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“The Harte room veranda was the highlight of our stay!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Mainstay Inn and Cottage

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Mainstay Inn and Cottage
635 Columbia Ave., Cape May, NJ 08204   |  
Hotel website
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #23 of 49 Cape May B&B and Inns
Annapolis, Maryland
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“The Harte room veranda was the highlight of our stay!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 14, 2012

We spent two nights in the Brett Harte room which is in the cottage next door to the main inn and facing Columbia Avenue. We were very pleased with the accommodations. The inn's description (balcony) does not do justice to the fabulous private wrap around veranda that comes with this room. It is enormous! (like 8x64, solely ours to use and featured 4 rockers, a fabulous hammock for 2 and tons of space). We spent lots of time out there just sipping wine and watching the world go by.

The inn's location is great. If you get a room that has a dedicated parking space you will never have to move your vehicle. There also some other nice touches in the common room. like a fridge for leftovers and chilling wine, cards, delicious cookies and pretzels always available. It was wonderful to have beach chairs and towels available for use. We would have liked to use the bikes but every time we looked they were already being used. The afternoon tea was also a highlight. Iced tea and lemonade were perfect on a hot summer afternoon. They also make these delicious lemon coconut bars and pecan bars that I could be craving far into the future!.

The innkeeper we dealt with (I think Donna) was very courteous and efficient. Not over the top engaging but pleasant, which was fine with us because we don't always feel like chatting. :)

A few notes about Cape May....but not necessarily related to the Mainstay. Prepare yourself for the room taxes. I was a little shocked to find at checkout that my $360 per night room also had $50 per night in tax charges tacked on top. The shops have declined in quality after the recession. It's rare I go to a quaint town like this and don't find anything I want to buy. It was also surprising to me how many establishments (including the main liquor store) have a no credit card policy, so bring plenty of cash. I do love that many of the restaurants are BYOB!

My only negative (and the only reason I rated 4 vs 5) about the inn itself, is that the breakfast was disappointing. It was a buffet featuring items like lenders bagels, english muffins, fruit and yogurt, a coffee cake and one baked egg dish. Not exactly what I have come to expect from a b&b at this price point, We didn't even eat there on day 2.

That being said, we will still absolutely return and request that specific room and recommend the Mainstay to others.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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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83 people have reviewed this hotel

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (14)
Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Mystic
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2012

The Mainstay used to be the very best inn in southern Jersey. It remains very good looking --people still gasp as they pass by --and has one of the best locations (and porch) in town. Yet the days of Sue and Tom Carroll's gracious enthusiasm are long gone, it seems. In fact, the inn is up for sale and has had to post a price reduction over the past months. The baton will pass, but until that happens the M is best characterized as lovely as an architecture and tired as an establishment. You can see the fatigue in the breakfasts. My husband and I stayed for nearly a week and faced exactly the same basic breakfast set out buffet style every morning. It consisted of one hot dish: a good but quite obviously thawed and reheated egg casserole. There was also fresh fruit, breads, cheese, sandwich meat, and juice. There's nothing wrong with this but it's not exactly innovative or lip smacking for a town that specializes in breakfasts. The 4-5:00 pm daily tea compensates for the lackluster morning fare, but relatively few guests are around on a summer day at that time. The too-sharp contrast between the main building and the drab, even depressing, colors and over-wickered feel of the cottage next door also needs attention. The Mainstay is still the rare beauty it has been since its extensive renovation in the late 1970s. Right now, though, it really needs a new owner to fire up its engines again.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 5, 2012

I recently stayed at the Mainstay, as soon as I walked in it literally left me speechless. The Inn and the Cottage are Beautiful inside and out. It was one of the most wonderful Inn's I have ever visited. The staff was VERY warm and Welcoming, you know the type of people you could sit and talk with while you enjoy the most inviting porch ever. I can honestly say there is not one thing I did not like about my stay. Oh wait I am lying..I hated leaving! The rooms were the most Beautifully decorated, very clean, spacious, extremely comfortable rooms ever. And I love the unique "Stuffed Kitty's" you put outside your room when you don't want to be disturbed. It was my first visit and I brought my Aunt, I am planning on going back in September with my Boyfriend this time. It is so convenient to everything, you just can't help but have a WONDERFUL time. Oh and the food ....OMG WONDERFUL

Room Tip: They have one room the "Sawyer" with 2 Double beds which was perfect since my 1st time the...
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Maplewood, NJ
Top Contributor
73 reviews 73 reviews
47 hotel reviews
Reviews in 49 cities Reviews in 49 cities
94 helpful votes 94 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 1, 2012

Just got back from a two night stay at the Mainstay and just like my previous visits, all was excellent. The inn is beautiful (inside and out), well-maintained and very convenient to most everything. I highly recommend the Mainstay, end of story. But, also happy to share my constructive thoughts should you choose to read on!

Our usual room, the Henry Clay, was already booked so we opted for the President Harrison room. Very comfortable and nicely appointed with period furnishings. However, my main concern about this room was the shower. It is a very narrow tub enclosed on all sides with a plastic shower curtain making things a bit uncomfortable. Also, as pointed out in my review from a previous visit, I beg the manager to consider getting rid of the stuffed animal that is used to indicate when you want your room made up. Very un-Victorian and quite frankly, cheesy.

Another concern was parking since this room did not come with a spot on the property. A town-wide issue I know, but paying $350 a night and having to drive around for a half hour, just doesn't seem right.

My only other thought was the lack of a friendly face. When we did occasionally see a staff member, they were pleasant. But throughout our stay I never felt that there was a true 'inn keeper' who was to happy to share dinner advice or simply make small talk. I always felt that they were hidden behind the mystery door in the back of the house. Perhaps just my experience and perhaps the management's intention to remain behind the scenes.

Despite these thoughts, once again, a great stay in a fantastic property!

Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
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Glastonbury, Connecticut
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2012

My husband and I stayed in the Windsor Room in the Cottage at the Mainstay Inn for three nights in July 2012. The Inn is in an excellent location; two blocks from the business area and two blocks from the beach. Our room and bath were decorated with turn of the century, period furniture and was spacious and air conditioned. A cool spot to come home to when the temperatures were rather high. The Mainstay has a wonderful, wide board porch which we enjoyed every time we wanted to take a break from our comings and goings on Cape May. You can enjoy their breakfast and "tea" while sitting on the porch, too. A great touch was that there were always a full jar of fresh, homemade chocolate chip cookies for the taking whenever we wanted to enjoy a sweet snack.

Visitors to Cape May should know that the town charges a daily fee of $5.00 for beach entry. Tags can be purchased at the beach.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Silver Spring, MD
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2012

My husband and I now spend the 4th of July holiday here every year. When Diane (or Tracy) opens the door and gives us a hug, we know we’re home-away-from-home. But this is way nicer than where we live! A few words in case you don’t know this place— Surrounded by a glorious shady garden, this B&B is a meticulously restored and furnished Victorian building with a movie-perfect wrap-around porch. (Wooden rockers! Porch swings! And a lazy old hammock!) It’s a short walk to the beach, to loads of restaurants, to the central walking mall, and to the local supermarket. If you stay here once, you’ll fall in love—and be back year after year just like us.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Top Contributor
55 reviews 55 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2012

we stayed in the main house in the Henry Clay room which was very romantic. Tall windows with lace curtains billowing in the breeze on a beautiful day, good A/C on the hot days. Bed was a little too firm for my tastes but that was overshadowed by how much we liked our room. the wrap around Veranda was superb for sitting in the late afternoon with a book, or relaxing on the porch swing in the evening watching the horse and carriage rides clop on past. only a block to the beach and a block to downtown shopping so it was a perfect location on a tree lined street full of beautiful Victorian homes. food was fine but nothing to write about. We enjoyed our stay and will go back again.

Room Tip: Stay in the main house
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Mainstay Inn and Cottage

Also Known As:
Mainstay Inn And Cottage Hotel
Mainstay Inn And Cottage Hotel Cape May
Address: 635 Columbia Ave., Cape May, NJ 08204
Phone Number:
Location: United States > New Jersey > Jersey Shore > Cape May
Amenities:
Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #23 of 49 B&Bs / Inns in Cape May
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A charming guest house that was built in 1872. ... more   less 
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