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“A Fascinating Piece of American Hotel History” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of The Congress Plaza Hotel and Convention Center

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The Congress Plaza Hotel and Convention Center
Ranked #146 of 187 Hotels in Chicago
Kennett, Missouri, United States
1 review
“A Fascinating Piece of American Hotel History”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 11, 2012

I stayed at the Congress Plaza several years ago and was fascinated by its faded opulence and claim to fame as THE hotel destination for both the famous and infamous traveling to Chicago, all the way from the days of the White City to World War II. I stayed in one of those rooms tucked up under the eaves of the top floor of the north tower. The windows might have been teeny, but the room was huge...and I could happily gaze out onto Lake Michigan and Grant Park. The reason I love this hotel, despite the fact that it does need extensive renovation and service upgrades, is that it's still in operation after nearly 150 years...offering a rare glimpse into the by-gone era of grand old hotels in America. I do hope either the current or future owners realize what a historical gem this place is, and fully restore the property to its rightful place in American hotel history.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank meg109_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,554 reviews from our community

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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
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New York City, New York
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 9, 2012

it's gorgeous inside (architecture), and it's right next to the park, but that's kind of where it ends for me. I stayed there marathon weekend so it was expensive, like other hotels would be that weekend, but they wanted to charge me an extra $10 PER NIGHT if i wanted a mini fridge in my room. next marathon weekend i'm staying across the street at the budget motel. also to get on line on their computers was $10 for 15 minutes. really?
I'm sure the view from some rooms is gorgeous. The view from my room was another rooftop and construction. The rooms were of avg size, fairly clean, but one can tell the fixtures and furniture and bathtub were very old.

Oh, and check out time is 12 noon, but holy cow do they want you out of there. On check out day, the housekeeping staff let themselves into my room TWO DIFFERENT TIMES, both without knocking. the first time we're like "what's that noise? sounds awfully close" and the maid was in my room. 8am!!! we were still in bed. "oh!" she said, and left. (they removed the "do not disturb" sign from the door. it being check out day...)
then 9:30/10am, again, the maid was confused why the chain was on the door when she tried again. I had to call the front desk to confirm that check out time was in fact noon, and ask if they for some reason expected us out earlier. Housekeeping should on occasion KNOCK before using their card key. not staying here again.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank plowed
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Chicago hotels

Burlington, Vermont
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 8, 2012

I had read bad reviews of this hotel before I arrived, but my reservation was made by my husband's boss ahead of time (for a business trip) and we were told we could not change it. So with very low expectations we asked for an upgrade upon check in. The front desk guy was friendly and said he gave us a "better" room. The place is VERY run down. It's one of those enormous old hotels that must have been glamorous in its day but is plain scary now. Our upgraded room had worn out carpet, faded wallpaper, garage sale reject furniture, and cheesy bedding. We were at the back of the hotel, a few floors above the "L" (above ground commuter train), which went by every 10 minutes(in my sleep-deprived recollection) all night long. Not only did they charge $10 for internet access, they charged per device! So we had to pay twice so that I could get online to book a different hotel while my husband went to his meeting (which I did easily thanks to Tripadvisor!). For all this, the price was nearly $200, and the place appeared to be packed. I give it two stars only because it was clean, and the staff were friendly and appeared almost apologetic.

Room Tip: get way from the train!
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled on business
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank TJM0408
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Irvine, California
Level Contributor
43 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 7, 2012

It was our first time in Chicago, so my boyfriend booked a place that was within walking distance to places of interest and public transportation.

The good:
- Great location on Michigan Avenue. The taxi, bus, and train were easily accessible. Our seventh-floor room overlooked the park across the street. I could even see the Buckingham Fountain, which I later learned was used in the opening sequence to the tv show "Married... with Children." In the distance I could even see the Planetarium and Museum of Contemporary Art.
- The staff was friendly and helpful.

The bad:
- No air conditioning. The fan (or whatever you call that monstrosity) did little to cool the room. It wasn't until 2 days before our last day there that we realized the windows opened. It came in handy because the room could get pretty warm, even though it was in the 40s outside .
- Hallway wreaked of cleaning product. I appreciate the clean, but don't enjoy walking through the chemical smell day after day.
- Often times I had to walk through a cloud of cigarette smoke when arriving or exiting the hotel. As a non-smoker staying at a "smoke-free" hotel, this was really annoying.
- If I wasn't greeted by smokers, I had to make my way through the line of picketers. According to one of our tour bus drivers, they've been striking for 10 years. I guess this adds to the "charm" of the hotel.

Overall, it's decent, but I definitely won't stay here again.

Room Tip: Rooms facing Michigan Avenue are the best.
See more room tips
  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank LaiLaiGirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 5, 2012

Could be sooo much more, if it weren't for the fantastic view of the fountain, lake, and Grant park I would have left that night... First off there are people striking out front, they say its one of the longest strikes ever - tacky. They also say that the owner whom bought this (what could be wonderful hotel) about 10 yrs ago has never even stepped foot in this place, hum?? The room is old, old, and more old - clean but OLD!! No updates at all, the door to the room was one of those like from the seventies hollow cheap doors and all scratched up. It got a little cold and due to the old heating/cooling ventilation system only heat was provided, the bathroom was nice thou. The parking was costly compared to other hotels in the area, once u use the coffee packets in the room then they want to charge u for any additional one u request, and an 8 oz cup of coffee costs u $8.00. That's not so nice when u pay sooo much for the old room our room was 300 something I can't really remember the exact number at this point. Needless to say I will never stay at this hotel ever again. Not worth the time, money or old musty smell. Hope they would change some things in the near future. Hope this helps u, to summ it up this place is an old neglected, money pit.

  • Stayed September 2012
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Readd5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Coronado, California
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 5, 2012

This is an old hotel but they did pretty good upkeeping this. We had a great time here. Location was perfectly located and everything was walking distance. At the end of the night, we relax at their lounge which had a billiard area where we played pool and darts...Would def want to stay here again when we visit Chicago another time

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Lucy L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manistee, Michigan
Level Contributor
42 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 5, 2012

I've stayed here a couple of times and been very happy with the price of the rooms and the location. The rooms are a little dated but everything is clean and the beds are comfortable. Short walk from the trains and lots of good restaurants nearby.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank maddiesmom66
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

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: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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