Invisible Service Lodging Arrives in Cape May

The new Lokal Hotel Cape May brings the stay-like-you-live-here model to the Jersey Shore.

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The Lokal Hotel Cape May, 5 Stockton Pl., Cape May, N.J. 08204 | Photos: Courtesy Lokal Hotel unless otherwise noted

Now open in historic Cape May: a boutique hotel that makes you feel like you live there during your stay.

The hotel is the Lokal Cape May, the third location for the Philly-based “invisible service” hotel chain founded by Chad and Courtney Ludeman.

Like its original location in Old City, the Cape May Lokal sits right in the middle of everything: it’s just a half block from the beach and the Cape May Convention Center, the main shopping and dining disrict is just a few blocks away, and it’s down the street from the landmark Chalfonte Hotel.

lokal cape may hotel profile site in 2017

5 Stockton Place as it appeared in the fall of 2017 | Google Street View image

And like the Old City original, the Lokal Cape May is fashioned out of a piece of the past. This time, the Ludemans found a faded Depression-era apartment house on what may have been the last lot anyone could have put a hotel on in downtown Cape May and turned it into something bigger, bolder and snazzier.

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The Lokal Hotel after expansion and renovation

The eight-unit apartment hotel bears scant resemblance to the building that became it. Its stucco walls and flat roof have been replaced by dark wood siding and a peaked shingled roof. Its floors are taller to make room for higher ceilings. And it sits at one end of what was a parking lot but is now a landscaped courtyard oasis for hotel guests.

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The “drinking bench” along one side of the saltwater pool

The central feature of the courtyard is a 45-foot-long saltwater pool with a “drinking bench” integrated into one side. Umbrella-shaded poolside lounge chairs can accommodate 16 guests, and overflow seating can accommodate all 28 of the guests the hotel’s eight rooms can handle around the pool. (The hotel has four studio apartments and four two-bedroom units.)

“We really wanted the pool to be special for our guests,” Courtney Ludeman said in a news release. “We are proud of the size of the pool compared to the small number of guests we have to enjoy it and look forward to the landscaping growing in fully next year.”

The pool area landscaping by Studio Bryan Hanes features native trees and plants in an enclosure consisting of breezeblock on the street-facing side and pine tar- and linseed oil-stained cypress fence on the other three sides.

The courtyard also has seating area with fire pits and an outdoor kitchen that will receive a Big Green Egg charcoal grill come fall.

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Lokal Hotel-branded Yeti coolers for beach and poolside come with each room

Guests will arrive to find that their recreational needs have likewise been taken care of. Each guest room has a Yeti cooler, ice pack and tumblers for poolside or beach libations.

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A bocce set is one of the games guests can use during their stay

Games for playing by the pool, in the room are also available, and guests will also find tote bags stuffed with Turkish towels for carrying to the pool or the beach.

Complimentary bikes and even a Ford Bronco will also be available for guests to use during their stay.

The Lokal provides all this and more, Chad Ludeman says, because they don’t want guests to have to bring a lot of stuff with them when they visit: “Just show up with some small bags and let us take care of the rest.”

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A studio apartment in the hotel; it includes a dining area, a full bathroom and a kitchen with island and bar seating. All guest rooms also have outdoor terraces or decks

And, of course, the rooms have full kitchens and dining areas. After all, the guests will be living here during their stay.

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The living room in a two-bedroom apartment

Which is the whole point of the Lokal Hotel experience: The aim is to make you, the guest, feel like a local during your visit while providing hotel-style service.

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The tso-bedroom unit’s kitchen

Here, however, the service will be almost invisible: the Ludemans now make Cape May, their favorite Shore resort, their home, and Courtney manages the property and interacts with guests. Chances are once the grill gets going, some guests will get to enjoy dinner al fresco with the Ludemans on occasion.

One of the bedrooms in the two-bedroom unit, showcasing the linens. The hotel can accommodate 28 guests because the second bedroom in each two-bedroom unit has a sleeping loft with a twin bed beneath its high ceiling

Another feature of the Lokal Cape May common to the other two hotels and the A-frame vacation house Lokal offers on the Maurice River in Dorchester, N.J.: Everything about the place comes from close to home. Artwork, linens, coffee, tea and many of the furnishings all come from local businesses, artists and designers in Cape May. Those that don’t come from craftspeople and designers Lokal has used for its Philly properties, including lighting by Noevara and Daikon Studio and canvas totes and field guides from Peg & Awl.

The Lokal Hotel Cape May is also a refreshing change of pace in its design: It’s a contemporary structure with clean lines in a town renowned for its Victorian gingerbread.

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The bathroom in the two-bedroom apartment

Chad says the hotel has done well since its Aug. 5th opening. Bookings began to pour in several weeks ahead of the opening, and every room was occupied over this past weekend, its first weekend of full operation.

Summer is winding down now, but the good beach weather lasts into September and there’s always the shoulder season in the fall for you to come down for a visit. For more information and to book lodging, visit the Lokal Cape May website, email or call 267-702-4345.