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“Potential, but apathetic” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Congress Plaza Hotel

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Congress Plaza Hotel
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   520 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60605 (The Loop)   |  
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Ranked #123 of 169 hotels in Chicago
British Columbia
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Potential, but apathetic”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2013

Nine night stay, not one staff member greeted me at any time. Usually no one evident on duty at the door, especially at night, and the concierge desk was either empty, or had staff lounging around chatting to each other. Security desk often empty. Price and location good, but no one mentioned the striking staff picketing in front (longest strike apparently in Chicago history, more than a decade). Lots of partying in the hotel.
Linens nice on bed. Towels well used. Carpet dirty and old all around. I was moved by the manager on my 3rd night because of water damage construction in the room next to me, but I had to argue for a better room. The king sized room was a nice size, with a view through two small windows of Lake Michigan. The windows on the 12th (top) floor are very small, all around. The room had a bureau, desk, one upright dining-room style chair and a stool, all well used and old, but not in keeping with the building design - just old furniture. No table or arm chair and a lot of empty space. In a room that was at least 14x20, the only places to sit were the bed, the stool and the uncomfortable chair. The first room had more furniture in half the space. You can see the former elegance in the woodwork, but it has been painted over and quite knocked about. Lots of upkeep needed - fire alarm missing a cover, light fixtures needing cleaning, floors needing a good detailing. Very warm rooms, no cooling or air circulation - open windows mean lots of street noise (fire department access main route) and the small windows on 12 let in very little light and air.
Someone could turn this into a gem - and take better care of it. The staff do not seem to care that much.
Good location for the Loop, buses, Art Institute. Don't miss the Chicago Symphony Auditorium (frequent concerts) and the Chicago Architecture Foundation (walking/bus tours, great store); both two blocks up.

Room Tip: Do not take a 12th floor room except on the front. Ask to see any room before accepting it; rooms va...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (317)
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Carmel, Indiana, USA
Top Contributor
143 reviews 143 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 43 cities Reviews in 43 cities
47 helpful votes 47 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 22, 2013

For Chicago, this hotel was a bargain for the rate we paid. The discount, provided by a race we were participating in, made it the perfect location because the packet pick-up was at the same hotel. The hotel is acrosse the street from Buckingham Fountain & about 1.5 miles from Soldier Field. You are about 6 blocks walking distance from the shops on Michigan Avenue. The rooms are very old as evidenced by the cracks in the baseboard where they are supposed to connect to the wall and the wallpaper. Very high ceilings are nice & the bed was very comfortable. The drawers were very roomy & large. The pillows were too thick for me & you either chose to sleep with your head elevated or removed them & slept flat on the mattress. The heat was either on or off, could not adjust the temperature. The hotel charges a fee to use the internet ~ not a good thing with so many 'connected' these days. The room itself was nicely arranged with plenty of room although the bathroom was on the small side but again, adequate for our stay. There was a safe, ironing board & iron inside the room and an ice machine conveniently located on our floor. The front desk staff was very friendly. We requested a room on a high floor on an end where it would be quiet, as we are both light sleepers. We were put on the 11th floor of the north tower (Room 1114) but in the middle of a long hallway, which was wonderful on our first night as they were painting in the room next door, which meant it was not occupied. The 2nd night however, about 9PM, someone moved in & they partied until midnight. The walls were very thin & we could hear way too much & could not sleep until after things shut down at midnight. Regarding the hotel parking, there is none. You must park in a public lot ($35 a day) or valet in the same lot ($39 a day). This is NOT a park it yourself & take your key. Even if you choose the self park for $35, you MUST give the parking lot attendant your key. We did not feel comfortable with this at all but had no choice if we wanted to be near the Congress. The weather was extremely cold & wet, otherwise we would have gone elsewhere to park. This was St Patrick's Day weekend & we had no idea what a party would take place with this holiday, very exciting for the city; however, the Big 10 college basketball was also in town so everything was crowded & busy. More than likely, we would not choose to stay here again.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Dallas, Texas
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 22, 2013 via mobile

Convenient location, bargain rate. The hotel is old but the rooms are clean. The staff is helpful and friendly.
Just be mindful that bc it is cheap, it's cheap for high school kids on a class trip and college kids on spring break.
I would probably stay at this hotel again if I couldn't get a better deal at a nearby hotel.

  • Stayed March 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
Top Contributor
65 reviews 65 reviews
30 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2013

We have stayed at the Congress many times over the years, and we usually like it. It's an old, historic hotel. But we stayed on the fourth floor of the north tower, in the first room down the hall to the right, on the right, in December, 2012. We stayed for two nights. When we first walked in one evening, I saw two bugs crawling on the bathroom floor. They were of a variety I had never seen, sort of tear shaped, brown, about a quarter inch, clearly visible on the floor. I just stepped on them and did not worry about it at the time, silly me. When I got into bed and put my hand under my pillow, I felt something gritty. When I looked, I found some black shreds of something that looked almost like tea leaves. I thought maybe someone had put lavender leaves in the pillow, though I did wonder how it could still be there; the bed seemed quite clean and nice. I had looked at the mattress edge when we got into the room, but I did not look it over very well. I am still amazed that I did not do something to change rooms or ask the management about this situation, but my husband was minimizing it, and we just went to sleep. We did not get any bites or see any more evidence of bugs, but I am now convinced these were bed bugs. I have since seen pictures of bed bugs and the dirt they leave in beds, and I have no doubt that's what we had. We were very lucky that we got no bites and did not bring them home, though we always do put our bags on the tables, not on the floor. This report may be a little unfair because we never did alert the hotel staff, but it is an honest report of our visit. Our friends stayed in a room down the hall, had asked for and received a nice upgrade to the room they had reserved, and were very satisfied. I probably will go back to this hotel again because the location and price are good, but I will be very thorough in examining the room next time and will not stay if I see any evidence of bugs.

Room Tip: As in any hotel, check your room for bed bugs very thoroughly before staying.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Warrensburg, Missouri
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2013

Stayed over St. Patrick's weekend. This caused a problem as we arrived an hour prior to the big parade on Columbus and because of the influx of people for the parade, the hotel suspended all valet parking until the afternoon. Luckily we found parking on the street directly to the west behind the hotel. The gentleman running the valet lot told us there were no more spots anyway but we could see one whole half of the top parking lot floor empty. Hmmm. Later we brought the car back and had it parked, but I ended up paying for two parking places on Saturday.

The hotel is a nice old hotel with a lot of history. My son told me that five US presidents gave speeches there last century. The lobby is cool art deco style and the elevators are fast. The downstairs bar is loud (all tile and glass) and not very comfortable and they ran out of Baileys on St. Patricks! Only three taps in the bar area.

The room was average. The carpet was a little threadbare in places. The beds (and most of the pillows) were very hard. And the flat screen TV was too small to be that far from the beds. The plumbing is a little dated and our toilet tank started filling up with water every few minutes so I had to call the desk to have it fixed (it was, for a time). Generally, though, it was clean. It would be nice to have a chair in the room, other than the hard desk chair.

The hotel sits right across from the park and along Michigan Avenue but there aren't many close restaurants. You have to walk a few blocks which is fine, except when there's a gale blowing at 30 degrees. The concierge and gentlemen working the door were excellent, though. You are about four blocks from the bus #22 which takes you north into the interesting neighborhoods of Lincoln Park (great, free zoo) and Wrigelyville. Grab a bus pass from the CVS drugstore.

Location, location, location.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Doha, Qatar
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 18, 2013

Nothing is special about this hotel it's really old, my experience there is not what expected to see, however it is a good hotel for limited budget and the main special thing about it is that it is in the middle of Chicago downtown. However I've been there for three nights and I don't know maybe other people have better experience.

Overall it is average.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 18, 2013 via mobile

We stayed St Pats weekend and its in a good location, staff is friendly and our room was clean. We were on the city side so we heard the el allll night. My son said the hotel reminded him of "The Shining" although we never saw a ghost. Great pizza place around the corner. The beds were hard and pillows even harder. I felt like I was sleeping on a rock. I love Chicago and will always return but will definitely find a different hotel.

  • Stayed March 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Congress Plaza Hotel

Address: 520 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60605
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Illinois > Chicago > The Loop
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #123 of 169 hotels in Chicago
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Congress Plaza Hotel 3*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Step inside and experience an extraordinary piece of living history during your next visit to downtown Chicago at the Congress Plaza Hotel. This "Landmark of Chicago Hospitality" has delighted business and leisure travelers for over a century. Guests at the Congress Plaza Hotel can explore art institute, millenium park, buckingham fountain, magnificent mile,museum campus all with in walking distance just by stepping outside our front doors. Situated adjacent to Grant Park, our 14-story property is located along Michigan Avenue, providing unlimited access to the city's finest retail stores, the bustling business district and Chicago attractions. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Congress Plaza Chicago
Hotel Congress Plaza
Congress Hotel Chicago
Congress Plaza Hotel Chicago

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