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“excellant vs substandard”
Review of Congress Hall

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Congress Hall
Ranked #6 of 37 Hotels in Cape May
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 5, 2013

We chose Congress Hall because of their ammenities. Our hotel experience was excellant; unfortunately their restraurant Blue Pig Tavern was substandard. We had breakfast 2 times and both times it took 10 minutes to get acknowledge after we were seated. Sunday night dinner was a distaster and there weren't any people in the dining room. At 7:00 pm they were out of their nightly special including several other things on the menu. The server never cleared our appetizer dishes and I got my glass of wine after dinner. My wife got her parmesan cheese after she finished her meal. I picked Congress Hall to spend my 40th birthday. I was suprized to have disappointed at such a lovely establishment. Congress Hall a nice place to sleep but not to eat.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank jctdc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CHCapeMay, Manager at Congress Hall, responded to this reviewResponded March 10, 2013

Thank you for your response. I am very sorry that your restaurant experience was not enjoyable. Please be assured that your concerns have been addressed with our F&B department and we hope you will return to have a more enjoyable restaurant experience. We hold ourselves to higher standards and want your experience to reflect that every time.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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765 - 771 of 1,209 reviews

Reviewed March 4, 2013

If you love historic buildings with great atmosphere, this Victorian hotel is for you! It has been skillfully renovated to maintain a charming period character even using some salvaged furnishings and fixtures from it’s previous incarnations. The (modern) beds are extremely comfortable with luxurious linens and pillows in a variety of softness. The friendly and enthusiastic staff makes you feel welcome.

Other things to love:
-Free valet parking
-Huge, thick, soft, fluffy towels
-Close proximity to the ocean (great view on that side of the building)
-The outdoor pool with lots of sun, (no tall buildings nearby)
-The restaurant and cocktail lounge off the lobby, and nightclub in the basement
-Clean rooms (although I would suggest a rug shampoo and upholstery-touchup soon)
-Thick, plaster walls which make things generally very quiet, though you can occasionally hear squealing kids or loud adults in the courtyard or hall
-The large, old fashioned soaking tub in the deluxe baths

There are some fine points, though, that really could be improved in order to make this a first-class, “excellent” experience:
-NO IN-ROOM COFFEE! If you are a caffeine addict who desires coffee in the morning without having to dress first or tip a waiter while wearing your nightclothes (like me) this is a big drawback.
-Other than the bed, the furniture was lacking: the antique desk was very nice, however, the “lounge chair” looked good but was incredibly uncomfortable, and the bottom drawer of the dresser wouldn’t open unless you reached underneath and pushed it out.
-Stained upholstery on the desk and the lounge chairs -- PLEASE get someone in maintenance or housekeeping to learn spot cleaning!!
-The flat screen TV sits on a tacky vending bar. Other historic hotels have nicely hidden this stuff in an armoire. Also, it needs more spring water and soda along with the booze.
-The glass and metal floor stand in the bathroom was loose and rickety. We tightened some screws ourselves, but it still tottered.
-Chipped porcelain in the bathroom sink could have been patched.
-Virtually no water pressure in the shower. This might be fixable with a shower head designed for water conservation.
-The sink stopper didn’t stay closed – a big issue for someone like me who rinses contact lenses.
-The cold water faucet was loose fitting in the sink, which made it hard to adjust.
-The “blackout” shades let light in at the sides and bottom, so the courtyard flood lights shone in our room around the edges. Fortunately they were turned down at midnight, but still we could never get the room truly dark.
-No one ever replaced our used glasses. We had to keep washing them ourselves.

There were also a couple of not-fixable drawbacks. The shower was tiny, and the toilet was too close to the wall on one side. The designer needs to go back to school for a refresher course on human body design. He must have been a slim, young man, because he didn’t leave much room for anyone with hips. A very large person wouldn’t fit at all.

An additional suggestion -- provide rooms with balconies a draft blocker for the bottoms of the doors.

Off-season this is a wonderful place to stay. I am not sure whether I would have enjoyed it so much when full of young families and crowds in the pool. I should mention that we had one of the few luxury king-bed, ocean-view rooms with balcony and deluxe bath. It was worth paying extra.

Room Tip: Ocean View much better than Town View.
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Cares4Quality
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 28, 2013

We have been visiting Cape May for over thirty years, and this was our third stay at the Congress Hall. It is a charming hotel that has a wonderful mix of old world charm with some modern amenities. The Brown Room is a great place to relax in front of the fire and enjoy some appetizers and cocktails. The rooms have very comfortable beds; the bathrooms are not as large as one might expect, but they are certainly in keeping with the period of the hotel and, most importantly, are very clean. The location is great - right across the street from the beach and right next door to the Mall - three blocks of specialty shops. Overall, I recommend this hotel for anyone who would enjoy the period feel of an hold hotel.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Patty B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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Thank Michelle Anne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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Thank Mary T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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...
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank vfranco
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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Thank Teacher2urist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about 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
#8 Family Hotel in Cape May
#11 Romantic Hotel in Cape May
Price Range: $99 - $389 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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