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“Old but not elegant, really a shame considering location and history”

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The Congress Plaza Hotel and Convention Center
Ranked #153 of 192 Hotels in Chicago
Reviewed November 11, 2012

Where to start....the room is large enough, but hardly elegant. The wallpaper is old, dingy, and looks like it was put up by a 3rd grader. The door trims were not painted (see photo), and their is no thermostat. The AC is either on or off, and when on only lukewarm air comes out. The pillows on the bed could double for sofa pillows---not comfortable. The bed linens are a percale-type material, not very soft.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Luv2G0
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 11, 2012

The hotel is conveniently located right across from Grant Park, minutes from the Art Institute. The property itself feels like a hotel in Moscow in the 1960s. Some hallways smelled like smoke; the mattress was uncomfortable and cheap; the bars of soap in the bathroom seemed to be 10 years old. No fridge or mini bar, very small TV screen, you get the idea. The room was perfectly clean, and the staff seemed fine and friendly enough. If you're looking for a very cheap, safe room and are able to get a low rate, then it's fine, but don't go here if you want a romantic outing, or a comfortable time with kids, etc. It's really in very poor shape and I'd be surprised if it lasts much longer.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled on business
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Thank Dave41707
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 11, 2012

We stayed here two nights. The rooms are spacious. And the architecture is very impressive. Hotel needs some friendly up-keep. Some paint chips and has a flavor of a hotel needing renovation. But it is an ok hotel, great location, and good staff.

Stayed: November 2012
Thank Scott B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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Thank meg109_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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Thank plowed
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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1  Thank TJM0408
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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.
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  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank LaiLaiGirl
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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