If you have ever paid any interest to New Jersey, then chances are you need no introduction to Cape May. Located at the southern end of Cape May County’s Peninsula, this city is one of the oldest vacation resort destinations in the U.S. Although it has a rather small population of about 4,000 people, this has not curbed its success in being a leading bird watching site with award winning beaches and an extremely rich history.
In fact, the Travel Channel recently acknowledged Cape May as one of the top ten beaches in America, and its beach actually ranked 5th in New Jersey in 2008. The city accommodates millions of tourists every year, who are equally amazed by the sand and the sun, as the birds and butterflies, the solitude & romance, and the entertainment. While some prefer sleeping under the stars, others are intrigued by the top-of-the-class B&B hotels in the region. Whether you are spending a day, a weekend, or an entire vacation in the city, you will love our top five Cape May Hotels of 2016:
Congress Hall – $319 – $639
Founded in 1816, the Congress Hall is a large upscale hotel that resides at the end of a peninsula. It features vibrant, pastel-colored rooms adorned with period Victorian accents. Each room is fitted with a flat screen TV and free Wi-Fi, with some offering excellent ocean views. There are two suites as well, each equipped with a private balcony that includes either a living area and full kitchen or a wet bar and parlor. Guests are treated to such amenities as an outdoor pool, a complex cocktail bar, a spa (at a fee), and a stylish basement nightclub. For meals, there’s a restaurant that serves classic American dishes. The hotel also offers free loungers with towels and umbrellas on the beach, as well cabanas at an extra charge.
Blue Fish Inn – $87 to $107
An excellent getaway, this relaxed motel sits in a comfy building on a leafy street a short distance away from the Cape May Lighthouse and the beach. It comes with bright rooms fitted with mini-fridges, microwaves, coffeemakers, iPod docks, flat screen TVs, and free Wi-Fi. Some include kitchenettes, while the suites offer kitchens, 2nd bedrooms, and/or living rooms integrated with pullout sofas. Guests also get to enjoy complimentary onsite parking and continental breakfast, in addition to luxurious amenities such as a picnic area, gas grills, and an outdoor pool.
Sandpiper Beach Club – $183 to $348
Located a short distance from the Cape May National Golf Club and Cape May Point State Park, this posh hotel is a great retreat from the outside world with excellent views of the beach and Ocean Avenue. It features 1 and two bedroom suits adorned in pale hues and hardwood floors, each equipped with a living room with pullout sofas, private balconies, and full kitchens. All the suites have free Wi-Fi and two flat screen TVs. Sandpiper Beach Club also offers such amenities as a heated pool, surcharged cabanas with waiter service, a sauna, and a fitness room. In addition, the hotel has a sister hotel a short distance away, where guests can access fitness classes, bike rentals, and a spa.
The Southern Mansion – $322 to $342
This exceptional bed and breakfast is set in an ancient Italianate mansion that dates back to 1860. It is a short walking distance from the beach and a couple of blocks away from a pedestrian street mall. It features en suite rooms with flat screen TVs, period features, ornate antique furniture, and free Wi-Fi. Some rooms are equipped with four-poster beds while split level spaces provide additional living areas. Guests are treated to complimentary continental breakfast and ample parking. During summer, towels and beach chairs are availed. Unfortunately, this is an adult-only venue as kids below the age of ten are not allowed.
Allow me to diverge a little. The Southern Mansion has an interesting history. It was first created by an Irishman referred to as George Allen during the Civil War, who intended it to be his summer residence. During that time, his primary home was in Philadelphia, where he had made quite a name for himself as a merchant of hats, shoes, and uniforms that were supplied to both the southern and northern armies.
The mansion remained a site of extravagant entertainment for several years, before the town fathers outlawed drinking and gambling to the dissatisfaction of Allen, who subsequently left Cape Town and returned to Philadelphia. The possession of the property was transferred to his wife, Esther, but when the two passed away without any children of their own, the house was left to the wife’s sister’s daughters – Agnes and Esther. Eventually, the house was passed on to Esther C. Dougherty, Agnes’ daughter, who was married twice, with her second marriage being to Ulysses Mercur, Jr. The latter belonged to a well-to-do family, being the son of Supreme Court Chief Justice of Pennsylvania.
Esther seemed to have been a party girl, and when she died at 68 in 1946, her husband was so enraged by her lifestyle that he smashed all the bottles of wine from the prized George Allen collection. Many people believe that her spirit still lingers at the Southern Mansion, citing a number of hauntings at the premises.
The Virginia Hotel – $106 to $357
This historic guesthouse can be traced back to 1879. It provides easy access to the beach and the West End Garage shopping center, and features stately rooms with designer toiletries, bathrobes, minibars, flat screen TVs, and free Wi-Fi. Some even offer private balconies. Guests are treated to such amenities as complimentary beach service and breakfast, as well as an onsite locavore restaurant that comes with live music.
The hotel also provides free access to a spa, fitness center, and a nearby pool. The central location of the Virginia Hotel, which is about half a block between a pedestrian shopping area and the beach, provides guests with easy access to most favorite spots of Cape May. The Ebbit Room, their award winning gourmet restaurant, is situated just besides the comfy lounge and offers Piano entertainment nightly and during the weekends. During summer, guests can unwind on the extensive veranda while sipping a cocktail, or engage in a book next to the inviting fireplace during the chilly winter months.