SOUTHERN NEW JERSEY ACCOMMODATIONS
THE MAINSTAY INN
635 Columbia Avenue, Cape May; 609-884-8690, mainstayinn.com. Rooms: $115-$295. Suites: $165-$395.
In a town devoted to its Victorian homes and inns, Tom and Sue Carroll's Mainstay is the undisputed grande dame. Pleasures include Sue's delicious breakfasts, Tom's disquisitions on local history and the exquisite craftsmanship of the period decor. Television and phone available only in the Officers' Quarters across the street.
SEAVIEW MARRIOTT RESORT & SPA
401 South New York Road, Galloway Township; 800-205-6518, seaviewgolf.com. Rooms: $114-$279.
On the first tee of Atlantic City Country Club nearly a century ago, Philadelphia magnate Clarence Geist complained so bitterly about having to wait that his playing partner said, "If I had as much money as you, I'd build my own course." So Geist built one of the most luxurious clubs of his or any other time. In addition to golf, members could (and hotel guests still can) enjoy tennis, squash, trap shooting, horseback riding or a dip in the Byzantine-tiled indoor pool. Rooms are almost too comfortable to leave, but cocktails on the patio will coax you out, as will the Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa and the on-site Faldo Institute.
SHERATON ATLANTIC CITY CONVENTION CENTER HOTEL
Two Miss America Way, Atlantic City; 800-325-3535, sheraton.com. Rooms: $150-$250. Suites: $250-$1,000.
If you must stay in town but want to avoid the zombies who roam the the casino lobbies at all hours, this is the place. It's huge and ultramodern but not sterile. Check out the collection of Miss America memorabilia.
TUSCANY HOUSE HOTEL & RESTAURANT
2111 North Bremen Avenue, Egg Harbor City; 609-965-2111, renaultwinery.com. Rooms: $89-$240.
With its red-tile roof, stucco archways and tile-floor lobby, the hotel sets a Mediterranean mood. Amenities include two outdoor swimming pools, an indoor gym and--in 2004--an eighteen-hole golf course.
THE VIRGINIA HOTEL
25 Jackson Street, Cape May; 800-732-4236, virginiahotel.com. Rooms: $80-$365.
With twenty-four rooms, the Virginia is big by Cape May standards. By any standards, it's a first-rate full-service hotel that just happens to be a thoroughly restored 1879 Victorian showplace. And its Ebbitt Room is one of the better restaurants in a town known for fine food.
THE YACHT CLUB RESTAURANT & INN
800 Bay Avenue, Somers Point; 609-927-3100. Rooms: $165-$195.
A bit of Victorian Cape May perched on the lip of the marina in funkier Somers Point, this restored 1884 mansion has eight plush rooms appointed with floral wallpaper, armchairs and four-poster beds.