Congress Hall

Congress Hall is a luxury resort in fashionable Cape May, New Jersey. This beautiful, sophisticated resort is America's oldest, having been founded in 1816 by Thomas Hughes. At first, the hotel was called "The Big House", and was a simple wood boarding house for summer vacationers. The name was changed to its current moniker when, in 1828, Thomas Hughes was elected to Congress.

In 1878, a fire swept through the hotel, destroying it entirely. A replacement was erected, this time in brick. The gracious hotel has been loved by popular writers, entertainments, and several American presidents. Ulysses S. Grant, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, and Benjamin Harrison all stayed at Congress Hall. Benjamin Harrison spent so much time at the hotel during the warm months of the year that he referred to the resort as his "Summer White House". Photo: Congress Hall


»Accommodations

Accommodations


All of the more than one hundred rooms and suites of Congress Hall are decorated to soothe and calm, using the blue shades of the sea, tasteful artwork, and enviable views of the ocean. Rooms at Congress Hall have TV, complimentary Wi-Fi, two phones, voice mail, a data port, terry robes, a bathroom with a hairdryer and toiletries, an iron and ironing board, and receive twice daily housekeeping.

Suites

The large, gracious suites at Congress Hall are decked in sedate blues and grays, have playful seaside accents, and daring splashes of color. Bedding is plush, and the furniture is custom-designed and handcrafted.

The Presidential Suite has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a large parlor, and a well-proportioned balcony. One bedroom overlooks the grand lawn, and is dominated by a gorgeous king canopy bed. It has an en suite bathroom with a Jacuzzi to relax in. The second bedroom also has a king bed. This room has an ocean view, and comfortable club chairs. Two queen sleeper sofas in the parlor help accommodate extra guests. The expansive parlor has plenty of seating and a wet bar.

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The Annie Knight Suite is named for the woman who owned the hotel during the years 1904-1931. This lovely suite has two bedrooms, both with king beds, a parlor with a pullout sofa, and a living area that includes a full kitchen and a dining table. The deck of the suite looks out at the ocean.

The Junior Suites have an atmosphere redolent of an American cottage. These suites include a comfortable bed, a queen sleeper sofa, cozy armchairs, and are lovely and serene.

Deluxe Guestrooms are outfitted with a king canopy bed, an old-fashioned desk, a seating area with two club chairs, and doors leading to a private balcony. Both ocean view and town view rooms are available. Superior Rooms have two queen or one king bed, town or ocean views, a sleeper loveseat, and a club chair. Standard Rooms have a town or ocean view, one queen or two queen beds, and a comfortable chair. Congress Hall in Cape May, New Jersey - Photo:

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»Dining

Dining


Congress Hall has a strong focus on farm-to-table dining. All of its produce and eggs come from the resort's own Beach Plum Farm, a 62-acre plantation that grows more than one hundred varieties of fruit, vegetables, berries, herbs, and flowers. A large flock of chickens provide eggs for the hotel. Each year approximately 10,000 pounds of tomatoes and 2,000 pounds of strawberries are grown at Beach Plum Farm.

The Blue Pig Tavern in Congress Hall offers American comfort food to its diners. Guests here can sit indoors in the splendid dining room near the fireplace, or stretch out on the secluded patio. Farm-fresh produce means that the menu changes according to the season, but some of the standby favorites include macaroni and cheese, fish and chips, chicken noodle soup, meatloaf, steak, and spaghetti. Salad lovers will be in their element here, with fresh crisp vegetables to devour, and roast chicken, sandwiches, wraps, and burgers are always available. Fresh seafood from the Atlantic rounds out the menu.

The Boiler Room is an underground music club and pizzeria located in the basement of Congress Hall. The late night club has a distinctly urban feel, and live entertainment means that diners can dance between courses, or just sit back and enjoy the tunes. Sports matches are always showing on the twelve large HD TVs in The Boiler Room, and salads, brick oven pizza, cocktails, and ice cold beer make this restaurant the perfect place to end the day.

If The Boiler Room is the perfect place to end the day, then Tommy's Folly Coffee Shop is the ideal place to start it. Wake up to coffee, espresso, and cappuccino, accompanied by freshly baked pastries and muffins, sandwiches, and wraps. Breakfast can be enjoyed outside either in rocking chairs on the veranda, or in Adirondack chairs on the lawn overlooking the sea.

The Brown Room is a lounge where comfort is key. Guests can sink into deep leather chairs, relax by the fireplace, and enjoy the surroundings. The Brown Room is tricked out in 1930s d├ęcor, with a large zebra-skin rug, palm trees, and fine period artwork. Live entertainment plays while guests savor signature cocktails, beer, and wine, and dine on a selection of small plate offerings. Baked clams, smoked salmon, meatballs, and devilled eggs are just a few of The Brown Room's menu items. Congress Hall in Cape May, New Jersey - Photo:

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»Spa & Other Activities

Spa & Other Activities


The Sea Spa offers facials, massage, body treatments, waxing, manicures, and pedicures. The facials on the spa menu hydrate, cleanse, and exfoliate, while minimizing fine lines and smoothing rough skin. Guests of the hotel come to be soothed by massage, whether it be a classic Swedish rubdown, a deep therapeutic massage, prenatal treatment, a foot rub, or the relaxing effects of hot stone therapy. Body treatments include a hydrating wrap, sea salt exfoliation, or a detoxifying body mask made of seaweed.

Whether it be swimming, biking, bird watching, hiking, or sunbathing by the pool, Congress Hall and the Cape May area have something to please every guest.

The beach at Congress Hall is the main attraction for summer visitors. Striped beach tents are the big hit, and reservations for them go quickly. Beach tent rentals include two lounge chairs, lush beach towels, a cooler containing water, soda, and iced tea, a table, and food service. Those not lucky enough to get a beach tent can still use the resort's loungers, beach umbrellas, and towels, and have a bite to eat at the beach's own food stand. Hungry beachgoers can snack on hummus with pita bread, guacamole with tortillas, fresh watermelon and other local fruits, giant chocolate chip cookies, potato chips, sandwiches, ice cream and salads. A children's menu is offered for youngsters. No alcoholic beverages are permitted on the beach, but the beach menu offers soda, lemonade, and water.

Sun lovers who prefer a pool deck will love the relaxing lounge chairs around the hotel's large pool. Surrounded by lush gardens and the grand lawn, guests can sunbathe, swim, and dine on the same menu as beachgoers. Alcoholic beverages are welcome at the pool, and guests may choose from cold beer and signature cocktails.

The hotel offers bicycle rentals for guests who would like to tour the area. Single bikes, tandem bicycles, and children's bikes are available. A popular destination is Beach Plum Farm, only a mile and a half from Congress Hall, and open to guests. Kids will like the opportunity to check out the chickens, pigs, and ducks who call the farm home.

For fitness buffs there are jogging and running trails nearby, plenty of places to walk, and a fitness center right in the hotel. Guests may enjoy Boot Camp or yoga classes on the beach. Kayak and paddle board rentals and lessons are available locally.

Every weekend, Congress Hall offers historical tours that last about an hour. On Thursday evenings, family members can get together for karaoke night, and on Monday evenings everyone can join in the carnival on the grand lawn. Carnivals feature family-friendly games, face-painting, balloon animals, and food vendors.

The Cape May area is a haven for sea and migratory birds. Hundreds of varieties of birds have been sighted here, and include sandpipers, gulls, terns, pelicans, mergansers, golden eagles, peregrine falcons, cormorants, egrets, ibis, herons, mockingbirds, flycatchers, and hawks. Birding tours are available, both on land and by boat. Lovers of sea animals can take whale watching tours during which the area's whales, dolphins, and sea birds delight sailors and visitors alike. Congress Hall in Cape May, New Jersey - Photo:

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»Weddings

Weddings

The Victorian charm and excellent service of Congress Hall makes it a highly popular wedding destination. For one hundred years, people have come to Congress Hall to be married on the grand lawn, the beach, or in the huge ballroom indoors. The hotel employs wedding planning and event coordinating experts who help to coordinate every aspect of the big day.

Wedding packages are offered by the hotel, and include two nights' accommodation for the happy couple in a Deluxe Room, the services of a wedding planner and event coordinator, valet parking, fine banquet linens, and on-site wedding cake services. A premium open bar and champagne for toasting helps make the wedding festive, and hot and cold passed hors d'oeuvres, plated and buffet meals, desserts, and a children's menu will appeal to even the fussiest eater.

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200 Congress Place, Cape May, New Jersey 08204, Phone: 609-884-8421, website Congress Hall in Cape May, New Jersey - Photo:

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Congress Hall in Cape May, New Jersey