit more shabby than chic, there are no pretenses. You can truly put your feet up, enjoy rocking on the front porch and let cares float away. It creaks, but the place is also reeking in history. It's easy to imagine all the years of vacationers before you. Our room (# 63) was a bit more deluxe and had a lovely new bath with a huge walk-in shower. The food is fairly plain, but the breakfast buffet @10.95 per person is a true bargain in this typical let's-charge-the-tourists-a-lot town. The location is a short walk to the beach and set in an area that is more residential— a plus in my book. The only caveats would be the staff seems a bit distracted, and we were never exactly sure who was in charge.

Room Tip: Spring for an en suite bathroom and air conditioning (Cape May can get very humid).
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
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N Wales PA
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 5, 2012

The Chalfonte Hotel in Cape May is an historic Victorian, "grand old lady":that takes up an entire city block. I imagine that it was charming in its day, but may need to be refurbished in spots. My single room was teeny, but adequate, with an adjoining bath, and a sink in the room. Some rooms used hall baths. The central AC is only used on very hot days and nights, and was barely adequate. There were no controls in the room. The rest of the time, ocean breezes are said to keep the place cool. The staff is friendly, very willing to please, and customer-focused. I was with a group, and the meal plan (breakfast and dinner) was included in my fee, but meals can also be purchased as you go. The Southern breakfast buffets were plentiful (make your own waffles, scambled eggs, spoon bread, hash-browns, bacon, fresh fruit and/or juices, etc.), but they served the same thing each morning. Most of the time, the service at dinner was painfully slow, the food under-seasoned, or not browned sufficiently and anemic looking, with few choices available and not a whole lot of variety. If I had it to do over again, I would forego the meal plan and instead go to some of the fine restaurants, which are plentiful and good, all over town. However, the Hotel's location can't be beat-it was in the middle of everything, 2 short blocks from the georgous beach, and about 4 from an outdoor mall ( very unlike your usual mall) with varied and unique shops. It's a lovely scenic walk to get there, with tree-lined streets, and elegant, immaculate Victorian residences and bed-and-breakfasts. There is no Hotel parking; if you're lucky, you can find a parking place on the street. Once I found a parking place, I left my car and walked everywhere. The scores below are based on the hotel, not the restaurant.

Room Tip: Some of the rooms are perfectly charming, but some have little charm. If ambiance is desired, prepar...
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Chalfonte

Address: 301 Howard St., Cape May, NJ 08204
Location: United States > New Jersey > Jersey Shore > Cape May
Amenities:
Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
#13 On the Beach Hotel in Cape May
#14 Family Hotel in Cape May
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 70
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Established in 1876, The Historic Chalfonte Hotel is recognized as the oldest continuously operating hotel in Cape May, America's Original Seaside Resort. Situated just two blocks from the beach, The Chalfonte offers a unique seashore experience defined by warm, Southern-style hospitality and simplistic traditions. We cater to every budget with spacious suites, guest rooms with premium and European style baths, and traditional rooms with shared baths down the hall. Guest rooms feature crisp linens and cool seaside colors, and are free of televisions, telephones, and clock radios. Our nationally acclaimed Magnolia Room restaurant serves Southern-style fare with lovingly prepared family recipes and our King Edward Bar is famous for its classic cocktails and casual ambiance. Our guests continuously return from around the world to enjoy this very special destination. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Chalfonte Hotel Cape May
Chalfonte Cape May
Chalfonte Hotel Cape May

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