If you are looking for a charming, family friendly beach front vacation, look no further than Congress Hall in Cape May, New Jersey.
Congress Hall is part of the Cape Resorts Group — a collection of properties scattered along the Cape May beach owned by Curtis Bashaw. Each property has a different personality, with various types of accommodations to suit the needs and budgets of most families. Congress Hall was built 1878 and lovingly renovated by Bashaw in 2002.
Bashaw describes his hotel guests as company, and the staff certainly exudes that vibe. While the decor is formal, the atmosphere is comfortable and welcoming. When he restored Congress Hall, he intentionally kept the old world charm while adding modern amenities so that his guests could enjoy the best of both worlds.
I knew the second I looked at their site on the internet that this was a elegant hotel, but I surprised to learn that elegance does not equal stuffy — at least not at Congress Hall. When Bashaw renovated and opened Congress Hall in 2002, he expected it to cater to young couples and empty nesters. He was surprised to find families flocking to his properties, and he has gone out of his way to make it a place where families can feel comfortable. There are activities for the kids, but rather than creating a family themed resort where parents feel like they are living in a cartoon world, Congress Hall is a place where adults are free to be adults, but their kids are welcome and have plenty to do.
The attention to detail around the resort is remarkable. Room keys were inspired by the luggage tags of the early 1900s, when Cape May became a popular summer haven for folks from Philadelphia and New York and D.C.
The Sea Spa is available for those who are so inclined.
Sea Spa is a haven of healthy indulgence and good humor. Our luxurious massage therapy in the surrounds of yellow and white striped cabana-style treatment rooms will make your spa experience like no other.
The Brown Room is a cozy lounge is located right off the main lobby, a great gathering spot for drinks before dinner.
With its large open fireplace, its fully stocked marble and ebony bar and its warm, luxurious decor it’s the perfect place to relax.
The Boiler Room is a rockin’ night club located in the basement of Congress Hall and built right into the foundation of the building.
The original boiler pit for Congress Hall sits right next to the stage. The faceplate of the original boiler resides on the back wall of the club.
It doesn’t hurt that the hotel is located right on the beach, and just a 2 or 3-hour drive from the Philly suburbs, New York or D.C.
Or if you prefer the pool, hotel staff bring you cocktails to sip while your kids splash and play. Whatever you choose to do with your time at Congress Hall, Bashaw and his team have gone out of their way to make this a vacation for both the kids AND the parents, by providing everything you need. You don’t have to bring anything but your bathing suit.
Because all of the properties are within walking distance, this a great place for extended families to gather. Each family unit can stay in whichever location best suits their needs and budgets and then converge on the beach of at one of the hotel pools or one of their many restaurants — which, by the way, are sourced with ingredients from Beach Plum Farm — also owned and lovingly overseen by Curtis Bashaw.
I should also mention how plush and comfortable the rooms are. They’ve managed to maintain that perfect marriage of old world style and modern conveniences right into the guest rooms, and this was one of the softest, most comfortable beds I’ve ever slept in. The quality of linen is on par with five star hotels.
The bathrooms have all the modern amenities you would expect in a luxury hotel, but the look and feel is that of an early 20th century WC.
With its convenient location, gracious hospitality and vast array of activities, Congress Hall makes for the ideal family beach getaway. You can call for more information on scheduled events, and be sure to ask about discounted rates during the off seasons.
Be sure to follow Congress Hall on Facebook for all their latest news and events.
Disclosure: I was invited to experience Congress Hall by The Motherhood and Cape Resorts Group with no strings attached.