An iconic landmark hotel in historic Cape May

Overlooking the pristine beaches of beautiful Cape May, New Jersey, Congress Hall is a landmark of seaside elegance that has provided generations of beach goers with a beloved seaside escape to return to year after year.

Congress Hall is America’s oldest seaside resort providing hospitality since 1816 and offering a unique and profoundly authentic experience that you will quickly grow to love. Located in the heart of the historic district of Victorian Cape May, Congress Hall is famous for its beauty, relaxed sophistication and the warmth and sincerity of its staff.

Whatever the season, you will be delighted by the array of choices that make it easy to fill your days and nights. Relax in a private beach cabana, by the pool or on a rocking chair overlooking the Grand Lawn or pursue something more active like an exercise class on the beach, an invigorating bike ride through Cape May or a tour of our very own 62-acre Beach Plum Farm. No matter how you spend your time, you’ll enjoy reliving your days over lunch at the Blue Pig Tavern or a cocktail at one of our nightspots.

Spring Break

Spring Break Getaway for the Entire Family

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Congressional Retreat

Discover Congress Hall's Rich History

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Easter Weekend

Easter Getaway includes Sunday Easter Brunch

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A resort as grand as its heritage

For almost two centuries this New Jersey hotel has offered hospitality to locals and visitors alike. It began life in 1816 as a simple boarding house for summer visitors to one of America's earliest seaside resorts. Its owner, Thomas H. Hughes, called his new boarding house “The Big House.” The local people had other ideas, though. Convinced the building was far too large to ever be a success they nicknamed it “Tommy’s Folly.”

In this first incarnation it was a quite different affair. Downstairs was a single room that served as the dining room for all the guests, who stayed in simply partitioned quarters on the two upper floors. The walls and woodwork were bare and supplies of provisions were at times unreliable.

Guests were undeterred by the Spartan conditions and summer after summer the new hotel was packed to bursting. In 1828 Hughes had been elected to Congress and in honor of his new status his hotel was renamed Congress Hall.

As Congress Hall’s reputation grew, so did Cape May's. By the middle of the 19th Century Cape May had become a booming holiday destination, rivaling Saratoga and Newport for popularity. Congress Hall had doubled in size and was welcoming guests from around the region, but in 1878 the building was destroyed when a huge fire swept through 38 acres of Cape May’s seafront.

Within a year, the owners rebuilt the hotel, this time in brick rather than wood, and business blossomed once again. The hotel and Cape May proved so popular that they gained renown as a summer retreat for the nation's presidents. Ulysses S. Grant, Franklin Pierce, and James Buchanan all chose to vacation here. President Benjamin Harrison made Congress Hall his "summer White House" and conducted the affairs of state from the hotel. Read more...

The famous 19th Century composer John Philip Sousa also loved Congress Hall. After conducting concerts on Congress Hall's lawn with his Marine Corps band throughout the season in 1882 he composed a march in honor of the hotel, the "Congress Hall March."

The hotel fell into disrepair and remained closed for more than a dozen years, sometime between 1905 and the early 20s, after a long and bitter dispute between owner Annie Knight and the city council. Finally, an agreement to repave the roads around Congress Hall was reached and the hotel reopened in the early 20s, with a stunning renovation. Congress Hall went on to open Cape May's first post-Prohibition cocktail bar (where the Brown Room sits now) in 1934.

From 1968 until 1995 Congress Hall operated as part of the Cape May Bible Conference led by the Reverend Carl McIntire of Collingswood, New Jersey. By providing an alternate use for the building Dr. McIntire in effect helped preserve it during a time when many of Cape May's landmarks were being demolished to make way for modern motels. The present owners purchased the building in 1995 with the goal of undertaking a complete renovation to return Congress Hall to its former glory.

The hotel underwent an extensive renovation in 2001, during which a stash of original china, creamers and sugar bowls were unearthed. Both the Buffalo Pottery Company and D.W. Haber and Sons, which produced the items, are still in business and were able to reproduce them for the hotel’s 2002 re-opening.

To learn more about the History of Congress Hall, pick up a copy of "Tommy's Folly," the story of Congress Hall through our online store.

Congressional Retreat

Discover Congress Hall's Rich History

View Hotel Package

Spring Break

Spring Break Getaway for the Entire Family

View Special

Easter Weekend

Easter Getaway includes Sunday Easter Brunch

View Special

all eventsdaily calendar

Spring Break at Congress Hall

April 15 - 23, 2014
Congress Hall

We have something special for everyone at Congress Hall this spring break!  You can meet the princesses, learn to cook from our executive chef, enjoy

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Mad Hatter’s Tea Party

April 22
Founder's Hall

April 16 - SOLD OUT! April 22 is still available.

Don’t be late for this very important date! We have something special brewing at Congress Hall during

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Pirates, Princesses, & Pals Luncheon

April 21
Congress Hall Ballroom

April 17 - SOLD OUT! April 21 is still available.

Bring your pirates and princesses to our favorite annual luncheon! Admission to this event includes

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Kids Can Cook, Too!

April 23
Harrison Room

April 15 & 18 - SOLD OUT! April 23 is still available.

Calling all chefs! Our kids’ cooking class is back by popular demand! Bring your little chefs

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Congress Hall Scavenger Hunt

April 19
Congress Hall Lobby

Calling all detectives! Meet us in the lobby for a hunt around the Congress Hall hotel! Solve puzzles and follow the secret clues leading you to your special

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Easter Brunch

April 20, 2014
Ballroom in Congress Hall

Join the Easter Bunny along with his sidekick, Blue for a fun-filled weekend. Enjoy Easter Brunch in the Ballroom with all of your favorites. After brunch,

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Easter Egg Hunt & Activities

April 20, 2014
Congress Hall

Join the Easter Bunny along with his sidekick, Blue for a fun-filled holiday! Head out to the lawn for some Easter egg hunts (for both the tiny tots and

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Mother’s Day Brunch

May 11, 2014
Ballroom in Congress Hall

Show that number one woman in your life just how special she is with a delicious brunch in our beautiful Ballroom. After brunch, enjoy Cape May in gorgeous

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2014 Spring Jazz Fest

May 30 – June 1, 2014
Main Stage at Cape May Convention Hall

Join Congress Hall for the Spring Edition of the 2014 Exit Zero International Jazz Festival in Cape May, May 30th – June 1st! Three-time Grammy Award

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Full Moon Glow Pool Party

June 11th, July 9th, and August 13th
7:00pm

Completely re-imagined, don't miss our monthly Full Moon Parties this summer! This year, we will be featuring s'mores roasting, glowing pool toys, and p

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Square Dance Night at Congress Hall

July 23rd, July 30th, August 6th, and August 20th
7:00pm - 9:00pm

Join us for our first series of Square Dance Nights in the Congress Hall Ballroom this summer! Beginners and pros will learn a variety of moves from instructor

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Christmas in July at Congress Hall

Friday, July 25th
11:00am - 5:00pm

Santa and Mrs. Claus are vacationing in Cape May! Join us and participate in a day full of holiday activities such as stocking decorating, story time with

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Congressional Retreat

Discover Congress Hall's Rich History

View Hotel Package

Congress Hall Wedding Blog

Wedding tips, photos &
special announcements!

Read our Wedding Blog

contact us

General Manager:

John Daily (609) 884-6560
jdaily@congresshall.com

Concierge:

(609) 849-9019
concierge@caperesortsgroup.com

Group/Corporate Inquiries:

Judy Platt (609) 884-6594
jplatt@congresshall.com

Wedding & Special Event Inquiries:

Meredith Borrell609-884-6553
mborrell@congresshall.com
Contact a Wedding Specialist

Press/Media Inquiries:

Jeanine Pepler (212) 334-4400
jeanine@aka-pr.com

Blue Pig Tavern:

(609) 884-8422
Reserve on OpenTable

reach us by phone:

(888) 944-1816 or (609) 884-8421

Directions

Congress Hall

200 Congress Place

Cape May, New Jersey 08204

(609) 884-8421

It's easy to find us

Cape May is easily accessible from the Garden State Parkway and the Cape May-Lewes Ferry. The hotel is located in the heart of the Historic District, right across the street from the beach and the Washington Street Mall.

Valet Parking is provided. Please pull up in front of the hotel and an attendant will assist you with your luggage and car.

from google maps:

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from specific points

From the Garden State Parkway
approx. 10 minutes

Take the Parkway to the end, Exit "0", to 109 South, Follow Route 109 over a large then a small bridge. This becomes Lafayette Street. Follow Lafayette Street through two traffic lights to the end. Lafayette will end at Jackson Street where there is a green liquor store called "Colliers". Turn left onto Jackson Street and immediately turn right onto Mansion Street. Continue to stop sign and turn left onto Perry Street. Make first right onto Congress Place and turn left into hotel reception area.

From the Cape May Lewes Ferry
approx. 15 minutes

From the Ferry Terminal in North Cape May, follow the signs for Route 109 South and the Garden State Parkway. Take Route 109 South over the Cape May bridge onto Lafayette Street. Follow Lafayette Street approximately 1.5 miles until you dead end at Jackson Street. Turn left onto Jackson Street and immediately turn right onto Mansion Street. Continue to stop sign and turn left onto Perry Street. Make first right onto Congress Place and turn left into hotel reception area.

From New York
approx. 3 hours

Exit Manhattan to New Jersey Turnpike. Take the N.J. Turnpike South to Exit 11 for the Garden State Parkway. Take the G.S. Parkway to end, Exit "0", to 109 South, Follow Route 109 over the Cape May bridge onto Lafayette Street. Follow Lafayette Street approximately 1.5 miles until you dead end at Jackson Street. Turn left onto Jackson Street and immediately turn right onto Mansion Street. Continue to stop sign and turn left onto Perry Street. Make first right onto Congress Place and turn left into hotel reception area.

From Washington/Baltimore
approx. 3 hours

95 North to Delaware Memorial Bridge, take bridge to Route 40 East. Follow Route 40 to Route 55 South to end (at Route 47 South). Route 47 South to Garden State Parkway South. G.S. Parkway to end, Exit "0", to 109 South, Follow Route 109 over the Cape May bridge onto Lafayette Street. Follow Lafayette Street approximately 1.5 miles until you dead end at Jackson Street. Turn left onto Jackson Street and immediately turn right onto Mansion Street. Continue to stop sign and turn left onto Perry Street. Make first right onto Congress Place and turn left into hotel reception area.

From Philadelphia
approx. 1 hour 45 minutes

Walt Whitman Bridge to 42 South, to Atlantic City Expressway East. Take the A.C. Expressway to the Garden State Parkway south. G.S. Parkway to end, Exit "0", to 109 South, Follow Route 109 over the Cape May bridge onto Lafayette Street. Follow Lafayette Street approximately 1.5 miles until you dead end at Jackson Street. Turn left onto Jackson Street and immediately turn right onto Mansion Street. Continue to stop sign and turn left onto Perry Street. Make first right onto Congress Place and turn left into hotel reception area.

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