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200 CONGRESS PLACE, CAPE MAY, NJ 08204(888) 944-1816

america's oldest seaside resort

In 2016, Congress Hall celebrated its Bicentennial, marking two hundred years as America's First Seaside Resort. Located in the heart of Victorian Cape May, it's the perfect place to spend your New Jersey beach vacation. Now in its third century, Congress Hall features the simple pleasures of the past with the modern luxuries we enjoy today. 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 tent, lounge by the pool, or sit on a rocking chair overlooking the Grand Lawn.

Once known as "The Summer White House," Congress Hall has been a welcome retreat to many throughout the centuries. We look forward to welcoming you in Cape May soon.

The History




A RESORT AS GRAND AS ITS HERITAGE

For more than 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.
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.
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Guest Rooms

at Congress Hall

Each guest room offers state-of-the-art amenities in an environment of timeless calm. Congress Hall’s L-shaped design, a tradition among Cape May hotels, affords many guest rooms uninterrupted views of the beach. A vibrant, uplifting atmosphere, calm colors, and tasteful, seashore inspired artwork are the hallmarks of our guest rooms, all of which have been lovingly renovated.
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Suites

at Congress Hall

Enjoy beautiful views overlooking the Great Lawn and the ocean, or a picturesque look at Cape May's Historic District. Our rooms and suites evoke all the charm of a classical seaside hotel with the modern-day comforts you want to ensure a completely comfortable stay.
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Room Amenities

at Congress Hall

Each Guest Room of Congress Hall has been expertly appointed with everything you'll need for a luxurious vacation by the sea. Enjoy 100% Belgian Cotton sheets, cotton terry robes, daily newspaper service, custom Beach Plum Farm bath products and more.
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Resort Fee Inclusions

As our guest, you will have an array of Cape Resorts amenities and services close at hand. From dining options to recreation, special events & programming to guided tours, we’re here to help create memories you’ll treasure forever.
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Coming Soon

Summer Activities

Summer is all about sand, surf and fun in the sun. Our team is hard at work preparing a robust schedule of exciting activities for the whole family. Join our Mailing List to stay up-to-date on all the Summer Activities you'll love during your Cape May getaway.
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Summer's Best Rates

As we reopen our family of beloved properties gently, we are excited to welcome you back. Enjoy the best available rates of the summer, guaranteed when you book with us directly.

We are committed, now more than ever, to providing you with the simple pleasures in life. Our priority? Offering the space and fresh air that you need, in a safe and relaxing environment. Yes, a lot of things have changed, but we're looking forward to offering you a good, old-fashioned welcome that Cape Resorts delivers.

We hope to see you soon.

Book Your Summer Stay

Congress Hall The Star The Virginia The Sandpiper The Beach Shack Beach Plum Farm Cottages Call to Book the Congress Place Suites: (844) 499-9815 Call to Book the Virginia Cottages: (800) 732-4236

resort life

man and woman walking on beach

Running, Biking, Walking

Being on vacation at the New Jersey shore means being outside as much as you can and there are lots of options to enjoy your workout in the fresh air while staying with us. Ask the Concierge Desk for recommendations for nearby hikes, nature walks and bike paths.

close up of bird on branch

Bird Watching

Cape May is one of the world’s most famous bird watching destinations and enthusiasts travel here from across the country to experience the wide variety of species that inhabit the area and pass through during migration. Check with Congress Hall's Concierge for tips on the best places to spot rare birds.
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congress hall fitness room treadmills and elliptical machine

Fitness Room

Being on vacation doesn’t mean having to break your fitness regime. As our guest, you'll have access to Congress Hall's Fitness Room that is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Just sign in at the front desk.

Fitness Room access is included in your stay as a Cape Resorts guest.
Amenities are subject to change based on state and local guidelines.

congress hall sea spa

Sea Spa

The Sea Spa at Congress Hall is a full-service spa that offers unique ocean-inspired treatments in a bright, uplifting atmosphere. You’ll love the fun yellow- and white-striped treatment rooms and the wonderful massages, facials and beauty treatments that feature all-natural products. Learn More.

Amenities are subject to change based on state and local guidelines.

Sandpiper Fitness Center

Need a more advanced workout? As our guest, you'll have access to the fully-equipped Fitness Center and Sauna at the nearby Sandpiper Beach Club. The Sandpiper Fitness Center was recently enhanced with state-of-the-art strength training and cardio equipment, making it one of the most robust gyms on the island.

Fitness Center access is included in your stay as a Cape Resorts guest.
Amenities are subject to change based on state and local guidelines.

beach plum farm amish barn

Beach Plum Farm Tour

Set out on a guided or self-guided tour and explore the old and open spaces of Beach Plum Farm, our very own 62-acre working farm in West Cape May.
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Guided Beach Plum Farm Tours are included in your stay as a Cape Resorts guest.
Amenities are subject to change based on state and local guidelines.

man and woman with tour guide searching for cape may diamonds on the beach

Guided Excursions

Embark on a tour of some of Cape May's hidden gems. Our Guides will lead you out for a tour of Davey's Lake or to Sunset Beach, where you can search for Cape May Diamonds.
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A selection of Guided Excursions is included in your stay as a Cape Resorts guest. Learn More

Amenities are subject to change based on state and local guidelines.

young girl laughing

Children's Programming

SEASONAL

There's always fun to be had in Cape May. From the magic of our Summer Carnivals to the enchantment of Winter Wonderland, our Programming Team is busy at work creating events and activities the whole family will love, no matter the season.
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A selection of Seasonal Children's Programming is included in your stay as a Cape Resorts guest. Learn More
Amenities are subject to change based on state and local guidelines.

congress hall shuttle bus

Shuttle Service

SEASONAL

Travel Cape Island with ease on our new Cape Resorts Shuttle. The Shuttle stops at all Cape Resorts outlets and hotels, including Beach Plum Farm and West End Garage.
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Shuttle Service is included in your stay as a Cape Resorts guest.
Amenities are subject to change based on state and local guidelines.

congress hall bike shop

Congress Hall
Bike Shop

SEASONAL

There’s no better way to get around Cape May than by bike. The city is flat as a pancake and very pretty, the perfect ingredients for a lovely bike ride! Our Congress Hall Bike Shop offers singles, doubles, children’s bikes, surreys and helmets.
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Amenities are subject to change based on state and local guidelines.

beach boot camp instructor in front of the ocean

Beach Boot Camp

Feeling inspired to exercise in the beautiful beach-side setting? Our Beach Boot Camp sessions provides structured exercise in beautiful oceanside surroundings.

Beach Boot Camp Sessions are included in your stay as a Cape Resorts guest.
Amenities are subject to change based on state and local guidelines.

three woman posing at yoga class held on the beach

Yoga

There’s nothing better than starting your day with a yoga class. Whether on Congress Hall’s Grand Lawn or down on the beach, the combination of an expert instructor and the beautiful setting create one of the best yoga experiences you’ll find anywhere.

Yoga Sessions are included in your stay as a Cape Resorts guest.
Amenities are subject to change based on state and local guidelines.

family swimming in congress hall pool

Pool Service

Relax on a lounger at Congress Hall's Pool. Order a delicious cocktail and bite from the Pool Bar and Grill and soak up the sun as your enjoy this season's bestseller. Learn More

Pool Service is included in your stay as a Cape Resorts guest.
Amenities are subject to change based on state and local guidelines.

server delivering food to guests on the congress hall beach

Beach Service

Our Beach Attendants guarantee the perfect beach day by setting you up with chairs, towels and umbrellas when you arrive. Order a refreshment off of our Beach Menu and settle in to the sounds of the surf. Learn More

Beach Service is included in your stay as a Cape Resorts guest.
Amenities are subject to change based on state and local guidelines.

Let's be social

follow us on instagram: @congresshall

Since 2012, Congress Hall has been honored by Condé Nast Traveler as one of the top US hotels in the Northeast and was recently awarded the #13 spot on Condé Nast Traveler's 2018 Reader’s Choice Awards Top 20 Hotels in the Mid-Atlantic and New York. Congress Hall is also awarded with Tripadvisor's Certificate of Excellence.
Voted New Jersey's Best Hotel by Travel + Leisure and its readers.

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 | From The Cape May Lewes Ferry | From New York | From Washington/Baltimore | From Philadelphia