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“Great location for the money”

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The Congress Plaza Hotel and Convention Center
Ranked #152 of 191 Hotels in Chicago
Reviewed October 17, 2013

I admit I was a little worried about this hotel after reading a LOT of terrible reviews. Our experience here was very satisfactory. Our room (we were on the 4th floor of the North tower) was very large. 12 ft ceilings, decent bathroom with updated fixtures and tiled floor to ceiling. And oh, good water pressure in shower, with a shower head that was plenty high for me! Beds were comfortable. No experience with housekeeping as I put out the do not disturb for the day, as we were only here two nights. I will say that while showing its age, everything was very clean when we checked in. The locale is great, about one mile from museum campus, and an easy walk. Less than one mile to Willis Tower. Easy access to bus route. I would not hesitate to stay here again, though I will say that I'm pretty sure a different floor, in a different area of the hotel may yield a completely different room setup/experience. All in all, for a girls trip with me and my daughter, this hotel was everything we needed. Comfortable, clean, good location.

Stayed: October 2013, traveled with family
Thank Joanna G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,494 - 1,500 of 2,773 reviews

Reviewed October 15, 2013

My Boyfriend and I have stayed at the Congress Hotel for Chicago Marathon weekend the last 4 yrs. Perfect location and the hotel has a historical Old Chicago feel too it. Rooms are ok , old but seemed clean. Which was fine, we were only looking for a peacefull sleep and thats what we got. .. We had an awesome view of Chicago!!! We were lucky enough to get a high corner room which has a little bit more space then some of the others. Front Desk was very hospitable. Nice a la cart breakfast on race day. After the race we were able to get a table outside of the Rafael Steak House. Wonderful place to have a bite to eat and congratulate the runners after the race. The weather couldn't have been more beautiful..
Cons: The Gazebo Restaurant: We had planned to go out for a pasta dinner..When we got off the elevator a sign read Pasta Dinner special... How Convienent!! Well, we were seated it wasn't crowded. It took 15 min for a server to come up to us and pour water. She poured a glass and a 1/4th of water and didn't even say she would be back with more. We had to ask somebody else to finish pouring. 10min later she took our order. 55min later!!!! Our dinner came... This is Spaghetti folks!!! How in the world does it take an hour for Spaghetti to be served on a plate?? Especially when thats the only thing on the menu!! We had to ask for bread which consisted of two hard rolls and two tiny blobs of butter. While we were sitting and waiting 3 tables in our area left without being waited on. It became quiet humerous... Unbelievable.... In another situation we would have walked but we didnt' have anyother plans so we waited it out.
Also the Congress Lounge. Usually this is a fun old bar.. We wanted to catch a little of the hawks game before going to the room. When we got into the bar the door to the outside was wide open and a very cool wind was coming in and it was chilly.. My BF casually walked over to the doorman and asked would it be ok to shut the door... Well an older (man) bartender came running and said very angerly NO!!! that is to remain open!!! OOOkkk.... My BF went to the Bathroom..while he was gone I was sitting at the bar and I overheard the bartender tell another bartender angerly that theres a man who is coming back he wants the door closed it is not to be closed!!. He had quite the attitude!! So I told him when he got back from the BR what was said. He asked the bartender if he had offended him by asking for the door to be closed. The bartender real angry unprofessional man said "The president of the congress hotel says to always have that door open unless its freezing outside, and if you don't like it you can leave my bar..... Whoooo... " So Mr. Congress Hotel president. Is that true.. :-)
But. you can't let a few bad apples ruin whats good about the hotel.
Lessons learned for next year Chicago Marathon. Make a reservation at a local restaurant for dinner and if going to the bar have a sweater and stay away from the old growchy old bartender.

Room Tip: High floors corner room
  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank visit0r88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 14, 2013

The Congress Plaza is a historic hotel on Chicago's Michigan Avenue. It was built for the 1893 World's Fair. The rooms are pretty basic, not a lot of frills and the hotel is kind of frayed around the edges. But I'm thinking that's what makes it affordable. The location is just fabulous. I recommend paying a little bit extra for a lakeview room. The view is gorgeous: Buckingham Fountain, Lake Michigan, Navy Pier to the north and the museums to the south. I shared a room with my granddaughter and my son and grandson shared an adjoining room. We were walking distance to the Loop, Millennium Park and the Art Institute.

Room Tip: Request a lakeview room. Higher up rooms will have a better view.
  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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Thank kikinw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 13, 2013

My husband and I were registered for the Chicago Marathon this weekend (10-13-13) and were very pleased with our choice of accommodations. As soon as we got into the very difficult to register marathon, I searched Expedia to make a reservation. The Congress Plaza was suggested by other marathon racers. We're from the Milwaukee area so we just took the train down (so glad we did). No problem getting a cab to the hotel from Union Station. On the train ride my husband informed me that while doing a Google search of the hotel he found that it is supposedly haunted. Why did he tell me that? Thankfully I'm not afraid of no ghosts! Anyway, check in was quick and efficient. Our room was on the 14th floor. If we would have had a room facing the lake i would have been thrilled but didn't want to bother changing. If you can, do request this! I could still see the race prep and activity from one of our windows.
OK, more about the hotel. It is right in front of the race! So convenient and easy! The hotel was kind enough to allow a late check out for the racers. Our fellow passengers on the train were much appreciative. At 5:30 am! The hotel offered coffee, Kashi oatmeal, granola bars, bananas, OJ, and bagels for sale in the lobby. The room has a coffee maker, but the a la cart breakfast items were very nice. The hotel restaurant also offered breakfast, for those not racing.
OK, the room. I heard no moans or bumping in the night, much to my relief. We've stayed in some of the nicest hotels this country has to offer and this was not one of them. But, it served it's purpose! The beds were firm. The room was clean. NO bedbugs. A modern flat screen TV, hairdryer, AC & coffee maker. No WiFi! Weird! Just DSL hook up in the room. The room was spacious enough, not like the little things you get in Manhattan or the strange odor in New Orleans. We had a corner room with nice views! The building is OLD, they embellish that nostalgia with their wall paper, curtains, and shower curtains. A little over the top.
If you're looking for a romantic get away to Chicago maybe not the Congress. But,if you'd like the proximity to Grant Park and Michigan Ave., Yes!
Oh, i forgot to mention that even though it was a race weekend, the Congress offered one of the lowest rates!

Room Tip: Lake/Park facing room (Michigan Ave.)
  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank AmyPHartland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 13, 2013

This hotel reminds me of the hotels I stayed in as a child. As I am a senior, I guess you could say it was dated. The rooms are large and the ceilings high. Our room had the logo wallpaper and no special amenities. The linens were nice, the bed was comfortable and the room was clean. The location was perfect. We could walk to the museums, the lake, the Navy pier and the park. We had a nice view of the pier at night with all the lights and the lake in the distance. If you are looking for a modern glass building with all the updates, this is not the place for you. If you want a great location and a comfortable bed this hotel may suit you. I would stay here again as we had two bedroom suite with one bath at about 300/night.

Room Tip: If you have two couples or 3 or 4 girlfriends on a get away, this may be a good choice. It may be l...
  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank 2bignanas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 12, 2013

Booked this hotel for the marathon because of its location. Next time I will walk further and pay more. This hotel needs major renovation. We got put in a smoking room and we do not smoke. The room stunk, horribly. The sheets have stains, the upholstery on the chair is stained, the carpet is dirty. I would never stay here again. I am glad our reservation is only for one night. There is no way this hotel is worth over $200 per night.

Stayed: October 2013, traveled with family
2  Thank Longmich
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 12, 2013

Old hotel, lost its shine, no modern facilities, but ok for a short stay
Staff was not unfriendly but not particularly friendly either
Amazing location, would stay here again when i'm short on budget, with a little more to spend i would choose something more modern like swissotel


  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled on business
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Review collected in partnership with Easytobook.com
1  Thank Loes J
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 #152 of 191 Hotels in Chicago
Price Range: $87 - $269 (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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