Mainstay Inn and Cottage

Mainstay Inn and Cottage

Main staircase of the Mainstay Inn, Cape May.
Traveler (179)
Sweet dreams
Room & Suite (26)
Mainstay Inn Granola, Fruit and Yogurt breakfast.
Dining (17)
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About

5.0
#3 of 22 B&Bs in Cape May
Location
4.9
Cleanliness
4.9
Service
4.9
Value
4.7
Tripadvisor gives a Travelers’ Choice award to accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travelers and are ranked within the top 10% of properties on Tripadvisor.
A charming guest house that was built in 1872.
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Property amenities
Free parking
Free High Speed Internet (WiFi)
Wifi
Free breakfast
Newspaper
Non-smoking hotel
Shared lounge / TV area
Room features
Air conditioning
Iron
Flatscreen TV
Room types
Non-smoking rooms
Suites
Family rooms
Good to know
HOTEL CLASS
Star ratings are intended to indicate the general level of features, amenities, and services to expect. This property is classified according to Giata.
2.0 of 5 stars
HOTEL STYLE
Historic Hotel
Charming

Location

635 Columbia Ave, Cape May, NJ 08204-2305
Getting there
Great for walkers
Places to stay are graded on a 0-100 scale. The higher the grade, the easier it is for travelers to find restaurants and things to do within walking distance.
Grade: 97 out of 100
97
Atlantic City Intl Airport
Philadelphia Intl Airport
67.3 mi
See all flights
5.0
5.0 of 5 bubbles305 reviews
Reviews summary
This summary was created by AI, based on recent reviews.
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Nestled in Cape May, the Mainstay Inn and Cottage is lauded by many for providing exceptional value, with its spotless rooms and prime location often highlighted. The inn's historic charm and antique furnishings contribute to a warm, authentic atmosphere that travelers find inviting. Guests rave about the comfortable, spacious rooms, which blend modern amenities with historic elegance. Reviews consistently praise the friendly staff and the delectable breakfast and afternoon tea, adding to the inn's allure. Its proximity to the beach and local attractions makes it a popular choice for those who wish to explore the area on foot.
Location
Convenient
Atmosphere
Historic
Rooms
Comfortable
Value
Exceptional
Cleanliness
Meticulous
Service
Attentive
Amenities
Well-appointed

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305Reviews3Q+A92Room tips
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Detailed Reviews
Lisa wrote a review Jun 2021
Madrid, Spain
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Here's the truth: The Mainstay Inn doesn't need another great review. But I am going to do it anyway as I have some specific things to mention. We stayed 5 nights in the Grant Suite. IMHO this is the best room in the main house. Very private and quiet. About those stairs. . . Well the truth is that most of the rooms are actually on the third floor, but this room has a private staircase in the back. So yes, the stairs are steep and narrow. So I suggest that if you are of a certain age, like us, that you negotiate the downward trip either sideways, crab-style, or backwards. We had no problems with the stairs. The bathroom amenities include shampoo, shower gel, liquid hand soap, a hair dryer, dark wash cloth and towel for makeup removal, and my personal favorite: a magnifying makeup mirror. There was tons of counter space for all of our personal care items and lots of light. The room, well suite, is pretty big. There's a king brass bed and a separate sitting area, and a large closet. Air conditioning and heat (which we actually needed on Memorial Day weekend) as well as windows that open to let in the fresh breeze. Again there was plenty of storage for our clothing and luggage. I wish that there had been a small refrigerator, but I think that is a COVID thing. The staff was very accommodating about providing ice upon request for the ice bucket. Breakfast, as mentioned by many other reviewers, is good. Pre-Covid there was a buffet (I think) but now there is great table service, 2 choices of entree, chosen the day before, and 2 kinds of juice, as well as a "first course" of fruit and muffin. The staff was very good. Of special note are Pete, Shane and Zhanna, who even gave me a hug as we were checking out. We stayed here before a few years ago. We won't be letting many years go by before returning. We've stayed a lot of places in Cape May and the Mainstay ranks at the top. Also of interest are the photo albums that give a great photo and journalistic history of the renovations of the building done by the Carrolls. The one and only negative thing that I can think of is that the wifi is somewhat sketchy. You may not think that in a place like Cape May that wifi is that important, but if it rains cats and dogs for 2 days you really want that faster connection.
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Date of stay: May 2021
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
Room Tip: The Grant Suite is very quiet and private if you have no mobility issues with steep and narrow...
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Dena D wrote a review Jun 2022
Tilghman, Maryland
5.0 of 5 bubbles
The mainstay is two properties side by side. The main house house a wraparound porch for sitting and relaxing, eating breakfast, and afternoon tea. The other property has a porch with rockers on it and there is a garden in between. Beautiful property, decorated in a dark Victorian style. The hallways are well lit at night. The bedroom we stayed in was the Lily Langtry which is on the third floor of the house beside the main house. The steps are very steep. This room has a bathtub and shower and the bathroom may be the most spectacular thing about the room. The bed is a very comfortable king sized bed. There is a cabinet for hanging clothes a desk and dressing table. The A/C is a split wall unit, which is very efficient and quiet. This property is on a very quiet street about a five minute walk to the beach and to the main shopping and eating area.
Breakfast was a choice of two entrees and other add ons. Very good and well proportioned.
There is an shower room if you want to extend your stay.
We enjoyed our stay and found the staff to be welcoming.
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Date of stay: June 2022
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
A lot to digest? Read an AI-generated summary of recent traveler reviews.
Dan C wrote a review Jul 2021
Baltimore, Maryland
5.0 of 5 bubbles
If I could give 10 stars I would! Pete, the property owner and Victoria (chef I think) were great! The home is Impeccable....from the landscape outside to the 14 foot ceilings, everything is truly breathtaking. They offer many accommodations for their guests like beach chairs and a bike rack to lock up your bike if you have one. The meals were amazing and 3pm tea was a perfect way to put a pause in the mid day. The Grant room was perfect...Spacious and bright, and as others said it really offers the most privacy in the house. All I can say is that Pete and his staff go above and beyond to meet all their guests needs and then go even further. While you are there you have to follow Pete's recommendation for Peter Shields on Beach ave. for a truly special Dining experience!
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Date of stay: July 2021
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
Room Tip: The grant room offers the most privacy in the house!
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
SnowbirdsfromNJ wrote a review Aug 2022
Kendall Park, New Jersey
3.0 of 5 bubbles
We celebrated our Wedding Anniversary in Cape May spending the middle part of the 3rd week of August at The Mainstay Inn. The Ford Room is in the Cottage overlooking the court yard and has a very small porch to sit and enjoy the breeze. The porches at the main house and the cottage have rocking chairs and swings and are a great place to relax, meet other guests, and watch the people walk by on their way to the beach or the center of town. Located 1 block from the beach and several blocks from Washington street, makes it convenient without having to drive and find parking.
The Ford room is in the cottage and it was clean with some chairs to sit on. Bathroom was spacious with an adequate supply of towels. Complimentary bath soap and shampoo were in the shower/bathtub. The air conditioner worked great except for this high pitched sound that it made. Fortunately the evenings were cool (60's) so we shut it off, opened the windows and turned on the ceiling fan. The mattress was lumpy. Perhaps it needs to be turned over or replaced.
As far at the breakfast was concerned, it was fair. There were Powdered eggs, which are not our favorite. The other items appeared to be fresh, but the portions were small. The server and kitchen staff were very attentive and more than willing to bring more if we asked.
We never joined the tea at 3PM, but enjoyed any leftover pastry if there was any. In the evening they put out bags of chocolate chip cookies, which were freshly baked and really tasty.
The staff was pleasant, and helpful upon check in, but were not on site after 7PM. We had very little interaction with them except at the breakfast. They have nice beach chairs to use and will give you a beach towel upon request.
The outside shower room is closed, so you need to get up to your room to clean off the sand when returning from the beach. I asked when it would be available and they said, maybe next summer. The staff member added that if you are paying to go on the beach, why doesn't the City of Cape May provide changing rooms. Anyhow it would have been nice to have the Shower room open on the day we checked out when we were going to be in the car for several hours.
We have never stayed in Cape May before and plan to return again. This is a good place to stay, and we may consider returning to the Mainstay Inn.
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Date of stay: August 2022
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
4.0 of 5 bubblesService
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
celliniMorgantown wrote a review Aug 2021
Morgantown
5.0 of 5 bubbles
My wife and I have just stayed for our 32nd year at the Mainstay Inn in Cape May, NJ. Since the Mainstay was founded, it has established a well-earned reputation for gracious hospitality. This reputation has been advanced in recent years with Pete and Ester and their remarkable staff. The Covid-19 safety precautions exceeded our expectations; they went beyond requirements to help ensure our safety. This same care for guests extended to our breakfasts (included in the cost of the room), which were simply scrumptious, and to the attention that was given to each one of us. For us, as it has meant for decades, a vacation in Cape May means a vacation at the Mainstay Inn, as we believe that there is no better place to stay, relax, and enjoy the beauty and fun of Cape May.
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Date of stay: July 2021
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Ray C wrote a review May 2022
5.0 of 5 bubbles
We stayed in the Lillie Langtry room. The room was bright & cozy, the king-size bed was very comfortable. We were amazed by the gorgeous marble bathroom with a beautiful deep free standing tub and enclosed rain shower.
Breakfast offered two choices (savory or sweet) as well as fruit, toast, salad and juice.
Afternoon tea was always a special treat, the chef is amazing!!!!
The staff are accommodating, attentive and friendly.
The Mainstay is in walking distance to Washington Street where you will find shops and restaurants .
Despite the challenging weather we had a great time and look forward to a return visit.
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Date of stay: May 2022
5.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Trip type: Traveled on business
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
JenniferHanner41 wrote a review Sep 2021
Gibbsboro, New Jersey
5.0 of 5 bubbles
My husband and I visit Cape May once a year, sometimes twice, and we decided after our first visit 7 years ago this was the only place we wanted to stay. The owners Peter and Esther are warm caretakers of this beautiful inn, and they and their staff make you feel so at home. The food is delicious, the surroundings classically beautiful and immaculately clean, and our last two visits during the pandemic were a welcome respite. Everything is sanitized and carefully cleaned for you, and we felt very at ease being there. It's an easily manageable distance from our home, but it's always like entering another world to be able to visit Cape May and The Mainstay Inn.
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Date of stay: August 2021
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Virginia Richer... M wrote a review Oct 2020
East Brunswick, New Jersey
5.0 of 5 bubbles
My husband and I stayed in the Lily Langtree room for 2 days this past weekend. The room was nicely decorated with period furniture and accessories. The bathroom was recently updated and had a freestanding footed tub and a shower.
The breakfast and afternoon teas were delicious! With Covid precautions, food was served by the server only. Customers were not permitted to touch items like coffee pots, creamers, etc. the servers were there to serve anything that you wanted. There were 2 delicious choices for breakfast as well as the freshest fruit and juice.
The Main Stay was the old gambling house. It is beautifully preserved and very beautifully decorated! The porches are a wonderful place to spend rocking with your afternoon teas and a yummy sweet.
I can’t wait to return!
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Date of stay: October 2020Trip type: Traveled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
PattyPhiladelphia wrote a review May 2021
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
5.0 of 5 bubbles
This is a really nice spot -walkable to everything, and the people who work there are top notch! Room (Harte) was comfortable with a private porch and large hammock.. and a very nice bathroom.That was lovely. Food was nicely prepared and the afternoon tea with scones, cake or some sort of treat, was worth attending. You can eat out on the porch instead of in a crowded room like some places. The decorating was lovely and not way over the top like some of the b and b s in Cape May. We had wanted to come here for our honeymoon 40 years ago, but could not get in! Finally we made it!:-) ps The owner Peter is there and he is very responsive to anything that needs attention.. a real plus! One tip.. if you get the Harte room, do lock the porch door bc people do walk in and check it out .. when you are in bed and they are right behind the window chattering, it is not good! Innkeeper gave us a key, but we failed to lock the door..:-)
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Date of stay: May 2021
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Mobile16851591519 wrote a review Jul 2023
+1
5.0 of 5 bubbles
This was our second stay at The Mainstay. We really love it here. The staff is attentive but not intrusive, breakfast is always delicious and the inn itself is charming. The rooms are well-appointed and give you everything you need. We stayed in the Henry Sawyer room which is the only one with two double beds. There were four of us and every morning, there were 4 fresh water bottles left for us after housekeeping refreshed the room. I do wish they had guest refrigerators either in the room or in the main building. We kept some of our drinks in the guest refrigerators but they are in a separate building so every day we would go over to the other building to get ice and grab out cold beverages for the beach. Another suggestion is to add a clothesline (reel) in the bathroom. We were getting creative in finding places to hang our bathing suits to dry. Otherwise, it meets every need. Location can't be beat, park your car and walk wherever you want. Close to the beach, shopping, and most of Cape May's beautiful sights. We did stop in for tea almost daily during our stay. Delicious crostini, fresh fruit, sweets, tea (hot and cold), and lemonade. Menu changes daily but there was always something good. Be sure to check out the cupola at the top of the main building. We watched a storm come through one night followed by a rainbow. Getting down the ladder can be a challenge but the view is definitely worth the climb.
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Date of stay: July 2023
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
Trip type: Traveled with family
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Patricia B asked a question Jan 2020
Ramsey, New Jersey5 contributions3 helpful votes
What is the cost for a weeks stay per person
Answer from Brandywine1777
West Chester, PA252 contributions63 helpful votes
We were just there this week. We have been going to the Mainstay for almost 10 years, 2-3 times a year. For the first time I saw a woman with a seeing eye dog, or guide dog. This may be the exception. I would call Diane Clark, the Innkeeper personally.
bdurney49 asked a question Jun 2018
West Berlin, New Jersey
How far will we be from the Cape May Court House
Answer from Brandywine1777
West Chester, PA252 contributions63 helpful votes
That's Exit 10 I believe. About 20-25 minutes.
Ann H wrote a tip Jun 2024
1 contribution
4.0 of 5 bubbles
"There is no outdoor shower anymore; however we appreciated not having to bring our own beach chairs & towels."
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Joe D wrote a tip Jun 2024
Newburgh, New York42 contributions12 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"On street parking in all of Cape May is a nightmare, so it is best to book a room with a parking space."
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chuckb1951 wrote a tip Dec 2023
Millville, New Jersey52 contributions32 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"They have designated, onsite parking for the main inn which is a bonus in Cape May."
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Elmer - Linda D wrote a tip Nov 2023
Absecon, New Jersey62 contributions12 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"Windsor Room in the Cottage is on first floor and has it's own private parking spot"
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Brandywine1777 wrote a tip Oct 2023
West Chester, PA252 contributions63 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"There is only 1 ground floor room in the adjoining cottage. All rooms are either on the 2nd or 3rd floor. Pack lightly. 😊"
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Not the right property for you?
There are more places to choose from in the Cape May area.
ALSO KNOWN AS
mainstay inn and cottage hotel cape may
LOCATION
United StatesNew JerseyJersey ShoreCape May CountyCape May
NUMBER OF ROOMS
13
Prices are the average nightly price provided by our partners and may not include all taxes and fees. Taxes and fees that are shown are estimates only. Please see our partners for more details.
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MAINSTAY INN AND COTTAGE - Updated 2024

Frequently Asked Questions about Mainstay Inn and Cottage
Which popular attractions are close to Mainstay Inn and Cottage?
Nearby attractions include Cape May Stage Professional Equity Theater (0.2 miles), Cape May Beach (0.2 miles), and Washington Street Mall (0.2 miles).
What are some of the property amenities at Mainstay Inn and Cottage?
Some of the more popular amenities offered include free wifi, free breakfast, and free parking.
What food & drink options are available at Mainstay Inn and Cottage?
Guests can enjoy free breakfast during their stay.
Is parking available at Mainstay Inn and Cottage?
Yes, free parking is available to guests.
What are some restaurants close to Mainstay Inn and Cottage?
Conveniently located restaurants include Cape May Peanut Butter Co., Hot Dog Tommy's, and Washington Inn.
Is Mainstay Inn and Cottage located near the city center?
Yes, it is 0.2 miles away from the center of Cape May.
Are there any historical sites close to Mainstay Inn and Cottage?
Many travelers enjoy visiting Historic Cold Spring Village (3.1 miles), World War II Lookout Tower (2.7 miles), and Emlen Physick Estate (0.6 miles).
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