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“Location doesn't outweigh the negatives”
Review of Congress Hall

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Congress Hall
Ranked #6 of 37 Hotels in Cape May
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 6, 2010

Congress Hall has a wonderful location, but the drawbacks of the hotel outweigh any positives. We paid for an ocean view room, but our view was mostly of roof and other windows at the hotel. The other wing has a straight-on ocean view; ours did not. The room was decent-sized but it had no seating other than the beds and a wooden desk chair--nothing comfortable to sit in. Very hard for anyone but youngsters.
Considering the age of the hotel I didn't expect a modern room, but our room's floor was so crooked that items on the desk or the bathroom countertop would fall over or roll off. At the price we paid I couldn't believe we had only over-the-air tv.stations, no cable at all. I can't recall the last time we stayed in a hotel/motel without at least some basic cable! We rented a mini-fridge to hold our soda and water--what we got was something that needed to be trashed. It had ants on it and nothing to hold bottles/cans on the door, so everytime we opened the fridge, our beverages fell out (also because of the slanting floor).
Staff was a mixed bag. Housekeeping staff was excellent. Front desk and parking valet staff was hit and miss--some were great, some bordered on rude. There was a wedding the weekend we were there and our son's family were in the wing where the noise traveled right into their room--they said it was terrible. At least we didn't hear that.
Overall, this hotel is overpriced for what is offered. Location is A+, but the conditions don't warrant the high rates.

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank purselady1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,053 - 1,059 of 1,210 reviews

Reviewed October 3, 2010

Picked this place based on TripAdvisor ratings. Our experience was mixed. Had 2nd Fl room with balcony so we could see the sea. The room was sufficiently large for two people to occupy comfortably. Natural light was wonderful as was the sea breeze. WiFi and NYTimes at door in morning was very good. On the downside, the room was not real clean and looked pretty beat up. Visible stains on carpet and chairs. Bathroom was satisfactory. Housekeeping was uneven.Very limited selection of TV channels: no Stewart or Colbert. Radio a piece of crap and no NPR. One afternoon newly arriving couple unlocked our door with their key. Called front desk and asked to speak to manager. Unbelievably, an assistant manager showed up and asked me what I wanted done. I told her I wanted the situation resolved. The lock was replaced within a couple of hours. Had the distinct feeling that she thought I was being unreasonable in asking for some sort of resolution. For the most part the staff was friendly and helpful. Grounds are very well kept and entry to beach is right across street - a big plus. Blue Pig tavern in hotel is mediocre, at best. Thought we paid for much more than we got.

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank JaneRussel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
cmsvc, Manager at Congress Hall, responded to this reviewResponded October 13, 2010

You'll be glad to know that we have resolved our cable television issues, and now offer all the TV stations, including Stewart and Colbert. It was a long process, and we apologize that it was not completed during your visit. We had a terrible time converting to digital cable, but I'm happy to say the conversion is complete, and we now offer all the stations our guests love.

Thank you for your feedback. We sincerely hope that we will have the opportunity to welcome you back to Congress Hall in the future.

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Reviewed September 28, 2010

Unknown to us, there was a wedding at the hotel the evening of our stay. The rooms are not soundproofed and are near the entertainment area. Excruciatingly loud amplified band music thumped and squealed on into the night. After the wedding, guests gathered outside near our room with loud talking, shouting, cursing and carousing until 2:15 in the AM. Guestroom doors automatically slam shut unless held carefully, and wedding and our guests allowed this to happen frequently at least until 2:15AM. In short, this isn't a place to stay if you want a full night's sleep.

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank marigold60763
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 28, 2010

We stayed here for a long weekend. I loved the old world charm of the hotel. I'll start with the rooms. They are painted in beach colors and are so charming. The bedding & bed were really nice. we had a view of the ocean from our bed.

The staff is very friendly & helpful.We were able to get help in making a reservation in 410 Bank Street restaurant. What a treat. It was wonderful & thanks to the concierge in the hotel.
I love the stores within the hotel. We were able to get coffee at 7am.

We went to the beach & had chairs& towels brought to us. you could order food or drinks from the beach. Everything is made easy for you.

The restaurants in the hotel are very good.

All in all I would highly recommend this hotel. we will come again next year. I would not stay anywhere else. I like this blend of hotel and B&B. This is how I would describe it.

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank boro47
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 26, 2010

My husband & I stayed at Congress Hall for three nights. Overall the stay was very nice. I was please with the Ocean Front room we had and everything seemed very clean. The hotel seemed well maintained and they did a good job preserving the history of the hotel.

I was disappointed by some of the staff. They seemed a bit too curt for the type of establishment. I would have expected a more helpful and gracious staff. Also, the cable selection was lacking. They did have HBO but only had the basic cable packaged.

I would probably stay at the hotel again but feel like there are probably other friendlier places in Cape May.

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank alilogo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 20, 2010

I booked 3 nights at Congress Hall Sept. 10 - 13. I had gotten the hotel's recommendation through American Express, specifically because they had rooms with very large bathrooms with walk in showers to accommodate my mother. When I made the reservation, I asked for one of those rooms and was told no problem. When I recieved my confirmation, there was no mention of special requests, so I called the hotel and after being on hold for 20 minutes, was advised that yes, they had a room for me, 2 queens with a bathroom with the walk in shower. Upon arrival,I was shown to a room, 2 queens, but a little small, but no walk in shower, the bathroom was handicapped equipped, meaning rails on the bathtub, this is not what I had requested and it did not help my mother. I called to the front desk, I was told there was a room with the bath that I had requested but the room was smaller and only 1 queen bed. Not acceptable, so we made do.... also the cable tv only had a few stations, when I complained that our cable didn't work, the comment was that they were having issueswith the cable company. At $350.00 plus tax, (and I think the room was more expensive before Labor Day) I was not happy. Its a great location, but then again handicap accessbility lacks. I would struggle through the front doors with the wheel chair. Even though the parking valets were 10 feet away, no one ever offered to open a door. Overall, it was a disappointing stay.

  • Stayed: September 2010
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2  Thank cshaker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
cmsvc, General Manager at Congress Hall, responded to this reviewResponded September 24, 2010

I was disappointed to read about your experience at Congress Hall. We do have walk-in/roll in showers for guests that need full accessibility. We will be training our staff to ask more questions to be sure our guests are receiving the ADA Accesible room they require. The reservation clerk should have had better notes in the reservation regarding the details you requested. I am sorry that we did not honor your requests.

Our staff is trained to help guests every step of the way. We pride ourselves on servicing our guests and unfortunately we did not meet this goal during your visit.

We have had a terrible time converting to digital with our cable provider. I am happy to say that the cable issue will be resolved in Mid-October. Once this is corrected we will have a wide variety of channels.

You have many choices for hotels in Cape May, we value each reservation and hope we have the opportunity to welcome you back in the near future.

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Reviewed September 10, 2010

My sister was visiting from Switzerland and wanted me to book a nice vacation at the one of NJ's shore hotels. We both have not visited Cape May before and after doing a little research found out that the best hotel in the are was the Congress Hall. I called in to make a reservation and was told that the hotel is fully booked (prices range from $400 to ridiculous $800 a night at the time), so they offered us one of their sister hotels (which is a MOTEL), telling us that is almost the same thing for a little cheaper price and close by location. Well!!! The Beack Shack is a little filthy motel with smelly rooms and has NOTHING to do with the gourgeous Congress Hall, priced at a cosmic $450/night.

As soon as we arrived, we knew we cannot possibly stay there with my 6 years old nephew. Not on these conditions. We immediately drove to the Congress Hall and filed a complaint explaining that we were tricked by their booking service reps. Then the receptionist told that that it happens every day...isn't that some way of marketing? Knowing that no one would stay at a filthy motel for $450/night, why not pay extra $50 and stay at the luxurious Congress Hall? And of course, they did have available rooms.
However!!!!! The room was not vacuumed, there was hair and food particles on the floor, at $500/night...not a pleasant thing to see. We had booked our stay for 3 nights, but later that day were told that we can only stay for 2 because the hotel is booked.
I find this very unprofessional...the staff was rude and snobby.
The "spacious" fitness "center" has 2 treadmills and one eliptical machine....very ironic!
No breakfast.
The only good service was the vallet parking staff.
It is a shame for such a beautiful historic building to be represented in such manner.
If the promised service can not be provided, why is the web page lying to customers?

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled with family
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4  Thank sevim s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
cmsvc, Manager at Congress Hall, responded to this reviewResponded September 28, 2010

I agree the Beach Shack and Congress Hall are two different properties. Our reservations team is trained to guide guests through the process of choosing a hotel within our family of properties. If the pricing at Congress Hall is not in your budget and you have children the Beach Shack may work better for you. If you are a couple looking for a romantic getaway The Virginia would probably suit you better. Within our family of hotels we have different hotels that hopefully meet the different needs of our guests.

When the Congress Hall front desk clerk said, "it happens every day" she may have been commenting that guests are told that the hotels are the same. Our reservation staff often refers to them as the same because we have the same amenities such as, pool & beach service, parking, a restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch & dinner and a bar/nightclub.
They each have their charms but I would not refer to them as the same. The Beach Shack is motel style, Congress Hall is a historic hotel.

I will be discussing with the Reservations Manager how we describe our properties to future guests, so that we are more clear in the descriptions. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

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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 - $390 (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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