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“Great Off Season Overnight” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Congress Hall

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Congress Hall
Ranked #5 of 38 Hotels in Cape May
Certificate of Excellence
Hainesport, NJ
Level Contributor
31 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
“Great Off Season Overnight”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 25, 2013

We recently took advantage of a TravelZoo offer. It was priced at an off season (Sunday thru Thursday) rate which was less than half if staying in peak season. We wanted a one night getaway without paying the normal high rates to allow us to experience a stay at this hotel and find out how much we liked it. We have been going to Cape May for almost 40 years and always stay at at B&B.

We totally enjoyed our stay. We had cocktails and appetiziers in the lobby bar on a Sunday night before going out of the hotel for dinner, which was very enjoyable and delicious. Even though it was winter on a Sunday night, the hotel had a "happening" feeling - certainly because there was a Sunday night wedding on this date. Upon check in, which was very pleasant, I felt they upgraded our room because it was off season on a Sunday night and we asked. Our room was clean, very nice bedding and comfortable bed, and overall nice - not what I consider luxurious but I understand they are in keeping with the period. Loved the bathroom, large with separate shower and bathtub. I would have been a bit disappointed if I was paying in season rates with the quality of the room/furnishings. We always enjoy walking around the property and taking a cocktail out and sitting on the porch or oceanfront adirondack chairs - very nice!

If not familar with Cape May, this is a perfect location. This is the only inn in Cape May where you will feel like you staying at a "resort" because of all they have to offer (bars, restaurants, shops, spa, lobby seating areas w/fireplace, etc.) I have had drinks, dinner and just walked around this hotel many times but this was our first overnight stay. I would certainly return again off season but can't justify the high summer rates.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Michelle Anne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,058 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (317)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Toms River, New Jersey
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 25, 2013

We love Cape May and have been visiting for 30 years, so we’ve seen Congress Hall go through many changes. During our first visit to Cape May we stayed at Congress Hall. It was run down but charming (and inexpensive). I recall we booked the Presidential Suite for $60 per night. Our most recent visits were December 2012 and earlier this month. We will be returning again next month. We have the good fortune of living about an hour and a half away. Close enough to visit often, but far enough to make it feel like a weekend away.

It closed for a time and we were so happy when we heard it was to be renovated and reopened. We’ve been returning ever since. The atmosphere any time of the year is appealing. I find it especially cozy in the winter months with a roaring fire in the Brown Room. And there is a bit of the ethereal, which must be experienced rather than explained.

The bathrooms are period with large, deep tubs. The food at the Blue Pig is good American fare; should you prefer something a bit more refined, Cape May has many great restaurants within walking distance. Parking in Cape May is problematic and the convenience of Congress Hall’s valet parking is a big plus.

I’ve found the hotel staff friendlier recently, however this wasn’t always the case. There’s a lovely estate jewelry store, Victorious, in the lobby.

Overall, I’d recommend Congress Hall, it is a bit pricey, and if you’re going for a quiet, adult retreat stay away from the “child themed” periods such as December/Christmas and Easter. When the Brown Room is teeming with children it loses its sophisticated charm.

Cape May has a lot to offer, the beach, the architecture, fine dining, shopping, antiquing, wineries, local theater, and Congress Hall is a great place from which to enjoy it all.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Mary T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
North Bergen, New Jersey
1 review
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 24, 2013

I booked a package for Valentine's Day through an offer I received in my email. However, upon review of the website, Congress Hall offered a Valentine's Day pakage on their site that included breakfast and a free blue pig stuffed animal (as the theme was blue valentine). Upon our stay, we were not given any breakfast, stuffed animal, or anything else to make it more "Valentine's." It was a bit disappointing. Additionally, the walls were quite thin. We were the first room closest to the stair case where there are lounge areas. People were laughing in the hallways until late hours. Additionally, there were patrons outside smoking in the courtyard and singing Broadway showtunes (specifically "Defying Gravity" from Wicked), despite the signs that it was "quiet time." We heard them perfectly from the top floor. Noise really carries through the building.

We loved the building and shops. We thought the location was amazing, central to town shops and restaurants and a short drive to wineries and breweries. In general, it felt like we had stepped into another era, which is part of what we were looking for. The hotel was clean, well kept, and very impressive. The staff was friendly. Room temperatures were great. However, I expected a much more accomodating and relaxing stay, which I did not get. I couldn't imagine how much noisier it is in a busier season.

Room Tip: I've heard that you can request rooms on the far end of the L shaped building that do not have a...
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank vfranco
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rutherford, New Jersey
Level Contributor
97 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 24, 2013

I love Congress Hall in the off-season. Fall, winter, and spring are great times to visit. The service is very good. It is warm and relaxing. Great restaurants, shopping, spas, sightseeing are all available. I like to relax in the cozy lounge with friends for cocktails.
The hotel is decorated in crisp beach colors but retains it's historical ambiance in their restoration.

Room Tip: Town view rooms are less expensive but there's nothing like looking out at the ocean if you want...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Teacher2urist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 19, 2013

My husband and I have made a habit of visiting Cape May in the off-season. Last year we stayed at a B&B and this year decided to try Congress Hall. We went to experience the "grandeur of yesteryear" and were not disappointed. The weekend was very relaxing. Although we had no problem with our room, the hotel is old and you can hear just about everything in the hallway. It wasn't a problem for us as we were one of only a handful of guests on our floor, but I could see that being an issue when the hotel was full. We really liked the food and the brown room and would definitely return again ... in the off-season.

Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Kate D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Allentown, Pennsylvania, United States
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 13, 2013

First off, this weekend was intended for rest. The first night it sounded like something was loose on the roof ( we were on the top floor) and banged all night. It was like a barn door slamming in the wind. Zero, I mean zero, sleep. We shared this at the desk in the morning, of course they offer to change rooms but that was it. No discounts or free breakfast at least. I mentioned we may stay an extra night to make up for it, I thought they might offer a discount, nope, they just blamed the wind.

Breakfast sucked, I'm sorry but that's the best description I could give. My wife and I eat out often, we know good service and food, this wasn't it. Day one it took 35 minutes to get our food.
Wasn't worth the wait. Day two, my omelet was wrong. Forgot potatoes, jeez there's a couple of eggs and some toast, how do you forget 30% of the plate?! It's convenient but that's it.

My wife said she wouldn't go back, there's other places to stay. I liked the convenience of the lounge but I may follow her lead in this one.

Room Tip: Try a B and B where the owners have a stake in the quality.
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Ron R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CHCapeMay, Manager at Congress Hall, responded to this review, February 21, 2013
My sincere apologies that your visit was not up to our standard. Our staff should have gone above and beyond to meet your needs to reach satisfaction. Be assured we take your comment very seriously and hope we will have another chance to accommodate you with our true level of hospitality.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
South Dennis, New Jersey
1 review
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 13, 2013

Wife's surprise 30th not such a surprise.
Unfortunately, the hotel was incurring power outages during our stay, and this prevented my wife from being able to prepare herself in a timely fashion to meet the 8:30 pm surprise time at the restaurant where everybody was waiting. Fortunately we knew people in the area and were able to utilize their facilities to get ready.
Other than that, the rooms are nice & clean and the help is pleasant.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank zeth m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Congress Hall

Property: Congress Hall
Address: 200 Congress Place, Cape May, NJ 08204-5306
Phone Number:
Location: United States > New Jersey > Jersey Shore > Cape May County > Cape May
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Luxury Hotel in Cape May
#4 On the Beach Hotel in Cape May
#11 Romantic Hotel in Cape May
#12 Family Hotel in Cape May
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Congress Hall 4*
Number of rooms: 106
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Congress Hall in Cape May is America's First and Oldest Seaside Resort Hotel. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Congress Hall Cape May

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