Chalfonte Hotel & Cape May National Golf Club
Dating from 1876, the Chalfonte is the oldest continuously operating hotel in the nation's original seaside resort. Its distinctive ship-like profile, crowned by her Italianate cupola, occupies nearly an entire city block. The Hotel was built by Civil War Colonel Henry Sawyer and was originally planned as a boarding house. Sawyer’s Chalfonte underwent most of its expansion between 1876 and 1909, and the present footprint is much as it was in 1909. This venerable grande dame by the sea still retains its Victorian charm —featuring 70 guest rooms and suites with louvered doors to let the breeze through, Southern cuisine in The Magnolia Room, and original antiques and fixtures throughout. Though in 2009, much of the hotel underwent renovations including the addition of beautiful private bathrooms and central air conditioning in many guest rooms, and wireless internet throughout the building, the hotel remains committed to tradition with the absence of televisions, radio clocks and telephones in rooms. Though the Chalfonte Hotel does not have an elevator, guest rooms are available on the ground level and the Chalfonte will cater to guests with special needs. The Chalfonte has an exclusive relationship with Cape May National Golf Club, located just a few miles away and known as one of the most environmentally conscious courses ever built.The Chalfonte Hotel, known as the “Grand Dame by the Sea,” covers a whole city block of historic Cape May. Built in 1876, by a Civil War Colonel who escaped death by the Confederates while a prisoner when his wife intervened and went directly to President Lincoln, Col. Henry Sawyer started with an 18 room boarding house. Expanded until it reached its current 1909 footprint, the recently renovated Chalfonte retains its Victorian charm with a large ornate gingerbread veranda containing rocking chairs to catch the oceans breezes while sipping a beverage from the King Edward Bar. The Italianate-style is topped with a cupola that affords fabulous views of the ocean and Cape May, the first city in the United States to be given National Historic Landmark status. Inside the hotel there is antique furniture and light fixtures set amid high ceiling rooms, many with louvered doors to let in the cool gentle winds.
The 63 rooms in the hotel range from luxurious suites, to private rooms with baths to a true old fashioned boarding hall bath down the hall experience offer options to all seaside visitors, just as Cape May has since the 1700’s when it began hosting visitors from Philadelphia, making it the oldest seaside resort in America. A day spent on the award winning beaches can be topped off with Southern cuisine at The Magnolia Room. Cape May is also considered a top bird watching location especially in the fall during migration season. Leisure time can also be filled by attending either the Jazz or Music Festival or attending a stage performance.
The quintessential beach resort - replete with salt water taffy, amazing sunsets and seascapes, custard stands and mini-golf - Cape May is located where the Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean. This town full of Victorian homes is two hours by car or can be reached by train from Philadelphia. From Washington, DC and New York City it is 3.5 hour trip, with the Cape May-Lewes Ferry a fun travel option allowing a view of the Cape May Lighthouse.
When Colonel Henry Sawyer was imprisoned by the Confederate Army, President Abraham Lincoln arranged for Robert E. Lee's son to be released in exchange.
Original Property Opened: 1876
301 Howard Street
Cape May, NJ 08204
Historic Hotels of America toll-free reservations number (800) 678-8946
The Gilded Age, 1866 ~ 1895
Dating from 1876, the Chalfonte is the oldest continuously operating hotel in the nation's original seaside resort. Its distinctive ship-like profile, crowned by her Italianate cupola, occupies nearly an entire city block. The Hotel was built by Civil War Colonel Henry Sawyer and was originally planned as a boarding house.
Learn more about the History of Chalfonte Hotel & Cape May National Golf Club.