Cape May, New Jersey is one of the United States' first vacation destinations and remains one of the most popular beach towns on the eastern coast. Cape May is named for Dutch explorer Cornelius Jacobson Mey who mapped the region where the Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean on the southern tip of what would become New Jersey. Cape May became a popular summer vacation spot during thee mid nineteenth century. Many wealthy people of nearby cities like New York City and Philadelphia enjoyed their summers at the beautiful beaches. Tragically a fire destroyed many of the original Victorian style homes along the beach inn 1848 but many would be rebuilt in their original glory. During the 1860's, the new Tuckahoe and Cape May Railroad brought more tourists to the area. Cape May returns a popular vacation destination today. Visitors can enjoy the beautiful beaches, whale and dolphin watching off the coast, quaint spots to dine and shop, and beautifully restored Victorian bed and breakfasts and beach front luxury hotels.
Here are the 20 best Cape May hotels in 2019.
20. Sandpiper Beach Club
Located near the beach, the Sandpiper Beach Club features 51 well equipped guest suites. Each of the one or two bedroom spacious suites has a fully equipped kitchen and a private balcony. The family friendly resort has a heated pool with a snack bar with a beach menu. The resort has a large fitness center. The excellent concierge service offers advice on where and what to do in Cape May and includes discounts to Cape May's other resort's restaurants.
19. Madison Avenue Beach Club
The Madison Avenue Beach Club was developed by The Demutis Group in 1941 and remains a popular with tourists today. The hotel features Victorian mixed with modern decor. Each of the 42 suites has a fully equipped kitchenette. The Beach Club is family and pet friendly. Guests can enjoy the nearby beach and Madison Avenue Beach Club's heated pool and hot tub. The hotel offers regular trolley service to Cape May's historic downtown where they can enjoy shopping, dining, entertainment and tours.
18. Virginia Cottages
One great option when visiting Cape May is to stay at one of the Virginia Cottages. If you're looking for a private place to stay, these are great. The legend is that the cottages were built by a wealthy developer for his 7 daughters in Italian Renaissance style in the 1890's. Five of the cottages have been restored and serve as a collection of vacation rentals located throughout Cape May. Each cottage served as summer homes for decades. The restoration of each includes modern updates but also maintains the classic style of each. The Red Cottage is located in the historic district and features Queen Ann style decor. The Classic Italianate Pink Cottage has a beautiful back porch to enjoy the outdoors and scents of the ocean. The Brown Cottage has beautiful gardens and a private courtyard. It's located close to the beach. The White Cottage has 3 floors and back porch ocean views. The Gray Cottage is located in Cape May's Historic District and features an upside down floor plan with the kitchen and living room on the second floor overlooking the nearby ocean.
17. Grand Hotel
Grand Hotel is an oceanfront resort in Cape May popular with tourists. The resort offers a variety of guest suite options including doubles, queens, kings and 2 story townhouses. Whether you're a party of 2 or 8, there's plenty of room at Grand Hotel. Each guest room has either an ocean front or an ocean view. The Grand Hotel has a large outdoor pool, a heated indoor pool, a fitness center and a family game room. Guests and locals enjoy Hemingway's Steak and Seafood Restaurant which serves a breakfast buffet, lunch and dinner. There is live music two nights a week and dancing on weekends.
Antoinette's is a beautiful family friendly Inn located in Cape May's historic district. The Inn has been restored to its original Victorian grandeur with modern amenities. Antoinette's has 1 and 2 bedroom guest suites as well as apartments that can accommodate larger groups. Located near shopping and dining as well as the beach, Antoinette's offers complimentary bikes, beach chairs, umbrellas and towels. Antoinette's is named for a famous lady who summered at Cape May before moving there permanently.
15. The Hotel Alcott
This charming hotel is a restored Italianate Bracketed villa. It's filled with period antiques but also includes modern and upscale amenities. The Hotel Alcott has 31 uniquely decorated guest rooms. Each has a unique size and shape as well as architectural details. The beautiful interior of The Hotel Alcott features one of the first wide hanging staircases in the United States. Guests can mingle in the lounge, sun room and spacious veranda. There is also a beautiful courtyard with a fountain. Guests are treated to a daily continental breakfast and beach towels. Guests may dine at The Hotel Alcott may enjoy dining at La Verandah Restaurant in the intimate dining room or outdoors on the veranda. The Hotel Alcott hosts weddings and other events.
14. Beauclaire's Bed and Breakfast
Beauclaire's was built as a summer home a year after the 1878 fire. The Queen Ann style home featured many divided spaces which offered its residents privacy. Now a bed and breakfast, Beauclaire's is located in Cape May's historic district, just a short walk to the beach or downtown where guests can enjoy dining, shopping, theater, tours and carriage rides. The inn features common areas including a book filled living room with a fireplace, an airy sun room, a large porch and a third floor turret room with a witch's watch overlooking the ocean. Guests enjoy breakfast, afternoon tea and wine and cheese events. The 6 guest suites include Queen Ann style beds, claw foot tubs, antiques and modern amenities.
13. Leith Hall
Leith Hall was built at the corner of Columbia Avenue and Ocean Street soon after the fire of 1878 destroyed a large hotel on the street. The home that would become Leith Hall Bed and Breakfast was one of several French style homes built as summer residences. Elan and Susan Leith purchased the home and restored in 1989. The B & B is located just one block from the beach. The Leiths serve a full breakfast daily for guests as well as afternoon tea. The home is filled with antiques but has a casual atmosphere where guests can mingle with their hosts and other guests in common areas including the porch. There 8 guest rooms uniquely decorated. Each has a canopy queen or king sized bed and private bath.
12. La Mer
La Mer offers three options for guests of the beach front resort. Guests can stay in the Beachside lodging which features large hotel style suites with private balconies and kitchenettes. The decor is beachy and modern featuring cherry wood and well appointed amenities. Guests of La Mer can also opt for a larger 2 bedroom condo. The third option is the resort's Beach House. It's a 10 bedroom home located just 1/2 mile from the beach. It's the perfect spot to stay when vacationing with the entire family, friends or for a special event or wedding. Le Mer offers guests beach chairs and umbrellas. There is a heated outdoor pool, fitness center and business center. La Mer offers regular trolley service to the beach.
11. The Harrison
The Harrison is an elegant Victorian style bed and breakfast located just 1 block from the beach and close to the Washington Street Mall which offers quaint dining and shopping options. The 16 room bed and breakfast includes 9 Queen bed rooms and 7 King bed rooms. Each guest room is decorated in unique Victorian style and offers elegance and comfort with modern amenities in a historic setting. Daily breakfast in the Grand Dining Room or on the Veranda features a variety of dishes including Strata, Eggs Benedict with caviar, fresh fruit and pastries. The Harrison also hosts an afternoon tea as well as complimentary drinks. Guests can enjoy the site's beautiful English style gardens and bikes and beach chairs.
10. Montreal Beach Club
Montreal Beach Club is a luxury beach front resort located at Beach Drive and Madison Avenue. The original hotel was built by Harry and Sophia Hirsch, Polish immigrants, in 1951. The couple built the amazing 27 room ocean front hotel which continued to expand during the last half of the twentieth century. The guest rooms feature either ocean front or ocean views and have a private balcony. Guests enjoy access to the private beach club and private beach cabanas. The resort is still owned by the Hirsch family which prides itself in offering the best customer and family friendly services. The rooms offer comfort and modern amenities. Guests can enjoy the poolside Harry's Ocean Bar and Grill and the rooftop Patio Bar as well as The Wine Cellar at Harry's.
ICONA is a recently renovated ocean side resort in Cape May. The recently renovated hotel is seaside chic and features 56 boutique style guest rooms. ICONA features a crisp white exterior with nautical blue accidents in its shutters and awnings. The unique guest rooms feature the same modern, nautical theme. ICONA caters to couples, families and groups and is a great place to hold a special event such as a wedding. Guests can enjoy nearby resort restaurants. ICONA also offers a shuttle to its sister property, ICONA Diamond Beach, located 10 miles north of Cape May. There, guests of ICONA can enjoy a private beach and cocktail and dine at Coastal Blue Oceanside Bar and Grill or The Star Beach Bar.
8. Wilbraham Mansion
Wilbraham Mansion was built by Philadelphia industrialist John Wilbraham in 1840 and underwent an expansion in 1900. The Victorian style home remained a private residence until 1988 when it was transformed into an elegant 20 guest room bed and breakfast. The building features original beveled glass, ornate plaster moldings, high French doors and gilded mirrors. It's located just a 10 minute stroll to the beach and an 8 minute stroll to shopping and dining venues. Wilbraham Mansion offers a full breakfast daily as well as afternoon tea. Guests can opt for flower and cheese delivery to their room as well as in room and off site spa services.
7. The Virginia
The Virginia is a luxury boutique hotel located along a tree lined street in Cape May's historic district. The Victorian home was restored in 1879 after the fire of 1848. Once a rooming house The Virginia eventually declined but was fully renovated in the 1980's. Today, each of the 24 guest rooms is decorated in an original style. The Virginia offers complementary breakfast daily as well as cocktails on the porch. Located near the beach, The Virginia offers private beach tents to its guests. Guests can also enjoy meals in Thee Ebitt Room which feature fresh ingredients grown at the nearby Beach Palm Farm. The Virginia is a sister hotel of Congress Hall.
6. The Southern Mansion
Built in 1860 Thee Southern Mansion is the largest bed and breakfast in Cape May. Located in the historic district, the hotel is just a 5 minute walk to the beach. The beautifully furnished Victorian home offers excellent service and with attention to hospitality. The beautifully decorated guest rooms offer well appointed amenities. Guests can enjoy a daily continental breakfast, enjoy the beautiful gardens and receive a beach chair and towels for the beach. It's a great venue for a wedding. The Southern Mansion also offers tours and tastings at the nearby Willow Creek winery.
5. Ocean Club
Ocean Club is a boutique style resort located on Cape May's promenade between the street and beach. The luxury resort was designed by Tyler Duncan of Duncan and Duncan designs. Each guest room has an ocean view and private balcony. Each room is comfortable, modern and luxurious. The hotel is also eco friendly. The Ocean Club features the Seasalt Restaurant and the poolside Tiki Ten 35. The Ocean Club offers guests beach cabanas and chairs. It's a great beach side resort for families and for weddings and events.
4. Angel of the Sea
Angel of the Sea is one of the most breathtaking inns in Cape May. The ornate Victorian home was built by Philadelphia chemist William Weightman in 1850. In 1881 Weightman decided to move the home closer to the beach at the corner of Ocean and Beach Avenues. The house had to be split in half and once at the new site became 2 separate houses. After Weightman's death in 1905, the houses became a hotel, restaurant and housing for workers at the town's inns. The buildings served as a Shelton College dorm for several years before being abandoned. Developer John Girton restored the buildings in 1988 and opened Angel of the Sea. Today, the inn features 27 guest rooms with private baths decorated in Victorian style with modern amenities. The wrap around porch offers ocean views. Guests are treated to a full breakfast, afternoon tea and evening wine and cheese. Guests of Angel of the Sea receive complimentary bikes, beach chairs, beach umbrellas and beach towels.
3. The Queen Victoria
This Bed and Breakfast has consistently been named Best of Cape May. The property located in the historic district at the corner of Ocean Street and Columbia Avenue is just one block from the beach and 2 from shopping and dining. The property features four Victorian style buildings and 35 guest rooms and suites. Each is decorated with unique Victorian style. Some suites feature whirlpool baths and gas fireplaces. The Queen Victoria is known for its attention to Victorian style details including handcrafted wallpaper modeled after Victorian designer William Morris.
2. Carroll Villa
Carroll Villa is a popular Victorian style resort located in Cape May's historic district just a half block from the beach. The 19 boutique guest room resort is family friendly while offering luxury, modern amenities. Philadelphia Art Gallery owner, Harry Kulowitz, bought the hotel in 1976 and built it into the amazing resort it is today. The resort continues to be managed by Kulowitz's and his family. The guest rooms feature eclectic decor including Victorian, Eastlake, Craftsman and mid-century pieces. The hotel also has the renown award winning The Mad Batter Restaurant which features a sky lit dining area as well as the garden terrace room and dining on the front porch overlooking historic and quaint Jackson Street.
1. Congress Hall
Congress Hall was rebuilt on the site of of one of Cape May's first resorts after the fire of 1848 destroyed the original large wooden building. Thomas Hughes built a large boarding house called "The Big House" on the site in 1816. When he was elected to Congress, he renamed the hotel in 1828. When Congress Hall was rebuilt with brick in 1879, it became one of the most popular places to summer in New Jersey. Congress Hall hosted many famous guests including several United States Presidents and even John Philip Sousa who put on concerts there. The hotel fell into disrepair during the nineteenth century but a major renovation in 2001 made the hotel, once again, one of the most popular and luxurious in Cape May. The large hotel includes luxury guest rooms decorated in colonial style with modern amenities. The hotel has a spa, fitness room, and meeting and event space. Guests may dine and cocktail at the resorts restaurants and bars.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson