Named the No. 10 best hotel in the Northeast by readers of Condé Nast Traveler, this luxury property in Cape May sits on a sprawling lawn overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
Originally built in 1816, the estate once served as a summer retreat for presidents Ulysses S. Grant, Franklin Pierce, and James Buchanan. John Philip Sousa composed the “Congress Hall March” in its honor.
Guests can enjoy a farm-to-table breakfast in the beautiful outdoor garden at Blue Pig Tavern. Congress Hall's sister property The Virginia also has an upscale, award-winning dining spot, the Ebbitt Room, which serves organic steak and seafood as well as produce from its own farm.
As one of the main social hubs in town, the hotel offers a stylish lounge. Guests can sip cocktails by the open fireplace in the Brown Room.
Ocean-view guest rooms feature spectacular Atlantic vistas. Some also have original 1920s bathtubs big enough for two.
The hotel, which recently underwent a $26 million renovation, boasts soaring ceilings and massive Victorian mirrors.
At the onsite Sea Spa, you can indulge in luxurious treatments such as an Ocean Memory Marine massage or a Silicium Super Lift facial.
Cape May, New Jersey: Seaside Resort Town with Victorian Architecture
Long billed as America's oldest seaside resort, Cape May sits at New Jersey's southernmost tip. The setting is so idyllic that the Travel Channel named the town’s coastline one of the top 10 beaches in the country. Aside from beachcombing, popular pastimes here include fishing, whale watching, and bird watching. In fact, the New York Times called Cape May "one of North America's hottest birding spots." You might see bald eagles, herons, and woodcocks. In the spring, keep your eyes peeled for the latter’s intricate mating dance.
After a fire ravaged most of Cape May in 1878, residents rebuilt in the contemporary style of the time, and dozens of their stately Victorian homes remain standing today. Consequently, the Cape May Historic District has earned the distinction of being a National Historic Landmark. Horses and carriages tour the colorful, cottage-lined streets, which have been deemed off-limits to chain stores in order to preserve the classic small-town atmosphere. Along Delaware Bay stands the 1859 Cape May Lighthouse. Those who climb the tower’s 199 stairs are rewarded at the top with an unbeatable view of the Atlantic Ocean.