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“Your are booking a older hotel- Hello!” 5 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 (Downtown / The Loop)   |  
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stay 2 nights or more
Ranked #125 of 177 Hotels in Chicago
Burlington, Iowa
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“Your are booking a older hotel- Hello!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 7, 2013

The Congress Hotel is old. The wall paper is a bit faded.(It states to be one of the older hotels - I am glad they don't slap paint on and pretend to be built recently. It has character and history !) The stay we had was wonderful! I paid ten dollars extra for a bigger room and ten for a view. A view we did get! Loved staying here! Right off the elevator and there was our room. Two King-size beds, very comfortable and the room huge. The view was exceptional. The location perfect for a day at the museum or a stroll to Grant Park. Getting a cab wonderful, Front desk pleasant and the rest of the staff- great. I will stay here again, and I think the hotel has charm and thoroughly enjoyed our stay.

Room Tip: "Sixth Floor- with a view!"
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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1,516 reviews from our community

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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
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English first
Isola, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, France
2 reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed October 31, 2013

My God!
From searching the internet the hotel looked great on paper as the saying goes, but when we first arrived in the door this once I am sure beutiful old hotel lobby had like a biker bar like feel. the first thing I saw was a pool table with the lobby filled with people drinking beer sitting in cheap red leather chairs. Our room smelt musty it creeped me out . Rooms are not sound proof at 2:30 am woken up to hours of a couple havin good times. Oh and you better be dressed as I was writing a post card to my daughter when a spiderman like figure dropped down in front of my 10th floor window looking right at me it was 8:30 am I was half dressed really! Oh and bring your own pens etc. the hotel does not leave any in your rooms I asked at the front desk and there response was that guests steal them okay then?Also no free wi fi in this day and age really. Unfortunately we had 5 days though spent all our time out of the hotel eating at the Hilton down the way or Starbucks . It really is a shame it has potentioal but until someone with $$$ can come an tear the guts out to bring it back to life as in times past I would not recommend it. I asked cab drivers and locals about the history of the hotel and they said they call it the ghost hotel, and rat infested dive with workers just ending a 8 year long strike holy no wonder. Over our five day stay I could go on but I will end with saying this after elevator conversations with other guest I found the census to be the young couples thoughts were its an okay given they are young and on budgets I can understand beats the Y. anyone over 30 ish thought it was a dive and felt ripped off .

Room Tip: get a room facing the fountain
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Novi, Michigan
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 29, 2013 credit card Amex Card Member Review

I was at the Congress Plaza for a week and had pretty mixed feelings. No complaints about the room or the facility. It is old and falls into that "formerly elegant" category, but clean and reasonably well kept. However, the housekeeping was really disappointing.

To begin with, I usually get ice each evening and use that little plastic liner to line the plastic ice bucket. They only emptied out the bucket and left a new plastic liner ONCE all week. They also didn't clean the glasses I used each night to drink ice water.

The towels were an issue also. As I used the towels, they always took away the old ones, but didn't always replace them with clean ones. By the end of the week, I was down two or three towels. I was alone, so it wasn't a big deal, but I kept worrying that the end of the trip they were going to do a towel count and charge me for the missing towels. I also would have liked more than one hand towel (I started with three).

I was also disappointed with the Sundry shop on the first floor. On my first evening, I realized I had forgotten to bring my deodorant. I checked and the Sundry shop was set to open at 7 a.m. in the morning. No problem, I thought. I'll be there when they open, get my deodorant at 7:05 and be on my way to my meeting by 7:15 a.m. Well, I guess they treat the 7 a.m. start time as a "nice to have" and not a mandate. By 7:10 I was asking around as to when the place would open. The best answer I got was "the guy stops and gets some newspapers for us in the morning. He should be here by 7:30 a.m." No apologies or embarrassment for that explanation despite the posted opening time of 7 a.m. I ended up walking two blocks up to CVS (which was open) and probably saved a bunch of money as it turned out. But I shouldn't have had to deal with this.

This hotel was much cheaper than some other options I was looking at in the same neighborhood and this was a personal expense. So at the end of the day, I'm glad I stayed there and it was a pretty good value. But I really thought such a grand old facility in such a great location would be run a little bit better than it was.

Stayed September 2013, traveled on business
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1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed October 29, 2013

Do not believe these other reviews, this hotel is 100% not worth the location or savings. First, the hotel fails to mention that the only parking option available is $39 per night...and you still have to haul your luggage to the garage a block away to get your car where random guys from the ghetto go tearing through the parking garage at breakneck speeds in your car. They make no attempt to help with your luggage. I'm sure in 1940 this hotel was the place to be. Unfortunately, nothing seems to have been updated/fixed/cleaned since then. The rooms are small, dark, dirty, and just plain weird with dated furniture and broken everything. The carpet is smelly and stained throughout the hotel with cracking plaster walls and razor thin walls. The beds and pillows were essentially incompatible with sleep of any kind. The location is nice, but there are many options to choose from and cabs are everywhere and easy to get in Chicago. Overall, the hotel is not worth the savings or location and was easily the worst part of our trip.

Room Tip: All rooms are old and dirty, stay somewhere else.
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 29, 2013

My husband and I honeymooned in Chicago and chose the Congress for it's great location. We wanted to be able to walk to most of our activities and didn't plan on spending a ton of time in the hotel. While the hotel is outdated, the tv was new and everything was clean. Lobby is really pretty. We had a room with a fantastic view of Buckingham fountain and the lake. The other rooms I saw while walking to the ice machine seemed to only look upon other windows-so spring for the lake view. Drinks in the lounge were a bit pricy but the service was good. The Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium, Art Institute of Chicago, and the Bean are all an easy under 30 minute walk. Navy Pier was right around a 30 minute walk. There are also many bike sharing kiosks around and we did utilize those for our further out ventures. Some really good places to eat are very close as well.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Alfreton, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 29, 2013

We spent five days in Chicago and the Congress Plaza proved good value for money for a city hotel. If you're looking for immaculate rooms and first-class service then this ain't the place for you. The Congress gives the impression that it was a grand hotel in its heyday but it was long overdue a refurb - very dated rooms and staff who were there to pickup their pay-cheque.

In saying that the rooms were clean, (coffee machine was awful though!) and the maid service was very good. The hotel bar wasn't anything to shout about either, we didnt eat at the hotel restaurant along with the rest of the Chicagoan population. There were plenty of alternatives in and aorund the hotel.

But it was perfect location for Millennium Park and just outside of the busiest (and most expensive) parts of the city. I would use it again for the value alone!

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Calgary, AB
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 29, 2013

The Congress Plaza hotel is old...there is no denying that. However, I found it clean, well maintained and staffed with friendly employees. It is a perfect location for the Chicago marathon, as it is steps away from Grant Park and the start/finish line. I also found it handy to walk to Millennium Park and the Bean, the Magnificent Mile, Willis Tower and other locations. In fact, we rarely used a cab, preferring to walk around. Our room was clean, in the "newer" Buckingham Wing. It was the perfect size for two, with comfortable double beds, and a full bathroom. For whatever reason, we didn't get facecloths every day, and the cleaning staff would take away the ones we had. Actually phoned down to get some, which disappeared the next day. Other than that glitch, it was clean and quiet.
A little upset that we had to pay $10/day for EACH item using wifi (2 phones and a notepad), although renting a little fridge was a good idea - I think it was cheaper than the wifi. The breakfast restaurant does a decent breakfast buffet, although it is on the pricier side ($19). And despite being billed as the best steak house in Chicago, the "upscale" restaurant is just m-eh. With so many food options in Chicago, all within walking distance, why would you eat at the hotel anyway?
We walked around at all times and never felt uneasy about doing so. Lots of traffic on Michigan, so we weren't bothered by anyone. I would stay here again.

Room Tip: We were in the Buckingham Suite, so it's a bit of a walk from check in to the elevator for this...
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
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 > Downtown / 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 #125 of 177 Hotels in Chicago
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Congress Plaza Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 851
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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