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“Best hotel for Chicago Marathon”

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The Congress Plaza Hotel and Convention Center
Ranked #153 of 192 Hotels in Chicago
Reviewed October 11, 2011

Hi, I stayed at the Congress Plaza Hotel because of the location for the Chicago Marathon. Wow, it was perfect!!! I woke up at 6:00 a.m., walked out of hotel at 6:45 a.m. and was standing in line at 7:00 a.m. in time for a 7:30 a.m. start. Perfect!!! This hotel is in walking distance to everything. We walked to the McCormick Convention Center for the race packet pickup, we walked to the History Museum, and the Shedd Aquarium, and we even walked to the Navy Pier all from our hotel. The hotel is older and has the smells that might come with an older hotel, but our room was clean, the beds were comfortable and we had a nice flat screen TV. If you are looking for a convenient location for a race like the Chicago Marathon and want to be near Grant Park, and all that this area has to offer I highly suggest this hotel. Everyone at the hotel was very friendly and accommadating.

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank Linda L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,113 - 2,119 of 2,847 reviews

Reviewed October 10, 2011

Very nice hotel in good location and reasonably priced. Nearest hotel to start of Route 66 in Adams Street which is why we picked it.

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Sheila E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 10, 2011

Paying extra for lake view rooms was well worth it at least for our 3 day stay. The hotel is old and grand but frayed around the edges. The bathroom was rather small with very little shelf space - keep toilet lid shut as main shelf is right above it. There was mold in bathroom ceiling. One day we didn't get wash cloths as "they ran out" and housekeeping didn't deliver them later as promised.

Location is great right across from Buckingham Fountain, close to the "L". We didn't eat at the hotel so can't comment on that aspect. There are several breakfast places within a couple of blocks. Hotel internet policy sucks. Expensive in room and wi-fi still costs in the lobby. They do have one computer which can be used only to print boarding passes but you have to ask to find out about it.

There seemed not to be a way to adjust the room temperature, just the fan speed. When asked about it, the housekeeping staff said they did not speak English.

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank George D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 7, 2011

As I noted in all of my reviews. I travel for a living and stay in a lot of hotels in every class from Comfort Inns up to Hyatt Regency. I feel obligated to TripAdvisor to help with meaningful reviews since the reviews on this site have helped me so much. Regarding the Congress Plaza Hotel in Chicago. My advice is to know upfront what you are getting. The hotel was originally built in the late 1800s and enlarged in the early 1900s and it shows. The rooms are fairly large and the ceiling very high. The property in general is in need of a full renovation. It is relatively clean but the condition of the rugs, wall paper etc. is tawdry. My two biggest complaints relative to the rooms is that they do not have AC rather the cold water and fan approach to cooling the space. This is not comfortable at all. My next complaint relates to may age (65 by the way) and the bathrooms. The lack grab handles for support and the toilets are the lowest of any hotel I have been at. With an ever aging population it is difficult to say the least to stoop so low and then get up with any sense of balance. This will not matter to younger people but anyone over 55 will know how much this means. The staff is okay but nothing special in terms of customer service. On the plus side, the location is outstanding and right on Michigan Ave. I was so displeased with the experience that I left a night early even though the room and parking had been paid for in advance by one of my clients. If you like really old properties and the limitations do not resonate with you then be my (their) guest but if you are over 55 do not come back and say I did not warn you my brothers and sisters for TripAdvisor.

Room Tip: No advice and good luck.
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  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled on business
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2  Thank ProfessorACB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 6, 2011

I grew up in Chicago and joined the Army on my 18th Birthday. Upon retiring from the Army, I came home for a Visit. I always wanted to experience a hotel with a lakefront view. I was on the 13th Floor of the Congress Hotel, lakeside view and the view was overwhelming. We witnessed great sun rises, awesome view of the park. To the North, we could see Navy Pier, to the South we saw the Shedd Aquarium. We saw fireworks on the lake in our room. in a word, SPECTACULAR!! The room and staff were great. the hotel location convient to all sights and transportation.

Room Tip: As for lakeside above the 12th floor
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  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank Dragonslayer48073
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 4, 2011

This hotel is awesome if you spent less then a hundred dollars to stay there. Anything more, and you are better off spending the extra cash. The location is decent, directly across from Millenium Park and on the south end of Michigan Ave. On a nice day, great shopping, restaurants, and sight-seeing are within walking distance. Directly adjacent to the hotel is another story.
The check in process is fine if you don't use the check in kiosk. I went through five minutes of prompts before the machine informed me it was not able to make my key and I would need to see someone at the front desk. At the front desk I was again asked to show my ID and credit card (this time they also made a manual rubbing of my card, which I thought was redundant and outdated). After we received the key we went up to the room to set down the luggage.
The room has high ceiling giving it an open feeling. However, some negatives are, the closet door squeaked badly when opened, the bathroom door would not latch and lock into place, the toilet ran constantly making a loud flushing-like noise every twenty minutes or so, when the toilet was flushed it rarely ever completed the flush, the air conditioner remained on hi the entire time during our three days there and the room never went below 70 degrees, and both mornings there was no hot water available for a shower. Furthermore the main doors had no peepholes, and only one locking option a pitiful chain that was hardly secured into the door frame. One morning we kept the "do not disturb" sign in the lock so that the maid wouldn't come in. When we had returned we noticed the sign gone and that the maid had been in the room. When we used the bathroom we discovered that during her cleaning she had dropped a bar of soap in the toilet and it had become stuck to the side. The room also had only one accessible plug. If one needed to iron and charge a phone at the same time it required unplugging on of the three table lamps that lit the entire room. If you reserve a lake view room do it for floor 6 and up. Our lakeview room had very little view of the lake, mostly just a portion of Millenium Park.

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank lborn724
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 4, 2011

If you don't care about frills and such this place is GREAT for its location and price! I have stayed here with my 3 girlfriends for the last 2 years! I am not one to stay at anything seedy or sketchy, so this review you can take to the bank.
the hotel looks a bit like the hotel from the Stephen King movie the Shining but who wouldn't want to stay there!!??
all in all I love this hotel and WILL be staying here again and again!!!

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled with friends
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Thank AshlieW
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: $80 - $215 (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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