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“Observations from a bargain seeker without 5 star needs”

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The Congress Plaza Hotel and Convention Center
Ranked #153 of 192 Hotels in Chicago
Reviewed August 6, 2011

These are my observations of the Congress Hotel from 8/1/11 to 8/3/11. We arrived two hours before check-in and asked about storing our luggage after walking from Union Station in the 90 degree heat, but the desk clerk asked about our reservation and gave us our keycards to room 1158 in the north tower.
The room: was clean, AC was working great, good water pressure, hot water quickly - some reviews have been critical of these things. The view was of the south tower and the center section of the hotel below. The bed was a standard king with newer furnishings, but it looked like someone previous had left the hot coffee pot on the desk and ruined the finish. the bathroom had newer fixtures. The shower was well above my 6'2" height. I did notice that whoever remodeled the bathroom used a different shade of tile for the last row and didn't put anything over the exposed edge of the corner. The room was quiet except that the Ltrain was behind the hotel, but it is Chicago and part of the character of being downtown. They were setting up for Lollapalooza this weekend and blocking off Grant Park.
The staff was always helpful and courteous.
I booked the room from the hotel's website as they offered a better discount than the major booking websites(run of the house=$111/night + taxes). I believe it was a good bargain after watching prices for a few weeks.
We would stay again because of the price and location.

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank JamesH1981
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,176 - 2,182 of 2,860 reviews

Reviewed August 6, 2011

The saying “You get what you pay for” is not true at all in this situation. We took deluxe suite with lakeview. First, we could hardly see the lake because we were on fourth floor which was way too low. Park view was fine. The room itself is outdated on so many levels. Jacuzzi looks more like a tub. Overnight, we could hear people laughing from the room next to us which was very annoying. AC had no temperature control. Only ON or OFF option.
The only good thing I can say about our experience is that the bed was comfortable and the location of the hotels was great.
For the $400 price, I don’t think this was worth it.

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank MarkoDani
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 5, 2011

We had an amazing stay at the Congress Plaza Hotel last weekend. The location gave us prime access to all of the wonderful attractions that the city of Chicago has to offer.
This is an older hotel with rich history and architectural charm. We found the staff to be courteous and efficient. We even had access to our rooms before the official check-in time. Given the location of this hotel, we felt that the price was truly a value! Our room was facing the "L" side. My 83 year old train buff dad was ecstatic! Others may prefer Michigan Ave view. Clean rooms, comfortable beds...what more could a guest ask for! We will definetly stay at the Congress Plaza Hotel again and recommend it to our family and friends!

Room Tip: Our room was facing the L side. For train buffs, it's heaven! Also for anyone who wants to exper...
See more room tips
  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled with family
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Thank Shar2312
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 5, 2011

The exterior and lobby area of the hotel had everything you want when in historic Chicago. Plus the location is good - right along the Lake and makes center city easy to walk to. But if you plan on spending any time in your room either sleeping, bathing working then forget about it. My room was dirty - towles were shoved in the air conditioning unit to keep it quiet plus it didn't even cool the room, the rugs looked like they were used at a frat party and the paint job in the room looked like it was done by Stevie Wonder. The furniture looked like it was stolen from the set of a porn movie. All-in-all a terrible stay. Factor in that I had security following me around the lobby and souvenir shop like I was some kind of shoplifter just made things worse. Stay away from this hotel - based on what I saw - there has got to be hotels that are so much better for the price - it ain't cheap.

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled on business
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2  Thank eldiablo50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 2, 2011

This was our 2nd stay here, the other time was last year. The first time we were given a suite and this time a two bedroom suite.
This is an older elegant style hotel but very well kept and renovated frequently. Fully staffed at all times. The rooms are very clean. Service is excellent & immediate. The toilet got stopped-up at 1AM, we called the desk & the plumber was there in 5-mins, fixed it immediately.
The beds were very nice & comfortable with great room service.
We ate dinner in their restaurant with no complaints about the food & service.
The hotel is in a terrific location, across from Millennium & Grant Parks, the Buckingham Fountain, as well as the Downtown Loop is next door. The lake yacht harbors, Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum are all an easy walk. Michigan Av buses stop in front that go to the Zoo, Museum of Science & Industry as well as other places.
We will stay here on our next visit.

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled with family
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Thank jphuf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 2, 2011

The Congress is a mixture of good and bad. We went on a family trip to go to the museums and do a bit of shopping.
The good: the Congress has a great location and good prices. They offer an early (1:00) check in and for $50 you can check out as late. This is very convenient if you're trying to maximize vacation time. The desk staff is very nice. We had no problems with either check-in or check-out. Our room was large enough to accommodate a roll-away easily and the beds were quite comfortable.
The bad: they've let this once grand hotel slide into a shabby state. Our room (and indeed the entire floor) had a strong, nauseating, musty smell that stayed with us even when we returned. We had to wash even unworn clothes back home. The shower pressure was like someone pouring a cup of water on your head and we had to wait 10-15 minutes for warm water. There were stains everywhere and the carpet was so dirty our socks were quickly black. The air-conditioning had two temperatures: off and freezing. Overall you can tell this was once a grand hotel but it needs significant attention in order to be comfortable now. One odd thing; they seem to have fired their concierge staff and given that task to the bellmen. The problem is that the bellmen don't speak much English and obviously don't enjoy answering questions (I assume because no one tips them a dollar a question). I asked the distance to a local restaurant and was told "That's more than two miles away" no offer was made to give directions, call a cab or make reservations. If this is the service they plan to give they should just close the concierge desk and stop pretending to be a first rate hotel. They need to make up their minds whether they want to be a discount "motel" or a real full service hotel. We'll pay a bit extra and stay at a full-service hotel next time.

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled with family
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1  Thank StV6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 2, 2011

This hotel had a $28/night self park ramp behind hotel that was really easy to get to. We were able to have our bikes put in storage at the hotel-easy. The staff was very helpful. Check in and out was a breeze and the lobby is beautiful! We ate at ? can't remember the name but it was in the hotel and the food was delicious-waiter was great! The kids loved the grilled cheese sandwich and the portions were huge. Our room was a nice 2 bedroom/1 bath. 2 queens in 1 room and 1 king in the other. It was clean but you can definately tell it's age. Wallpaper was peeling in a few spots and I wouldn't want to stay here too long-I'd be worried about the kids getting lead poisoning from the paint (it looked 100 years old and you could tell the trim and doors had been painted over many a time-over chipped paint too-so it was lumpy) Doorknobs were cool but mismatched. I have restored 100+ yr old houses and know how to do it well, so I'm picky when I see someone trying to fix old things. The location is awesome! We biked to the Pier and beaches-the bike trail was very accesible from the hotel. We may stay here again when we are in the downtown area...maybe a more expensive room would be a little more polished? We paid about $300/night.

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled with family
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Thank KatherineNoel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Congress Plaza Hotel and Convention Center

Address: 520 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60605-1602
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 #153 of 192 Hotels in Chicago
Price Range: $79 - $230 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — The Congress Plaza Hotel and Convention Center 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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