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“Fun, historical gem”

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The Historic Hotel Congress
Ranked #58 of 129 Hotels in Tucson
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed January 3, 2008

We have been staying at the Congress during the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show annually now for over 10 years, and would have a hard time considering anyplace else.

Yes, it can be noisy (from the street, not the hotel itself, for most of the rooms). But the ambiance, friendly staff, good bar and restaurant, historic charm, and nearness to the convention center more than make up for it. Good people watching too -- and the best bloody mary's I've ever had.

  • Stayed: February 2007, traveled on business
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2  Thank P-Gal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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252 - 258 of 281 reviews

Reviewed November 25, 2007

I did my homework. I read every review. I am the type of person that loves live music, excellent food and a bar that has great beer and lots of old world charm. I booked a room for 9 nights (27th Oct- 5th Nov) at the Hotel Congress and after many emails with Allison the hotel manager, I knew I had made the right choice for me. Tucson was my last stop in a mini-world trip. I had come from Phoenix by bus and took a taxi to the hotel from the bus station, it took 5 mins. Having done my research and knowing that the noise of the venue downstairs could be heard in the rooms upstairs I booked 'quiet' room.

When I arrived at the hotel I had messed up my booking -me, not the hotel staff and had arrived two day's earlier than my booking. Fortuantely the hotel desk staff - who was the lovely Al Perry (Al is one of Arizona's finest musicians!) gave me a choice of the two remaining rooms, suggested the better one and promised I could move into the room I had booked as planned. I considered myself extremely lucky as it was the hotel's holloween party night - 1000 odd party goers and great bands all night! I had no trouble sleeping in the room above the Tap bar for two nights and the housekeeping staff moved my bags to my new room as promised. And here I'll add a word about Rochelle, the woman who ran the housekeeping and did most of the work. Rochelle couldn't have been move helpful if she tried and my room was always clean and tidy thanks to her!
About my room - lots of space, great big bed that was very comfortable with side tables, art-deco black and white tiled bathroom, vintage wingbacked armchair and dresser-table with mirror, built-in wardrobe, old telephone and vintage radio...and best of all NO TELEVISION - PERFECT!!! Oh, and no noise filtering through the walls from the rooms either side, something newer hotels can't promise!
The hotel's cafe has a great menu, I had breaky there every morning. Staff don't harrass you, are pleasant and the food is really, really, good. Try the spicy black beans and peacan pie.

I don't drive so walking or taking buses were my mode of transport. The hotel is so well located for both.
For those who love seeing bands, the hotel's location is ideal. The Hotel Congress, The Rialto Theatre (directly across the road) and Plush (a 10 minute walk) showcase the best music -local, nation and international. I was absolutely spoilt for choice while I was there.
Aside from the beautiful decor of the hotel and all that it offers, what made my stay so great was the staff - the reception desk, cafe, bar and housekeeping were wonderful and made my stay in Tucson a dream!
Thank you Hotel Congress!
Robyn (room 208)

2  Thank catalina070
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 17, 2007

Can't work out some of the other reviews of this place..............it is what it says on the tin.........do your homework business boys and find a Marriot!

A period hotel (a rarity in the US) which actually has some character!
Definitely for the travelling types that refuse to grow up a kitchy 1930's feel to it ,great food downstairs a battle of the bands in the connecting room and indies types all over it was fantastic!

Overall a very Bohemian feel to the whole place and I'd recommend it !

  • Stayed: June 2007, traveled with friends
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3  Thank spoon47
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 22, 2007

I stayed at this hotel for a Thursday and Friday night in late May 2007. My room was on the second floor on the street, so it had a lot of street noise. You have to be able to tolerate noise to stay at this place, apparently, since my room was not one of the "loud rooms" over the night club. The tattooed-pierced-indie-rocker fellow at the desk was very accomodating and offered to move me at check-in to a "quiet room", which had windows that only opened to the "courtyard"(read: tiny but charming second floor patio with 3 sun chairs and some potted succulents). I turned this down, so I tolerated the street noise. I liked that I could open my window up all the way in the day time for the cool air, even though there was street noise. The hotel was in easy walking distance from 4th street (I think that was the name of the street, though I was not much impressed with the shopping. Perhaps if I were a college kid still wanting to buy pot smoking paraphenalia and retro already worn clothes it would have been more enjoyable.) The restaurant serves killer breakfasts, though they are a little costly. You can sit outside. The bartender could not mix drinks to save her life. The beers on tap are pretty good and cheapish at happy hour. The location is a little sketchy for walking around at dark (or atleast I felt so, as a single woman). Some of the kids working the front desk were a little lippy and defensive, but I am used to the retor-kid attitude (not that that excuses it). Waitstaff was nice. Bed was a little wonka-wonka, though not uncomfortable and it was charming with its retro bedframe. Bathtub was clean, wonderful, and deep. Overall, I would stay here again if I was not looking to relax and luxuriate. It is a good spot to watch people, though they were mostly of the younger, trendier set. There were also regulars at breakfast, locals who came in to eat. Oh, that was my major issue: no coffe in the room and the restaurant downstairs does not open til 7, but if you flirt with the front desk, he just might let you snag some of the staff coffee, like he did me at 6 am.

  • Stayed: May 2007, traveled on business
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5  Thank zuuel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 14, 2007

This place is overpriced for what you get. If staying in a dump with no air conditioning (in the low desert, mind you), nonexistent water pressure in the shower, stained carpets, cheap soap and shampoo, plastic cups for water (which I had to beg for), and no television seems charming (even at more than $80 per night in a place with low living costs), then this place will suit you just fine. Be advised there is a loud nightclub in the same building and the desk clerks are amazingly rude (disappointing in a city where most everyone is friendly). There are many better options in Tucson for this price. Stop encouraging these people to price-gouge and stay elsewhere. I would have no complaints if they used appropriate and fair pricing.

  • Stayed: May 2007, traveled on business
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5  Thank yellovizion
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HotelCongress, Hotel Manager at The Historic Hotel Congress, responded to this reviewResponded August 12, 2007

I would like to apologize for the experience that this guest had at the Hotel Congress. Our staff has been trained to inform guests of the "historical" aspects of the hotel - i.e. our rooms feature vintage radios rather than televisions, we use our original "air cooled" evaporative cooling system, and the elevator was destroyed in a fire in 1934 (which also led to the capture of John Dillinger and his gang). Very rarely do guests complain about cleanliness, as we have strict cleaning guidelines in place for the entire building. Guests who come to stay at Hotel Congress do so because they are interested in a hotel which has personality, friendly local employees, and a nightclub and cafe on site. I only wish that this guest had come to me with any issues so they could have been resolved on the spot. If you are looking for a beautifully renovated historic hotel with soul that no chain motel/hotel could ever have than spend a night at the Hotel Congress.

Allison Baron
Hotel Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 6, 2007

We stayed at the Hotel Congress for one night because we came into town to catch a music show nearby. It was hot in the middle of summer, but we were fine here.

The Hotel Congress is not the Ritz. It is a basic hotel, very historic (This is the place where John Dillinger was captured!) and simple. Rooms are clean, but not luxurious. They still have the old decor of what you would expect of a 1919 hotel, with iron beds, switchboard phone system, and evaporative cooling system (not modern AC). Internet access is available in the common lounge area of the floors, and there is an excellent restaurant downstairs (think breakfast). We didn't get a chance to check out the bar, but it seemed fun.

I think if you know what you're getting into, this is a great place to stay for an authentic experience. If you're looking for fancy modern hotel amenities, you should look somewhere else. I would definitely stay here again, as the price is right, it's in a fun location (walking distance to bars and music venues), and it is definitely original.

  • Stayed: July 2006, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank caaron
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 25, 2007

Why do I do these things to myself? This place is exactly what others said -it is hip and if you like tatoos and bars and don't really have any high standards, then it is great. Otherwise, do yourself a favor, stay anywhere else. No TV, dark rooms and roaches in the bathroom. Ugh.

  • Stayed: May 2007
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2  Thank WayOutWesterns
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Historic Hotel Congress

Address: 311 E Congress St, Tucson, AZ 85701-1811
Location: United States > Arizona > Tucson
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#3 Green Hotel in Tucson
#33 Romantic Hotel in Tucson
Price Range: $103 - $138 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — The Historic Hotel Congress 2.5*
Number of rooms: 40
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Hotel Congress is listed on the National Historic Hotel Registry. We pride ourselves on the many unique features we offer that you'd be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. This historic Tucson hotel transports you back in time. Some cynical city-slicker types might notice the absence of a television in any of our 40 rooms and feel slighted. But it's intentional - we strive to maintain the Hotel's original ambiance - from the iron bed to the vintage radio, from the comforting rumble of the nearby iron horse to the retro-style phone that actually connects to a switchboard at the front desk. All rooms are uniquely designed offering an original experience every time and unlike most historic hotels, all rooms have private bathrooms, free high speed internet, and a private guest lounge.The lounge offers our patrons a large-screen television with unlimited channels as well as free computer access. You can also enjoy the exclusive outdoor patio, where you can soak-up the Tucson sunshine year round. We have new upgrades for our guests, to ensure an amazing experience during your stay at Hotel Congress. *Bike Program - We now have bicycles that our guests are able to check out to explore Tucson during their stay! We recommended guests to bike the Santa Cruz River Trail, and the Train Trail behind Maynards Market and Kitchen. Let us help you explore Downtown Tucson in a new way! *Snacks from local vendors - Enjoy some treats from our local vendors. Every room has a tray filled with a variety of snacks that are available to purchase. We have: Cactus candy, Rbar Energy Bar, Spunlight Cotton Candy, Green Valley pecans, Essentia Ionized Water, POPPED Artisan Popcorn, Cerreta Candy Co., and the Kobito Hangover and Love Kits. *Guest Room Internet - We now provide super high speed wireless Internet in our guest rooms that is 10x faster than before! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Congress Hotel Tucson

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