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


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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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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fresh from our farm to your room

Each guest room offers state-of-the-art amenities in an environment of timeless calm.
  • Private bathroom with hairdryer and personal toiletries
  • Individual climate control for air conditioning and heating
  • Color television with remote
  • Complimentary WiFi
  • Two telephones, including voicemail and data port
  • Twice daily housekeeping service
  • Beach Plum Farm soap, shampoo and conditioner
  • Iron and ironing board
  • 100% Belgian cotton sheets
  • Cotton terry robes
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Winter Warm-up

Available through March 31, 2019

The weather may be cold outside, but Cape Resorts has everything to keep you warmed up this winter. Enjoy hot chocolate by the fire, a dining and cocktail credit, and a late check out. Plus, Kids Eat Free!

Winter Warm-Up

Even when the weather is frightful, Cape May has cozy fireplaces, fine dining, quaint Victorian houses, and the most beautiful winter sunsets. Sit back and relax with a cocktail in the Ebbitt Room, or enjoy heart warming food in the Blue Pig Tavern. Visit our Sea Spa and relax away the temperatures with one of our signature treatments.

Package includes:

  • Deluxe Accommodations
  • Dining and Cocktail Credit for all Cape Resorts restaurants and lounges ($40 per day)
  • Plus: Kids Eat Free! (should you decide to bring them)*
  • Save 20% off a Sea Spa massage with purchase of stay enhancement
  • Hot chocolate for two
  • 1pm late check out**

Book now

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To book the Congress Place Suites, please call: (800) 732-4236

** Late checkout is based on availability and does not apply on Friday and Saturday departures

* Kids Eat Free: 1 complimentary meal off the children’s menu, for every adult entrée or sandwich purchased off the regular Blue Pig Tavern menu, maximum 2 children. Tax and gratuity not included. No cash value.

Wilderness Adventures Spring Break Getaway Package

Stay Dates: April 12, 2019 - April 28, 2019

Package includes accommodations, Many Wilderness Explorer Activities, Explorers Club backpack, $50 dining credit per night, the option to add Premium Spring Break Activities and more.

Wilderness Adventures
Spring Break Getaway

Thaw out from the winter frost with the ultimate spring break getaway! This year we are excited to introduce the Cape Resorts Explorer’s Club! Grab a trusty field guide for all of your Wilderness Adventures at Beach Plum Farm and Congress Hall. From Gardening and Birding, to Watercolor Painting and Archery, explorers will earn a special pin for their special sash with each activity they complete. At Congress Hall, cooking classes, scavenger hunts, and science experiments will fill the day with creativity and fun. Shuttle service is offered from all Cape Resorts Hotels to Beach Plum Farm, plus select activities are included as part of the package. Be sure to include Easter weekend in your stay and enjoy our Easter Brunch and all the Easter festivities on April 21st.

Spring Break Package includes:

  • Hotel Accommodations
  • An Explorers Club drawstring backpack for the kids, filled with items and special treats for your daily adventures.
  • Many Wilderness Adventure Activities (see activities below)
  • $50 Dining Credit at Congress Hall, per night*
  • Plus the option to add Premium Wilderness Activities and Easter Brunch tickets at the time of booking with our Stay Enhancements!

*Daily credit has no cash value and charges must be signed to your room folio for credit to apply.

Bringing family and friends or just want extra room for your stay, the new Beach Plum Farm Cottages
or the Virginia Cottages could be the ideal place to stay.

A stay at the Beach Plum Farm Cottages during spring break will include the following package components:

  • Farm Cottage or Barn Accommodations
  • An Explorers Club drawstring backpack for the kids, filled with items and special treats for your daily adventures.
  • Many Wilderness Adventure Activities (see daily activities below)
  • Stocked refrigerator with all the makings for a farm fresh breakfast plus other farm treats
  • Access to the Beach Plum Farm golf carts and bicycles
  • Plus the option to add Premium Wilderness Activities and reserve Easter Brunch at Beach Plum Farm at the time of booking with our Stay Enhancements!

To book the Congress Place Suites, please call: (800) 732-4236

Book now

sandpiper congress hall the star the virginia cottages beach plum farm cottages

Easter Getaway Eggstravaganza Package

Available April 18, 2019 - April 23, 2019

Get hopping to Cape May this Easter and enjoy a delicious Easter Sunday brunch in the Ballroom, exciting family activities, a late checkout on Easter Sunday and more.

Easter Getaway Eggstravaganza Package

As the scent of Spring fills the air, head to Cape May for a wonderful Easter celebration. Enjoy a delicious brunch in the Ballroom and participate in all of the fun with the Easter Bunny and his sidekick, Blue! Stay busy all weekend with all of the festivities including Easter egg hunts, scavenger hunts, train rides and our many Spring Break events!

Easter Getaway Package includes:

  • Deluxe Accommodations
  • A delicious Easter Sunday brunch for two in the Ballroom
  • A late check-out of 1pm on Easter Sunday
Call Now To Book

Call (855) 290-8467 to book your Easter Getaway today!

*Additional guests can be added to Sunday Easter Brunch as a Stay Enhancement.

Dining Fireside

Available through May 23, 2019

Enjoy deluxe accommodations, dinner for two in the Blue Pig Tavern, and a late check out.

Dining Fireside

The weather may be cold outside, but we have everything you need to stay warm and cozy. Spend the day by the fireplace enjoying good company, a good book, sipping on something delicious or conversing with friends. End the day with a fireside dinner in the Blue Pig Tavern.

Your Package Includes: 

  • Deluxe Accommodations
  • Dinner for Two in the Blue Pig Tavern ($75 Dining Credit)* 
  • 1:00 pm Late Checkout**

Book now

congress hall the star

*All food and beverage must be signed to your room for the $75 dining credit to be applied.
**Late checkout is based on availability and does not apply on Friday and Saturday departures.

Rise, Shine And Relax

Available Year Round

Rise, Shine & Relax and leave the rest to us! Enjoy deluxe accommodations and a delicious farm-to-table breakfast in the Blue Pig Tavern each morning.

Rise, Shine And Relax

Whether it's a sunny summer morning or a brisk late sunrise in winter, there is nothing like waking up in picturesque Cape May. Start each morning with a hearty breakfast in the Blue Pig. Then, relax by the pool, or warm up by the fireplace and enjoy shopping along the historic streets. Any time of year is the perfect time of year to enjoy time on Cape Island.

Your package includes:

  • Deluxe Accommodations
  • Breakfast for Two in the Blue Pig Tavern ($30 per day)

book now

congress hall the star sandpiper

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

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

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

Indulgent Sea Spa Retreat

Available Year Round

Refresh the mind and revitalize the body. Indulge in the finest selection of pampering treatments with a relaxing Sea Spa experience.

Indulgent Sea Spa Retreat

Inspired by fresh, local ingredients, the Spa is excited to offer Beach Plum Farm bath products, made with ingredients located just two miles from Congress Hall. With the Indulgent Sea Spa Retreat, you will leave feeling rested, refreshed, and rejuvenated.

As our guest you will enjoy:

  • Deluxe Accommodations
  • $100 Sea Spa Credit*
  • Post-Treatment Refresher, Beach Plum Farm Juice
  • A gift set of Beach Plum Farm Amenities

book now

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Please call 609-884-6543 to reserve your spa treatment.

*Reservations strongly recommended. Spa reservations must be made prior to your arrival, other wise availability is not guaranteed. This voucher can be applied toward spa services only. 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.

Cocktails With The Presidents

Available Year Round

Imbibe like a head of state and enjoy historically-inspired cocktails in the Brown Room, a Congress Hall dining credit, and a copy of Mint Juleps with Teddy Roosevelt: A Complete History of Presidential Drinking by Mark Will-Weber.

Cocktails With The Presidents

Raise a glass to our Forefathers with this special package that gives a toast to our visitors of the past. Throughout its 201 year history, five sitting presidents traveled from Washington D.C. to Cape May for cool ocean breezes and the relaxing atmosphere that can only be found at America's first seaside resort. This package recreates their experiences (with modern luxuries of course). Sip on cocktails that they would have enjoyed, and flip through Mark Will-Weber's intriguing book Mint Juleps with Teddy Roosevelt, which delves into the social ups and downs of Presidents past. Travel back in time while you enjoy Cocktails with the presidents in Cape May.

As our guest you will enjoy:

  • Deluxe Accomodations
  • Presidential Cocktails in the Brown Room for Two, per stay
  • A copy of Mint Juleps with Teddy Roosevelt: A Complete History of Presidential Drinking by Mark Will-Weber
  • $30 Congress Hall Dining Credit, per day*
  • 1pm Late Checkout**
book now

*All food and beverage charges must be signed to your room for the Dining Credit to be applied. No Cash Value.
** Late checkout does not apply to Friday and Saturday departures.


If you dreamed of a wedding by the sea, Cape May, New Jersey offers beautiful scenery, an ideal location year-round and the perfect intimate space to celebrate your special day.

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Meetings & Retreats

Cape May combines the lure of history with the convenience of modern amenities in a variety of inspired settings, from beach to boardroom to farm.

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resort life

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.

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 features state-of-the art equipment and is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Just sign in at the front desk.

Congress Hall
History Tours

Come over to Congress Hall for our interactive tours led by "Annie Knight" who owned the hotel from 1904-1931. Tours begin in the lobby and feature a 60-minute walking tour through the halls and basement of this grand hotel. Explore Congress Hall and learn more about its remarkable story.

For more information or to purchase your tickets to the History Tour, please call our Concierge at (609) 884-6542 or email us at [email protected]

Beach Plum Farm Tour

Come learn where your vacation meals begin! Almost all the vegetables, eggs and even some of the meat you eat at The Blue Pig and the Boiler Room comes from our very own 62-acre Beach Plum Farm. Located less than two miles away from our hotels, the farm lies on a scenic stretch of land just out of sight of the ocean. Stop by and enjoy a guided or self-guided tour. Learn More.

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. Rent a bike at the Congress Hall Bike Shop, go for an invigorating run on the beach (maybe you’ll see some dolphins!), or ask the front desk for recommendations for nearby hikes and nature walks.

Congress Hall
Bike Shop


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.

Pool and Cabana


We know our beaches are pretty special, but a change of scenery is always nice, especially on vacation. Relax on a lounger surrounded by lush gardens overlooking the famous Grand Lawn and enjoy some of the most desirable real estate on the New Jersey shore. Make new friends, reconnect with a familiar face from your last visit or just sink your teeth into that bestseller you’ve been dying to read.

Beach Service


As our guest, you'll receive complimentary use of loungers, umbrellas and towels. For the ultimate vacation treat, rent one of our classic yellow and white striped beach tents—on the beach directly in front of Congress Hall—and learn first hand just how good a perfect day at the beach can feel.

Beach Boot Camp


Feeling inspired to exercise in the beautiful beach-side setting? We have a great way to provide some gain without the pain. While you’ll definitely work up a sweat, the tranquil ocean views will make your experience something to look forward to rather than dread, we promise.



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, the fresh sea breeze, the scent of hydrangeas and freshly cut grass and the beautiful setting create one of the best yoga experiences you’ll find anywhere.

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.

Since 2012, Congress Hall has been honored by Condé Nast Traveler as one of the top US hotels in the Northeast, and most 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 has also been awarded with Tripadvisor's 2017 Certificate of Excellence.
Voted New Jersey's Best Hotel by Travel + Leisure and its readers.

(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