From its inception in 1816, Congress Hall has had star power: President Benjamin Harrison made it his summer White House, and John Philip Sousa conducted the Congress Hall March on the lawn. Today the white-colonnade, Tuscan-yellow hotel is all breezy chic—sky-high ceilings, titan-size Victorian mirrors, glossy black wicker, and potted palms with attitude. Carpets have vibrant stripes, beds are dressed in white linens, and baths are sybaritic—some with 1920s, big-enough-for-two tubs—stocked with Aveda soaps and lotions. A C. H.-crest terry-cloth robe awaits so you can open the door and retrieve the New York Times without incident. Morning also brings breakfast in the spacious garden of the hotel's Blue Pig Tavern, while later in the day the staff will kindly set up cabanas for you at the beach and host evening activities for the little ones. Cocktails and music at the on-site Boiler Room bar close out the night.
Nov 16, 2010
The location for Congress Hall is outstanding--easy walking to the pedestrian mall, the trolley tours, many restaurants and the beach. There is a nice little shop near the lobby where you can use cards for free coffee and buy light breakfast items and souvenirs. The Blue Pig cafe is very good. The children in our party were well-treated. My main problems have to do with the inconsistency of staff helpfulness--it ranged from very pleasant to fairly
rude and our accomodations. Our room didn't resemble the photos or what we thought we had reserved. For high rates we had no seating other than the beds (photos show upholstered chairs). The building is old (re-built after a fire in the late 19th century) but there is no excuse for floors so crooked that things roll off the desk or dresser top to the floor. We rented a mini-fridge that was in terrible condition, not clean, and fairly useless. There was no cable tv at all, only over the air stations on television. That was unexpected. In sum, mixed feelings about Congress Hall--lovely in many ways, but I expected better in the rooms and with the staff for such high rates.