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.
As America's first seaside resort community with a history of welcoming visitors for over 200 years, the safety and welfare of our guests, employees, and the Cape May community is and always has been our priority. Due to the ongoing developments of COVID-19, we have suspended operations through April 15th. For those of you who have bookings or events scheduled with us during our closure, we will be in touch with you. We know that this iconic American destination will recover and be more resilient than ever as a resort community. Our dedicated team will be ready once again to welcome guests from near and far.

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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While You're Here



HISTORY TOURS

at Congress Hall

Did you know that Congress Hall is the oldest seaside hotel in America? Or that four sitting presidents have stayed there? And that one of those presidents set up office in the hotel’s ground floor, establishing the first Summer White House? On a Congress Hall History Tour, you'll be guided through the grand hotel's storied past. Led by "Annie Knight" who owned the hotel from 1904-1931, our 60-minute History Tours are an interactive and engaging way to learn all about the Big House by the Sea.
View Tour Schedule
text that reads 'Congress Hall presents: Sunday Sock Hop! Featuring Dane Anthony singing the songs of Bobby Darin
Join us in the Grand Ballroom as we travel back in time to the nifty 50s and dance the night away at the first-ever Congress Hall Sunday Sock Hop!
Ladies toss on your best poodle skirt and Gents style your hair into its best pompadour as Dane Anthony serenades us with the musical stylings of Bobby Darin. Featuring a delicious food and cocktail menu, rockin’ live entertainment and a take-home prize for best 50s-themed costume! This won’t be your typical sit-down-and-enjoy concert — dancing shoes are strongly encouraged.

DINNER • DANCING • COCKTAIL BAR
PRIZE FOR BEST 50's COSTUME

text that reads 'sunday, april 26th at 6:30pm'Learn More & Reserve Your Tickets

EXIT ZERO JAZZ FESTIVAL

JUNE 5 - 7

It’s a phenomenon. Twice a year, sensory experiences go on overload in Cape May when the Exit Zero Jazz Festival stages its world-class music fest. Music can be heard everywhere in Cape May—on the streets in the form of New Orleans style second line parades, in the clubs and restaurants bursting at the seams with music and energy and on the concert stages where international touring artists throw down at what has become known as one of the most respected and creative jazz festivals in the country.
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packages

Toll Free Travel

Available through April 30th

Traveling by car for your Cape May getaway? Let us take care of the tolls! Book now and receive deluxe accommodations, a dining credit, and a New Jersey toll fee credit.

Cape Resorts is giving you a break before taxes are due. Located off of Exit 0 on the Garden State Parkway, the resort will cover your New Jersey tolls. Receive a $20 Toll and Transportation credit when you book our Toll Free package.

This package includes:

  • $20 Toll Credit per stay
  • $25 Cape Resort Dining Credit per night*

Book Now

Congress Hall the Virginia Hotel The Sandpiper The Star the Congress Place Suites: (844) 499-9815

*All food and beverage must be signed to your room for the $25 dining credit to be applied. No Cash Value. Additional charges, tax and gratuity will be your responsibility.

What a Difference a Day Makes

Available through April 30th

Enjoy an extra night on us! Book two nights and get a third night free, plus a guaranteed 9:00am check-in, breakfast for two daily and more.

Between the vibrant restaurant and bar scene, boutique shopping, sight-seeing and more, there's so much to do in Cape May—even in the winter months. Whether it’s for a romantic escape, traveling with the family or a girl’s getaway, to make the most of your stay you’ll love being able to check-in as early as 9 AM. Plus, your third night is free! What will you do with your extra day on the island?

Included in this package:

  • Get a third night free when you book at two night stay
  • Check-In as Early as 9AM
  • Breakfast for Two Daily in the Blue Pig Tavern
  • Deluxe Accommodations

Call Now to Book

congress hall: (888) 944-1816 sandpiper: (800) 732-7816 the star: (800) 297-3779 Congress Place Suites: (800) 732-4236

Restrictions apply.
*Breakfast for two is a $30 daily dining credit. Breakfast must be signed to your room for the $30 breakfast credit to be applied. No cash value. Additional charges, tax and gratuity will be your responsibility.

The Summer White House

Available May 22 - October 11, 2020

Say hello to a sun-filled summer with a Congress Hall Beach Tent rental, dining credit, beach Sand Kits and more.

Who needs Camp David when you have Congress Hall? For more than 200 years, Congress Hall served as a welcome summer getaway for four Commanders in Chief. This package offers the ultimate summer recess for the whole family. Your private beach tent includes two beach loungers with covers, chairs, table, a cooler filled with bottled water and soda plus a beach attendant ready to serve you. Soaking up the sun has never been so comfortable!

Package Includes:

  • Deluxe Accommodations
  • A two-day Congress Hall Beach Tent Rental
    Private Beach Tent includes: two lounge chairs, plush beach towels, a cooler filled with water, soda, and iced tea.
  • Beach Dining Credit of $30 per day*
  • $5 worth of wooden nickels for each child to spend in Tommy's Folly (up to 2 children)
  • A Deluxe Beach Sand Kit for the Kids (or Kids at Heart)


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*Beach dining credit must be signed to your room to be applied. No cash value.

The Big House by the Sea

Available Year Round

Learn about Congress Hall's rich history and enjoy a guided History Tour, a generous Resort Credit, and a hardcover copy of Tommy's Folly.

The Big House By the Sea

Explore the halls of this historic hotel, celebrating over 200 years of hospitality. Settle in by the fire to read your copy of Tommy's Folly and get a behind-the-scenes look at all of the characters that made Congress Hall the crowning jewel it is today. Take the Congress Hall History Tour and learn about all of the visitors - from heads of state to elusive rum runners. With a $100 Resort Credit, you will be able to experience all of the amenities that modern-day Congress Hall has to offer.

As our guest you will enjoy:

  • Deluxe Accommodations
  • Tommy's Folly, the book about Congress Hall's fascinating 200-year history
  • Two tickets to Congress Hall's History Tour*
  • $100 Resort Credit (per stay)**
book now

History Tour availability is subject to scheduled dates and times. Please call the Concierge Desk for a Tour schedule: .

**All restaurant, bar and spa charges must be signed to your room for Resort Credit to be applied. No Cash Value.

Date Night in Cape May

Available Year Round

Treat your special someone to a romantic getaway in Cape May, complete with an intimate evening of artisanal cocktails and cuisine at the Ebbitt Room.

Date Night in Cape May

Make every celebration or evening truly memorable with an epicurean experience. Expertly-crafted libations and farm-fresh classic American cuisine are accompanied by the sweet sounds of the piano. Whatever the milestone, we will provide the gracious touch and exceptional service that ensure indelible memories.

Your package includes:

  • Deluxe Accommodations
  • $100 Ebbitt Room Dining Credit (per stay)*

book now

congress hall

*Meals must be charged to the room for the credit to be applied.

resort life

congress hall fitness room treadmills and elliptical machine

Fitness Room

OPEN YEAR-ROUND

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.

congress hall sea spa

Sea Spa

OPEN YEAR-ROUND

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.

Sandpiper Fitness Center

OPEN YEAR-ROUND

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.

beach plum farm amish barn

Beach Plum Farm Tour

SEASONAL

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.

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

Guided Excursions

SEASONAL

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

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

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.
View Shuttle Schedule

Shuttle Service is included in your stay as a Cape Resorts guest.

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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beach boot camp instructor in front of the ocean

Beach Boot Camp

SEASONAL

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.

three woman posing at yoga class held on the beach

Yoga

SEASONAL

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.

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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family swimming in congress hall pool

Pool Service

SEASONAL

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.

server delivering food to guests on the congress hall beach

Beach Service

SEASONAL

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.

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