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“Ambiance and the Best Breakfast in Town” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Mainstay Inn and Cottage

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Mainstay Inn and Cottage
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635 Columbia Ave., Cape May, NJ 08204   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #26 of 49 Cape May B&B and Inns
Elkton, Maryland
Top Contributor
95 reviews 95 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
“Ambiance and the Best Breakfast in Town”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2015

Spent several days here for my birthday. The staff is amazing and per my husbands request had roses and champagne in our room upon our arrival. The decor is gorgeous. We enjoyed quiet evenings on the front porch swinging on fabulous, comfortable swings with oversized cushions. The breakfast was different and delicious each day. The french toast brought back childhood memories-the best ever. Can't wait to go back and enjoy the amenities. FYI-Even though this venue is close to the beach, the peace and quiet is abundant.

Room Tip: The first floor has the largest, grandest rooms. We overlooked the gardens. I toured of few of the...
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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15 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (9)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Waldwick, New Jersey
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2015

The Mainstay Inn has been on our "must-visit" list for over a year and we finally booked a night for Dec. 30th to start our NYE celebration early.
Diane, the manager for 27 years, greeted us warmly and was most accommodating. Our room, the Grant, was impeccable, spacious and comfortable. We loved the sitting room and extra-large bathroom!
One of the highlights of our visit was meeting and spending time with the new owners, Peter and Esther. I can say that we feel we've made new friends! The "cottage" next door offered additional amenities and is equally as beautiful.
We were thrilled with the Mainstay Inn's decor, warmth and hospitality and will be back in the spring! As frequent Cape May visitors, this is top on our list for B&Bs.

Stayed December 2014, traveled as a couple
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New Jersey
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 12, 2014

In the most charming seaside town full of beautiful Victorian era properties, stands the breathtaking Mainstay Inn. Located on a beautiful tree-lined gas lamp illuminated street, this building is impeccably maintained.

The staff are pleasant and most helpful in dealing with requests or with regard to chatting about the property's history as well as the surrounding area.The morning breakfast selection is quite good and the meal is hearty. Special dietary requests can be accommodated with a short advance notice (my wife has a gluten intolerance). The rooms are beautifully appointed and the grounds are well landscaped. A short three block walk east takes you to the beach and ocean, along with some restaurants and shops on the promenade overlooking the sea. A four block walk south brings you into downtown where you'll find numerous fine dining establishments in addition to galleries, clothing boutiques, confectionaries (serving up the most delicious fudge, salt water taffy, chocolates) and souvenir shops.

The only noise that could disturb a pleasant nap on the lovely wraparound veranda/porch, after enjoying your afternoon tea and sweets, would be the clopping of a horse drawn carriage passing by.

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 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.
Joliet, Il
Senior Contributor
49 reviews 49 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 24, 2014

The Mainstay is so well maintained in the victorian era it was built in. The furnishings, the decorations, everything is SO DARN beautiful for a history lover like me! The owners were there to greet us, very friendly, very eager to meet any needs we had. The breakfast and the company were so nice in the morning. Diane has been there over 20 years and lives in Cape May, she was able to fill us in on the history of the Cape, and this home . Our most favorite spot in the house was the copula. It was easy to imagine being a family member in the house and going up to that room that had such a good view of the ocean , and watching for ships.
We had a private parking spot, were only a couple of blocks from down town, there's afternoon tea and snacks daily. What more could you ask for? The porch is so inviting and so beautiful!!

Room Tip: there is no bad room
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  • Stayed October 2014, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wayne, New Jersey
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 18, 2014

Been staying at Mainstay Inn every June and Sept. for around last 20 + years. New owners Esther and Pete chat with guests at breakfast and afternoon tea. Pleasant change from previous absentee owner. Great porch with rockers, rocker swings and hammock to chat, eat outside or relax. Large window opens to be a door to porch. Diane (innkeeper and Tracy (pecan treat specials) are great. Can order custom breakfast in advance. Rooms are light and airy. Well maintained Inn inside and outside. 2+ blocks from beach, 3 blocks from car free mall and free on premise parking for many rooms. Best B&B in Cape May!

Room Tip: Rooms are based on bed size and type of bed.
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  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Erwinna, Pennsylvania
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2014

I wish I could give this 5 stars as the building is really just stunning architecture and it is beautifully maintained and impeccably clean; however, while the innkeeper, Diane, was nice enough, she was not accessible aside from check-in (and even then, we had to wait for her to appear). We checked in on Friday afternoon, so had expected her to be nearby. Some other lovely guests kindly gave a quick tour and some info while we waited. It was still tea time and we were able to enjoy a quick sweet on the beautiful porch.

Tea time is nice but just a nibble (fine by me, but as an innkeeper myself, I know some guests expect more). Tea was the same both days we were there, just plated differently - I would have liked to have something different but must admit that the sweets were very tasty so enjoyed having them a second time.

Breakfast is fine, but nothing special. It was lovely weather during our stay so we were able to enjoy our breakfasts outside - I think it would be a tight fit in the Dining Room in inclement weather. While there is fruit, cereal and breads to choose from, there is only one main dish, casserole style and one morning there were only burnt edges left - not sure if they make more than one. But again, we were able to have a nice selection of fruit, breads and cereals so we did not go hungry. Both juices they offered were spoiled which we found odd since they were busy and they were on ice, but they were definitely not good.

Our room was very comfortable, although nothing luxurious, and it did come with on-site parking (not all rooms do, so be sure to ask when making your reservation); however, the shower in our bath made the most horrible noise that it gave me a migraine. I left a note at check-out so I would assume this has been repaired as they seem to keep the place in good repair.

We really appreciated the beach chairs, and the plush beach towels they provide even on the day you have checked out. This was a very nice touch.

Overall, we really did love this place and enjoyed our stay. We would definitely recommend it to friends. We were just a little disappointed in the food service, the level of customer service (we were hoping someone would help us find things to do and places to eat, etc) and in the faulty shower head.

  • Stayed August 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 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.
Marietta, Georgia
Top Contributor
90 reviews 90 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
69 helpful votes 69 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2014

The Mainstay Inn will remain always close to our hearts. Literally. Yes, this is THE Premium B&B in Cape May, and deservedly so. Yes, it dates back to the 19th Century, and stays remarkably young for its age. Yes, this is the one all the horse-&-carriage tours pass by and point out with pride. It is indeed a splendid property. Our first visit to the Mainstay was more than a third of a century ago. My wife-to-be, living in Philadelphia, was already in love with the Mainstay when somehow she arranged in the summer of 1980 for us to be married in the Inn's marvelous parlor--by the local probation officer, no less (--the regular minister was in the hospital with a broken leg; the officer was the substitute minister...) We were regular visitors throughout the '80s while I was an NBC News correspondent in Washington, but this Labor Day weekend was our first return, for my bride's birthday, since we moved to Atlanta to join CNN in the early '90s. We found nothing had changed in regard to the Mainstay's charm, its service, its impressive interiors, its great breakfasts, its warm hospitality. If this is what it's like to serve probation, sign us up for as long a term as possible. To the Mainstay Inn with LOVE !!

  • Stayed August 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 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

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 #26 of 49 B&Bs / Inns in Cape May
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 13
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A charming guest house that was built in 1872. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Mainstay Inn And Cottage Hotel Cape May

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