We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“Complete disappointment”

Best prices for -
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
and 8 more sites!
The Congress Plaza Hotel and Convention Center
Ranked #146 of 187 Hotels in Chicago
Poughkeepsie, New York
Level Contributor
22 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Complete disappointment”
Reviewed September 25, 2012

I was traveling for business and was completely disappointed. I felt like I walked into the movie the shinning! The room was spacious and mostly clean, a bit dated but it was drafty and run down. I had room service but was disappointed with my meal. When I asked for directions to an outside restaurant the clerk sent me in the wrong direction for food.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank DLuty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

2,575 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    232
    730
    788
    398
    427
See reviews for
504
669
167
540
Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    3 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (648)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Hebrew first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Norwegian first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
10 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed September 24, 2012

My partner and I spent the week of 9/16 at the Congress Hotel. We found the experience to be a very positive one. The hotel is very centerally located. We walked to Grant Park, the Shedd Aquarium and the Art Institute. The area around the hotel has resturants of all types and both of our banks had atms mere blocks away. There is a branch of the Chicago Architecture Foundation located about 2 blocks from the hotel through which we arranged an architecural riverboat cruise and a wonderful Frank Llyod Wright homes tour. The hotel is old and very old school, but our room was spacious and very clean. The bed and linens were very comfortable. The cleaners provided plenty of towels which was a plus for me as I usually have to request extra towels. Our 9th floor window had a spectacular view of beautiful Buckingham Fountain and Lake Michigan. We had 2 room service breakfasts and ate in the Gazebo Resturant one morning. The food was hot, tasty and reasonably priced. All of the staff whom we encountered from the desk people, bellmen, food servers and cleaners were helpful and polite. We loved our stay at the Congress!

Room Tip: Get a lake view room!
See more room tips
  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Gary R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bedford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed September 24, 2012

Right opposite the lake front and the Buckingham fountain with views of the marina and waterfront walk and parks. Within 20 mins walk of the museums, galleries and a full street of your favourite shops. The hotel a beautiful remnant of the twenties mostly modernised to accomodate modern needs- we had a small problem with the air conditioning- always on and only controlled by a secret downstairs switch so we wore our sox until we went out!!

Room Tip: ask for waterfront when you book and use rapid bookout if the machines are working!
See more room tips
  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank min997
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Antonio, Texas
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed September 24, 2012 via mobile

This hotel smells like my great grandma's house. I know it's super old and some might say it has charm (which is what I kept telling myself because we had no other choice but to stay there), but if you prefer newer hotels stay away from this one. We complained 2 times before we got a nice room, with tall ceilings, good view, and a bay like window. If you settle you are likely to end up in a room that looks like it's half way through being renovated. During our stay a man went crazy in our hallway with the fire extinguisher and was using it to bang on our wall/door at 4:00am. There were holes and blood splatter on the wall, and the entire hallway was covered in the white spray from the extinguisher. The man was on the wrong floor trying to get in the wrong room and it set him off. There were fire trucks and police cars that showed up within minutes of us calling 911. The hotel never reached out to us to comp our room for the night or to apologize. I'm 5 months pregnant, really didn't need this kind of stress. There are so many other choices, there is no reason to stay at this hotel. If cost is a reason, you'll be glad you spent the extra money to stay somewhere else.

  • Stayed September 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Zizi24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Chicago hotels

Indiana
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed September 24, 2012

I booked due to the cheaper cost and excellent location. Until my stay, I was surprised at it's ranking as a 2-star hotel, but it most certainly is. Basically, you get what you pay for. Common areas of the hotel need work. It is a very old historic hotel, but the upkeep has been sloppy. Picketers stand outside the valet entrance. We used a self-park about 1 block away due to the bad reviews on the valet service (also saved us around $15.) As far as the room itself, we were in the north tower, 6th floor. The furniture, tv and bedding were all new and clean. Lighting in the bathroom was terrible. Noise level in the room was louder than newer hotels in the area (other guests as well as traffic noise outside). In short, next time I would probably fork over the extra $ to stay elsewhere, but if you are on very limited budget and want a great location, go for it.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank anne266
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Irwin, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
16 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed September 24, 2012

I stayed at the Congress for 3 nights during IMTS. The location was fabulous. We were within walking distance to restaurants and shops, as well as Lake Michigan. Some of the staff was friendly. Josseph, the bellman took excellent care of our luggage, as we arrived in town earlier than check-in, and wanted to hit the show during the day. Also, Monique (I think her name was), the young lady at the night-desk was also very kind and helpful. She gladly made change and directed me to the vending machines that dispensed bottled water. Some staff, however, when passing them through the corridors did not want to make eye-contact let alone offer a smile. I think a little pedestrian friendliness will go a long way in making some of the guests happier. This hotel is in desperate need of updates. You can easily see the wear in all the furniture in the lobby, bar, restaurant, and in the rooms. Our room was very clean. The mattress was bearable, as were the linens. You can easily tell the age of everything in the room from the lamps to carpet, to the electrical work. The only things ‘modern’ were a flat-screen television and a small coffee maker. The bath amenities were minimum: conditioning shampoo, and some crumby soaps made in China. One other thing I noticed were the display cases on the first floor. One showcased the bar, and had beer bottles and snack bags on display. They were covered in dust and the date on the Cheetos showed they expired in 1996! Have they really not changed their display cases in 18 years?! I feel that a little attention, one small investment at a time, would go a very long way. I would stay at this hotel again ONLY if they make updates. I would rather spend the extra $30 and stay somewhere else.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank SenorBook
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ames, Iowa
Level Contributor
155 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 79 helpful votes
Reviewed September 24, 2012

If you do not read this entire review, please read this: DO NOT STAY AT THIS HOTEL. OUR ENTIRE FLOOR HAD A STRONG MUSTY SMELL. THE STAFF IS UNINSPIRED AND THE RESTAURANT IS NOT WORTH IT.

I love old hotels (see my reviews of the Palmer House in Chicago and the Pfitzer in Milwaukee). I was truly excited to be staying at a landmark hotel such as the Congress Plaza, until I showed up.

It started with the valet parking. The hotel mentions on its website that it has valet parking. When I think valet parking at a downtown Chicago hotel, I expect to be able to pull up to the hotel, unload my luggage to a bellman and just enter the hotel. Not here. The parking entrance is on Wabash, a block from the hotel. After arriving after 11pm (and a six hour drive) I was not thrilled to learn that I will have to lug my luggage almost a full block to the hotel.

Check-in went alright. The gentleman at the front desk was personable enough. My wife and I were given room 452. Upon exiting the elevator, we noticed a faint smell. We did not think much of it at the time. We looked at the room directional sign to see which way we needed to go. We were told we were in the north tower (to the right) but the sign showed an arrow to the right for rooms only up to 438. To the left showed rooms going much higher. We preceded to the left. After walking through a maze, we came to rooms 451 and 453. Now, part of this is on me. I had not realized that all of the rooms were odd numbers (it was late and, again, the sign said the other direction only went to 438). My wife called the hotel from her cell phone and was told we needed to go the other direction.

As we walked down the hallway to our room, that faint odor became more intense. I hoped it would go away upon entering the room. It did not. The odor was a strong musty smell. We were only there for one night and we were too tired to move rooms.

The room was not well lit. It was hard to tell if the room was clean because of the lighting. The carpet was horrible. I did see some kind of insect. It could have been a German cockroach (but it seemed too small). The bed was awful. I like a firm mattress. It was firm but at the same time, we rolled to the middle when we laid down. The pillows were the worst I have ever encountered at any hotel.

Breakfast at the hotel restaurant is forgettable. I expect high prices when dining in downtown Chicago. I also expect above average food and service. Neither occurred. Our waitress made several mistakes when bringing our food. She also handed the plates to us. She did not set them down on the table. She handed them to us. Maybe I am being a bit of a snob here but really?!? Water and coffee pitchers are left on the table. There were at least four wait staff personnel at the restaurant with just about as many patrons. The wait staff congregated in a corner and seemed more interested in socializing than taking care of the customers. The food had zero flavor.

If there is a positive, it is the location of this hotel. You are close to a lot of great attractions and fine restaurants. The problem is that there are too many other hotels in the area that one may stay. You may pay a little more to stay elsewhere but I cannot ever recommend this hotel to anyone in good faith.

Upon checking out, the front desk clerk never bothered to ask how our stay was. My guess is she already knew the answer...

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank RVIDI
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
Travelers also viewed these Chicago hotels
Downtown / The Loop
Travelodge Hotel Downtown Chicago
Downtown / The Loop
Chicago's Essex Inn
Chicago's Essex Inn
#127 of 187 in Chicago
1,929 reviews
Downtown / The Loop
BEST WESTERN Grant Park Hotel
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
Downtown / The Loop
Hotel Blake Chicago
Hotel Blake Chicago
#34 of 187 in Chicago
1,891 reviews
Downtown / The Loop
Renaissance Blackstone Chicago Hotel
Downtown / The Loop
Hilton Chicago
Hilton Chicago
#98 of 187 in Chicago
4,787 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to The Congress Plaza Hotel and Convention Center? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about The Congress Plaza Hotel and Convention Center

Property: 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 #146 of 187 Hotels in Chicago
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:1.5 star — The Congress Plaza Hotel and Convention Center 1.5*
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 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia, Booking.com, Orbitz, Hotwire, Hotels.com, Travelocity, Cancelon, TripOnline SA, getaroom.com and HotelQuickly so you can book your The Congress Plaza Hotel and Convention Center reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Congress Plaza Chicago
Hotel Congress Plaza
Congress Hotel Chicago
Congress Plaza Hotel Chicago

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing