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.

What's Happening in Cape May?

We know everyone is curious about what's open and available around Cape Resorts at this time. To help you plan your summer escape, we've designed a digital guide to dining, shopping, relaxation, and recreation: The Cape Bulletin.
View the Cape Bulletin View Frequently Asked Questions

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.
view all room amenities

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.
view all resort fee inclusions

Congress Hall

Fourth of July
Lobster Bake

collage of lobster bake table setting and bar
Featuring a menu of steamed Maine lobster, middle neck clams, fresh corn on the cob, Red Bliss potatoes and more, our full service sit-down Lobster Bake is an All-American feast for the family that offers the perfect way to celebrate the Fourth. The Originaires will provide the perfect summer soundtrack as you enjoy reserved seating in the open air of Congress Hall’s Grand Lawn.

Sold Out

Tickets to our Fourth of July Lobster Bake have sold out.

Dining at Congress Hall

chairs, table and umbrella on the congress hall lawnadirondack chairs on the congress hall lawn cocktail on a outdoor marble countertop

Congress Hall's

Grand Lawn & Veranda Bar

Introducing Congress Hall's new open-air dining destination: the Grand Lawn & Veranda Bar. Dine at reservation-only tables on the Grand Lawn with a menu that includes craft cocktails, a full raw bar, Boiler Room pizza and small bites for kids and adults.

Learn MoreView Menu
blue pig tavern signboy drinking from a sippy cupsalmon dish besides white wine and rosé

Outdoor Dining at the

Blue Pig Tavern

Reserve your table for breakfast, lunch or dinner and dine al fresco with the Tavern favorites of the Blue Pig, either on our breezy outdoor porch, or—new this year—on the beautiful Veranda of Congress Hall.
Learn More View Menu

Summer GUEST PROGRAMMING

Summer is all about fun in the sun, and our team has prepared a robust schedule of exciting guest activities for the season. From Monday Carnivals at Congress Hall to exciting nature activities at Beach Plum Farm, our guest programming will keep the whole family engaged all the way through your Cape May vacation.

View our Events Calendar
for the full summer lineup

View Events Calendar

Congress Hall

Health & Wellness

woman practicing yoga on the beach

Yoga on the Beach

Join us on the beach in front of Congress Hall for a morning yoga session. The soothing ocean breezes and sea salt air provide a naturally peaceful setting. No pre-registration required.

On the Beach in front of Congress Hall
Daily at 8:00am

Yoga sessions are included with your stay as a Cape Resorts guest. Non-guests can purchase tickets for $15 from the instructor on the morning of the session.

woman working out on beach

Beach Bootcamp

at Congress Hall

Join instructor Donna Valentine on the beach for a thorough workout suitable for all fitness levels. Beach Bootcamp sessions are included with your stay as our guest—no pre-registration required.

On the Beach in front of Congress Hall
Daily at 8:00am

Beach Boot Camp sessions are included with your stay as a Cape Resorts guest. Non-guests can purchase tickets for $15 from the instructor on the morning of the session.

bike shop at congress hall

Congress Hall

Bike Shop

The Bike Shop is open! Rent a bike or a surrey for a breezy ride around Cape Island. The Congress Hall Bike Shop is your one-stop resource for rentals of singles, doubles, and children's bicycles, as well as whole-family surreys and all the supplies you'll need for a day of pedaling around town.

View Bike Shop Hours

packages

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

What's Open in Cape May?

beach

Cape May Beaches

Open

Guests are permitted to swim, walk, jog, fish, sit and sunbathe on Cape May's beaches.

Social distancing guidelines must be adhered to. Beach tags are required for beach access.

Updated June 2, 2020

man and woman walking on beach

Beach Service

Available

Complimentary chairs, towels and umbrellas are provided by request for Cape Resorts guests, and food service to the beach is available.

Social distancing guidelines must be adhered to. Beach Tags are required for beach access.

Updated June 2, 2020

pool water

Swimming Pools

Open

The pools at our properties are open for swimming and sunbathing. Please remember to follow all signage and practice social distancing.

Updated June 22, 2020

congress hall

Our Cape May Hotels

Open

We're dedicated to cleanliness and social distancing standards so that you can breathe easy with the space you need. View Our Hotels & Cottages

Updated June 2, 2020

burger

Take-Out Dining

Open

We've prepared a number of take-out dining options, each featuring eclectic menus of fresh farm-to-table fare. View Our Take-Out Dining Options

Updated June 2, 2020

boy drinking from a sippy cup

Outdoor Dining

OPEN

Outdoor dining is available and open to the public. Reservations are required. View Our Outdoor Dining Options

Updated June 15, 2020

table in the blue pig tavern

In-Restaurant Dining

Coming Soon

We are working to create socially-distant indoor dining experiences in accordance with state and local guidelines. Please check back for updates. In the meantime, we have a range of outdoor dining options to enjoy.

Updated June 22, 2020

man holding bag that says tommys folly

Retail Shopping

OPEN

Retail stores are open for in-store shopping as of Monday, June 15 (with 50% occupancy permitted). Please remember to wear a face mask and follow social distancing guidelines while shopping. View Retail Options

Updated June 15, 2020

produce on a shelf

Food Shopping

Open

Food markets are open for shopping around Cape May, as well as local open-air farm stands like the Market at Beach Plum Farm.

Please adhere to all social distancing guidelines and store policies.

Updated June 2, 2020

sea spa

The Sea Spa

Open

The Sea Spa at Congress Hall has reopened for service. Reservations are required. Click here to reserve a treatment.

Updated June 22, 2020

Frequently Asked Questions

At the Beach

Are the beaches open?

Yes, the beaches are open in Cape May and Cape May Point for sunbathing, swimming, sandcastle-building and bocce ball (as always, it’s rude to cheat). But please remember that strict social distancing requirements remain in place. And you can only swim where lifeguards are on duty.

Updated: June 3, 2020

Do I still need a beach tag?

Yes, and beach tags are provided by Cape Resorts. Please ask your concierge.

Updated: June 3, 2020

What about the promenade?

It’s also open, but Cape May’s promenade is narrow, so please practice proper social distancing and ensure that everyone in your party is wearing a mask. You still can’t walk a dog, ride your bike, skateboard or rollerblade on the promenade.

Updated: June 3, 2020


By the Pool

Are the Cape Resorts swimming pools open?

Yes! The pools at our properties are open for swimming and sunbathing. Please remember to follow all signage and practice social distancing.

Updated: June 22, 2020


Time to Eat

What Food & Beverage options are available in Cape May right now?

We are working to create socially-distant indoor dining experiences in accordance with state and local guidelines. Please check back for updates.
In the meantime, Outdoor Dining is available and open to the public—and we have some exciting options this season that celebrate our outdoor spaces. Click here to view a list of our Outdoor Dining options.
We also have a range of Take-Out options available for our guests. Click here to view a list of our Take-Out options.

Updated: June 22, 2020

What other restaurant options are there in Cape May?

There are currently dozens of restaurants in the area offering outdoor dining, curbside pickup and delivery. The www.capemaystrong.org site is a good source restaurant news.

Updated: June 15, 2020


Shopping the Cape

What stores are open in Cape May?

Retail stores are open for in-store shopping as of Monday, June 15 (with 50% occupancy permitted). Please remember to wear a face mask and follow social distancing guidelines while shopping.

Updated: June 15, 2020

Is there a pharmacy in town?

Yes, the CVS is located directly across from West End Garage and is open from 8am-10pm daily.

Updated: June 3, 2020


Fun and Games

We’ve loved events like Monday Night Carnival at Congress Hall, Clambakes on the Lawn and fun stuff like Bingo with Blue. Will any of those be happening soon?

Our goal is to create a fun and safe environment for all our guests and we are currently awaiting state guidelines in order to complete our programming offerings. Stay tuned!

Updated: June 3, 2020

What other activities are happening in Cape May? Can I climb the lighthouse, rent a bike or go on a horse-and-carriage ride?

Currently, activities are obviously curtailed by COVID-related guidelines. You CAN take a tour of the Historic District on a horse-and-carriage tour (ask our concierge for details). And you CAN, at least, drive or bike down to the lighthouse and behold this famous old landmark, while walking the Cape May Point State Park (wearing a mask and social distancing). Bike rentals are available from Cape Resorts. And we are also able to supply you with tickets for whale and dolphin-watching trips. As well as checking this page regularly, we also recommend you visit the website of Cape May MAC, who operate the lighthouse and trolley tours as well as a LOT of fun cultural activities on the island. They’re providing updates at www.capemaymac.org.

Updated: June 3, 2020


Amenities and Services

Is the Sea Spa open?

Yes, the Sea Spa at Congress Hall has reopened for service! Reservations are required. Click here to reserve a treatment.

Updated: June 25, 2020

What activities and amenities are being offered this summer at Cape Resorts?

We will continue our tradition of offering a variety of amenities and activities with your comfort and enjoyment in mind. Amenities will include daily housekeeping and turndown service, newspaper delivery, a choice of valet or self-parking, reservation assistance and much more. Now, more than ever, it's up to YOU which services you wish to access. As far as our activities are concerned, we will be designing them with all of the official guidelines in mind so that fun AND safety go hand-in-hand. Please check in regularly with our website and our concierge team to see what is available during your stay with us.

Updated: June 3, 2020

What cleaning procedures will be in place for bellhops helping with luggage?

Each member of our hotel staff has been thoroughly trained on enhanced sanitizing protocol and will ensure your luggage is cleaned after they handle it.

Updated: June 3, 2020

How about those parking meters? Still operating?

The City of Cape May brought back meters on May 16. Rather than fetch around for quarters, we recommend downloading the ParkMobile app.

Updated: June 3, 2020

I have a question which isn’t on this list. Who should I call or email?

Our Concierge is a great resource. You can reach them by calling (609) 884-6542 or by emailing [email protected].

Updated: June 3, 2020

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:

View Google Map & Enter Your Starting Point

From Specific Points

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