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“Not for everyone”
Review of The Chalfonte

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The Chalfonte
Ranked #26 of 37 Hotels in Cape May
Reviewed June 10, 2008

The Chalfonte is not the place for everyone -- thankfully! If you are looking for a retreat from the husle and bustle of your day-to-day life this may be the place for you.
If you are seeking well apointed, metropolitan rooms with all the bells and whistles -- forget the Chalfonte -- Cape May probably isn't for you. Try Avalon!
Low tech. I'll take it. I never missed the the absence of a television or phone in my room. This is a place you go to for solitude. You come here to ride the rockers that grace the front porch.
But if you must watch TV they do have it in the common areas. As a matter of fact, I enjoyed hearing some of the guests in the TV room watching America's Favorite Past-time.
And lets face it, you know your cell phone is never more than three feet from you at any time. So, who needs a phone in the room.(I'll let you in on a secret, you can pick up wireless internet service from the porch.Shshh. Don't tell!)
I visited in August and September. It was quite hot yet I was never uncomfortable with just the ceiling fans and ocean breezes.
I had some concern about the shared bath situation but I never had any trouble finding a free bath or shower. It was not a problem. And if you prefer not to share the bath, there's always rooms with a private bath.
I found the staff to be charming, helpful and accomodating. It impressed me that most of the staff knew me by name after meeting me just once.
The Magnolia Room may not be 5-star dining but it is a good value and the wait-staff friendly and attentive. Granted I am female and was travelling alone but the waitresses were just as nice as the waiters.
Although I have no children I thought it smart and convenient that they have a supervised children's dining room. As I dined, I noticed couples having dinner together without the interuption of children. The couples looked more like they were on a date than a family vacation.
Finally, I found the Chalfonte inspirational. The first week I spent there was to work on my book. It was perfect. Plenty of quiet hide-aways. I was also driven to pull out my camera. If I were a painter, I would have done that too. But since I'm not, I settled for enjoying the art exhibits.
So, if you are looking for a getaway reminiscent of a Victorian seaside escape, you'll find it at the Chalfonte.

  • Stayed: September 2007, traveled solo
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4  Thank Purplefish001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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181 - 187 of 203 reviews

Reviewed January 20, 2008

I have been staying at the Chalfonte since 1996.I try to stay for 10
days in July and 10 days in August. If you are looking for saunas,
airconditioning and an impersonal staff the Chalfonte is not for
you. However if you enjoy total relaxation, a staff that treats you
like an old friend, excellent food ,and lively conversations on the porch with both guests and staff members,this is the place.
Don't miss chesse nights in the King Eddie Bar, the Sunday
evening buffet, and of course the rocking chairs! I'm counting
the days until July 2008!

  • Stayed: July 2007, traveled solo
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1  Thank docCoaldale_pa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 8, 2007

From the outside, this hotel looks nice. It has lovely wrap around porches to relax and read or watch the world go by. However, if you actually need to sleep at the end of your day, FORGET the Chalfonte. The beds are so poor and even the tiniest movement makes the old bed squeak loudly. The terrible, sagging mattress may be original to the hotel and in the morning, my back was really aching. The room looked like a hospital room in the 1920s. It was stark white, with cracked plaster walls, and one small crappy print on the wall. The bathroom was down the hall (shared by three rooms) and if you need to take a shower before dinner--GOOD Luck! At $170 a night (which did include breakfast) I felt ripped off (not to mention exhausted). If the Chalfonte wants my repeat business, they need to put a little money in their hotel. I would not ever stay there again. C'mon Chalfonte, stop being greedy--your big hotel was sold out so I know you can afford some new mattresses. So, buyer beware--You can do a lot better in Cape May for the same price, or less. I booked at the last minute and got stuck with the Chalfonte--don't make the same mistake.

  • Stayed: September 2007, traveled with family
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5  Thank placidtraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 28, 2007

The Chalfonte is a beautiful building, but there are issues. We had to park our car about two blocks away, haul our bags up to the third floor and wait in line to take a shower on Friday night, but that was ok with us. A/C would have been nice, but there was a nice breeze blowing in the window and the ceiling fan in our room did a nice job of keeping the air circulating. Just as we were getting to sleep (around 11 p.m.), the fire alarms went off and we were ordered to evacuate the building and wait across the street while the fire dept. checked things out. It turned out to be a false alarm and we were allowed to return to our room after about 20 minutes, but the fire alarm kept going off every hour for the next three hours. The first couple of times, the fire dept. came back, but no evacuation was ordered. All in all, I got about three or four hours sleep after the fire alarm called it quits for the night at about 3 a.m.

Cape May is a charming travel destination, and my wife and I would like to return, but not to the Chalfonte.

  • Stayed: July 2007, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank RichmondRoadtripper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 10, 2007

I had heard about the Chalfonte for a long time and when back in Jersey for a reunion, my husband and I stayed there. I found the self important college students who apparently vie to work there puffed up on their own status. They were not helpful in any way. The hotel should employ professional staff who know what they are talking about.

Our room was extremely small and overlooked a kitchen generator that made noise all night. So much for the serene yesteryear feeling. The complete lack of parking made our stay difficult. Anyone who is even slightly mobility impaired should take note....this place is not for you. There are lots of very uneven and narrow staircases and changes of planes.

My husband is a professional restorer and he just about wept at how badly the Chalfonte's porches have been allowed to deteriorate. 10 coats of paint don't fix anything. Sometimes you need to scrape, sand, and fix. It is obvious that the Very Important college students who summer there get pressed into service as unskilled labor.

We found the food excellent, both evening and breakfast. Otherwise, we'd never stay there again.

  • Stayed: July 2003, traveled with family
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6  Thank Quickbeam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 25, 2006

Perhaps this hotel is not everyone's taste -- if you absolutely have to have an A/C and your own bathroom maybe you should head to one of the boring modern motels close the boardwalk. Especially after seeing so many negative reviews on this site, I felt compelled to add my own. I've been a guest nearly every summer at the Chalfonte for 10 years and always look forward to going back. The rooms may be small and now a little expensive but when you consider the price of something like $200 or so a night includes a full dinner and breakfast for two, it's really not a bad deal. And what dinner and breakfast -- we never even think about lunch. What I find so relaxing about staying at the Chalfonte is that everything is just there for you and you don't have to make any decisions about where to go to eat. It's just a few blocks from the beach in a quiet part of town and it's just such a relaxing way to spend a few summer days eating a huge buffet breakfast, going to the beach, coming back to shower and relax, have a cocktail on their great porch and then have a great dinner. It's also a very family oriented place and they even have a special dining room for kids.

  • Stayed: September 2006, traveled with family
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2  Thank Eva J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 1, 2006

This was the worst Hotel stay of my life and I have traveled the world extensively. The room was advertised as being "Oceanside" with a "Semi-Private" bath. This was one of a very few available rooms at the time and, although the "Semi-Private" bath didn't sound appealing, I booked the room. Using the word, "room", though, turned out to be an exaggeration. It was more like a large closet complete with cracked plaster walls and warped floorboards. The room had a door on each of the 2 side walls, which led directly into the adjoining rooms and was locked with a simple hook on our end, which meant no security and a complete lack of privacy as sound traveled seamlessly among these closet-rooms. The "Semi-Private" bath was furnished with a small shower, tub, and non-functional toilet, which all originated from around the 17th century. As far as the "Oceanside" description, that word was a blatant exaggeration as the ocean was about 3 blocks away from this hotel and the only thing viewable from the ancient, broken window in this room was an alley. Do yourself a favor and drive to Ocean City or sleep in the nearest dumpster, if this is the only Hotel with vacancy.

  • Stayed: September 2006, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank SilentWolvesEyes
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 08204-2430
Location: United States > New Jersey > Jersey Shore > Cape May County > Cape May
Amenities:
Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
#16 Family Hotel in Cape May
#17 On the Beach Hotel in Cape May
Price Range: $75 - $220 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2 star — The Chalfonte 2*
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 
Also Known As:
The Chalfonte Hotel Cape May
Chalfonte Cape May
Chalfonte Hotel Cape May

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