Sitting pretty at the tip of New Jersey, where Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean, Cape May has a rich offering of luxury hotels and sumptuous B&Bs. Here’s where to stay to luxe it up on the cape – bookable on Culture Trip.
Whether you are searching for miles of white sand and a relaxing beach break, or want to investigate the town’s rich history and Victorian charm, Cape May has something to offer all year round. Transport yourself to the 1800s and soak up traditional hospitality in the town’s plethora of impeccably kept hotels and quaint B&Bs.
Virginia Hotel & Cottages
Courtesy of Virginia Hotel & Cottages / Expedia | Courtesy of Virginia Hotel & Cottages / Expedia
This homely hotel is nestled in the historic district of Cape May and has been tastefully decorated to restore original features. Expect pretty shutter boards at the windows, luxurious plaid furnishings and quirky wallpaper. With turndown and room service, plus a copy of the New York Times delivered to your door each morning, the 24 rooms are sumptuously romantic. For a more sociable visit, rent one of the five nearby cottages.
Converted from a private residence to a bed-and-breakfast hotel in 1988, the owners of Wilbraham Mansion have maintained the Victorian charm with the period features and artifacts such as antique sewing machines, embroidered quilts and period wallpaper. With 10 rooms in the original mansion and 12 suites in a newer building at the back, it’s popular with couples who are looking for a slice of tranquility. Take advantage of the heated pool, borrow a bicycle or enjoy a fancy afternoon tea.
The Southern Mansion is a hotel with lots of history – including plenty of ghost stories – yet the ambiance is warm and welcoming. Combining the wraparound porch where breakfast is served with the authentic Southern classic wooden rocking chairs and eccentric modern flourishes such as the leopard-print carpet, modern art nudes and lime green walls in the communal areas. There are 10 peaceful guest suites, which have authentic furnishings such as four-poster beds.
Painted bright yellow, Congress Hall is a 200-year-old hotel that stands proudly behind a sprawling lawn directly in front of the Atlantic. The 104 classic rooms and suites have a contemporary vibe with subtle period features such as quirky seashell sculptures, floral-print furnishings and wooden floors. With its historic charms, casual atmosphere and seaside setting, the property offers solitude for couples who want to enjoy the full-service spa and families who can take advantage of the kids’ activities.
Part of an “invisible service” hotel chain founded by Chad and Courtney Ludeman, the Lokal Hotel Cape May is fashioned from a wooden, faded Depression-era apartment house. Consisting of eight spacious units which have been modeled into contemporary micro-apartments with all mod cons, every need is catered for. And whether you want to enjoy lounging by the impressive 45ft (14m) saltwater pool or fancy a hop over to the custom lounge chairs and umbrellas awaiting you at the beach, you will be made to feel at home.
Classic elegance coupled with a laid-back beach attitude, this family-friendly hotel is also popular for destination weddings due to its idyllic beachside location. The guest room and suites can accommodate two to eight people and are decorated in a modern yet tasteful manner. With a second-floor sunset deck, Olympic-sized heated outdoor pool, indoor pool and large hot tub, your relaxing day can end with a cocktail or classic American fare at the hotel’s popular Hemingway restaurant.
Tastefully decorated with wood and rattan furniture, the Sandpiper Beach Club is laid back and beachy with close proximity to the ocean. The relaxed vibe continues throughout each of the 51 suites offering full kitchens, spacious living rooms and separate bedrooms, making this spot popular with families. Request a room with a balcony and you’ll also get two rocking chairs, ideal for watching the sunset with a drink. All guests get complimentary chairs, towels and umbrellas at the beach.
For something a bit different, Plum Farm is a 62-acre (25ha) working farm, away from the hustle and bustle of downtown. Established in 2008 by Curtis Bashaw and Will Riccio, the working farm is open to the public in the guise of both a shop, restaurant and outdoor area. Guests stay across the five cottages, which sleep anywhere from six to eight guests. Here there’s no need to set an alarm; your wake-up call will be provided by the local rooster.
Once a motel, The Beach Shack has been lovingly restored to create a hip property with a relaxed, barefoot island vibe. The two-story building is centered around a pool and boasts the longest bar in Cape May. With pineapple patterned carpets brightening up the beach-themed rooms, there is also communal decking, loungers and a firepit. Home to the popular Rusty Nail restaurant, this spot is just a few blocks from the cove, where you can witness some amazing sunsets.
Owned by the same family for more than 30 years, the Carroll Villa Hotel is a well-loved institution in the historic district of Cape May. Fusing classic Victoriana touches with modern art, the vibe is homely and welcoming and the 19 guest rooms are individually decorated to create a cozy vibe. Expect to be treated as part of the family when you drink in the bar or enjoy the live music at the popular Mad Batter Restaurant.
Expect genteel Southern-style hospitality and traditional values at the Henry Sawyer Inn. Built in 1877 as a home for the town’s banker, it has upheld its sense of history throughout – there is even a cradle made by Thomas Lincoln (Abraham’s father) on display on the second floor. Each suite is named after a member of the original family and although the inn is quirky, its owners have paid expert attention to creating a welcoming refuge where the antique furnishings and four-poster beds don’t get in the way of the discrete modern amenities.
Courtesy of The Queen Victoria B&B / Expedia | Courtesy of The Queen Victoria B&B / Expedia
Every detail has been considered in this 31-bedroom retreat in Cape May’s historic district. From the whirlpool tubs to the William Morris wallpaper, to the impressive breakfast options, including a continental that can be delivered to your door, it’s no wonder this B&B is an award winner. The property includes three impeccably restored 1880s homes and an 1876 gambling parlor, so there are countless nooks, porches and parlors for you to explore.
These recommendations were updated on July 15, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.