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“Lovely staff, great food and drinks, fun atmosphere!”

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The Historic Hotel Congress
Ranked #56 of 129 Hotels in Tucson
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed April 1, 2013

My fiance and I stayed last Friday night at Hotel Congress. We chose it because we drove in from Las Vegas to see Jeff Mangum at the Rialto Theater which is directly across the street. The second we walked into the Hotel Congress we were impressed with the friendliness and accommodation of the staff. We were greeted warmly, assured that where we parked was fine, given instructions on how the hotel works, and wished a pleasant stay. I really love the historicness of Hotel Congress. It's quirky and quaint and a different kind of stay from your usual Days Inn or Hilton or what have you. My favorite thing is that they give you a big heavy key for your room that you leave at the front desk whenever you leave. You don't have to carry a key with you. You simply add the names of everyone staying in the room and drop off and pick up the key at the desk whenever you go out or come back. Some people might not like this or think of it as an inconvenience, but I thought it was great! I never had to worry about losing the key. We arrived around 5pm and were delighted to discover that the bar had a happy hour until 6pm so we indulged in delicious Old Fashioneds for cheap! After we saw our concert at the Rialto we came back to the Hotel Congress to find live rock n' roll in their outdoor courtyard and a TON of people! Despite this, we were still able to get a beer fairly quickly and enjoy the music for a bit. After driving seven hours that day and partying it up that night, after midnight we were tired. This is where everything bad you have heard about Hotel Congress turns out to be true. The music in the courtyard was still going on and it was loud. My fiance snores, so I am used to sleeping with earplugs and even bring my own with me when we travel. I appreciate that the hotel provides earplugs, but I'll admit, the brand I buy (Hearos) is better than what they provide. I popped them in and was asleep in no time. The only complaint I have about the hotel and the reason why I gave only a "very good" and not an "excellent" is for the double bed in the room. I understand that the hotel is old and the rooms are small, but not even a queen sized bed? We are used to a king so trying to adjust to sleeping in a double bed was difficult. Additionally, it wasn't a very comfortable double bed at that. But if you stay at the Hotel Congress for a good night's sleep, you're doing it wrong! It's all about the atmosphere, the lovely people, the drinks and the food! Oh, did I not mention the food yet? As a guest you get the perk of making reservations in their Cafe Cup restaurant. We had the most excellent breakfast there the following morning. If you can get anything with the smoked brisket (which they smoke themselves in the courtyard daily) I highly recommend it. All in all, we enjoyed our stay at Hotel Congress.

Room Tip: If you are really concerned with the noise level, you can request a "Cactus" room which ca...
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank kerryannmccombs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DaraHC, Manager at The Historic Hotel Congress, responded to this reviewResponded April 7, 2013

Dear kerryannmccombs,

Thank you for your review, if you have a moment to send me an e-mail about what room you were in I would love to take the bed for a spin. We try to keep everything at the Hotel as Historic as possible but not our beds. We are regularly bringing in new beds and I would like to put yours on the short list. During the summer we try to fill the Plaza as much as possible with live music and events to take advantage of the beautiful summer nights Tucson is known for, so if you have a free night and want to enjoy that 7 hour car ride come on back and we can have you test out another one of our beds.

See you soon,

Julie Brown
Hotel Congress Rooms Manager
Hotel Congress
julie@hotelcongress.com

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170 - 176 of 289 reviews

Reviewed March 25, 2013

My wife and I stayed at Hotel Congress on March 16, 2013. We ended up making the reservation by phone and the staff person said that it was a noisy hotel and we could have a room away from the music area if we wished. We took that offer and had a perfectly good night's sleep, in spite of the fact that a St. Patrick's Day celebration started at midnight, (We had previous experience with Dublin's Temple Bar area and know what REAL noise can be like.)

The hotel staff was excellent-friendly and helpful. The hotel decor was interesting, full of history, and quite enjoyable. We met friends for lunch at the hotel restaurant and had a good dining experience. Breakfast on the outside patio was excellent. The hotel's location was great for walking around and exploring Tucson and we took advantage of it.

While we are senior citizens, we have no physical issues. We were not effected by the fact that for historical reasons the elevator doesn't function (damaged in a fire that resulted in the capture of John Dillinger, public enemy # 1..ask a staff person to tell you the story) nor was there a support rail on the tub/shower.

BTW-While the hotel was historically in sync, there WAS an excellent wi-fi connection to counter balance the rotary-dial phone and lack of TV.

Would we do it again if the same accommodations were available-absolutely!

Kerry & Lori Bryne

Room Tip: Ask for a room away from the music.
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  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Gryphon46
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DaraHC, Manager at The Historic Hotel Congress, responded to this reviewResponded March 26, 2013

Dear Gryphon46,

I hope you joined in the Saint Patrick’s Day festivities. I joked that there are not enough holidays to celebrate that we made one up by making Saint Patrick’s Day Eve and having everyone kick off the holiday early.

We cater to the Adventurer in our guests and no matter what your age hope to make for an enjoyable experience. I am glad we hit the mark with you.

See you soon,
Julie Brown
Hotel Rooms Manager
Hotel Congress

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Reviewed March 20, 2013

My friend and I stayed at the Hotel Congress last night.and had a wonderfully memorable stay. The hotel is quaint, quirky and fun. Our room was clean, cute and the bed very comfortable (though I would have rated "Excellent" if they had provided feather pillows). We weren't bothered at all by noise, but rather enjoyed all of the 'hub-bub' surrounding the "Geeks who Drink" event at the Cup Cafe and the concert going on in the theater. David really enjoyed the variety of artwork hanging throughout the place, and the 2 meals that we ate at the Cup (dinner and breakfast) were both surprisingly delicious. The menu surprised me in it's variety and coolness (artisan cheeses, falafel lettuce wraps - Nice!) This hotel is an experience, not just a place to crash. Come with a sense of fun and leave happy.

I also want to mention (since I've read a few complaints on here about it) the kind and professional service that we received both on check-in and check-out. Young "kids" work here, sure, but they were very nice and helpful to us. Thumbs way up!

My only complaint has to do with the street construction. This is not the hotel's fault, so I'm not downgrading my review, just letting people know it's noisy, smelly and dirty and makes for some scary driving upon arrival. It will be very nice once complete.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank kraypaper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DaraHC, Manager at The Historic Hotel Congress, responded to this reviewResponded March 26, 2013

Dear Kraypaper,

I am glad you enjoyed your stay here. We change our art almost bi-monthly and are blessed to have such great local artists such as Danny Martin whose pieces are hanging on our walls now. I will also pass along to the Cup you enjoyed your meals.

We are excited to report that the construction on our portion of Congress Street should be completed by April 11th.

Have a lovely day,

Julie Brown
Hotel Rooms Manager
Hotel Congress

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Reviewed March 17, 2013

I recently had the pleasure of staying at the historic Hotel Congress for a week while participating in an adobe preservation workshop in the Tucson area. The hotel was conveniently located downtown and was well restored- down to the rotary dial phone in my room. The staff was extremely friendly and helpful, the bar was well stocked with a variety of popular local, foreign and domestic beers and spirits, and the breakfast at the cafe was excellent.
Some may not like the noise coming from their club downstairs, but if you like music as much as I, it is a bonus. As a hotel guest I got into the shows for free, and especially enjoyed seeing Reverend Horton Heat.
Over all, I had an excellent experience at the Hotel Congress and highly recommend it. Go for a stay in a unique place with a superb staff- and check out the live music while you're there!

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled on business
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1  Thank Chad B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DaraHC, Manager at The Historic Hotel Congress, responded to this reviewResponded March 18, 2013

Dear Chad B.,

Thank you for your recent stay with us and for your review. I am glad you got to go to Reverend Horton Heat that was a fun show, and that you were treated well.

We look forward to seeing you soon,

Julie Brown
Hotel Rooms Manager
Hotel Congress

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Reviewed March 9, 2013

Tucked in the Hotel Congress's Policy page on its Web site is this notice: "We are an urban, historic hotel. Your room may be affected by plaza, nightclub, or street noise. We do not give discounts or refunds due to noise. Earplugs are available at the front desk. Or, better yet, just join in the fun!"

Quite an understatement. We arrived at the hotel on a Wednesday night, checked in, and were assigned room 230. Little did we know that this room was located directly above the nightclub also housed in this building. Almost immediately after we settled in a heavy-metal band launched into their set--drums and bass literally shaking the room and rendering the earplugs supplied by the hotel useless. We wanted to relax a bit before heading out to grab some dinner, but the noise and the shaking made this impossible--and the fact that the band was pretty bad didn't help much. Oh--and there was a dog yapping incessantly about two doors down from us.

Obviously we couldn't stay in the room, so we went down to the desk to see what they'd do for us. To his credit, the desk clerk was unfailingly polite, understanding, and willing help us out. We had originally booked the room for three nights but wanted to leave that evening. He telephoned his manager, and after speaking with her (she never asked to speak to us) informed us that we would not be reimbursed for room charges for the night should we decide to seek other accommodations. We would, however, not be charged for the remaining two nights (I don't know if not charging us for the other two nights was his idea or the manager's--as I said, we didn't speak to her).

Both the desk clerk and another fellow behind the desk were sympathetic to our situation. After a bit more discussion, we were given the choice of two other rooms, both of which were considerably quieter than the one we'd originally been assigned. After being assured we wouldn't be charged for the remaining two nights, we accepted.

Even though we finally managed to obtain a room more conducive to rest (which is what a hotel is all about, really), this incident was still an inconvenience. We still had to find accommodations for the following two nights and by the time we moved into the other room it was about 10:00 PM or so--too late to grab a decent dinner. (And by the way, this room turned out to be noisy, as well--more music was playing in another part of the hotel.)

And how did the manager respond to all this? She didn't. We never received an apology for the hassle. We weren't rude to the hotel staff, all of whom were helpful. It would have been nice, therefore, to have received some sort of token for our troubles: A breakfast voucher, a couple of drinks at the bar--just some indication that this hotel values its customers and wants to make amends when they are inconvenienced. But the manager did NOTHING. So far as I can tell, she's good at foisting her more onerous responsibilities (dealing with unhappy guests) onto her very capable subordinates--but not much else.

Yes--the Web site mentions noise on its policy page--but "plaza, nightclub, or street noise" is quite a bit different from a room literally shaking from bass and drums just a floor below. And the fact that the hotel includes a notice saying in big, bold letters that "We Are a Noisy Hotel" doesn't help much once you're already there. And as my girlfriend said, this notice pretty much gives license for people to hoot, holler, and slam doors in the corridor till the wee hours.

And how were the actual accommodations? The rooms were utilitarian, at best. There was nothing charming about them to indicate this was an "historic" property. No interesting decorations or tchotchkes graced the rooms. The sink handle in our second room was loose, the basin needed replacing, and the plumbing made ominous noises. There were very few electrical outlets, and the one located behind the squeaky bed in the first room was loose--I wonder if that's a fire hazard.

One other thing: The hotel's policy is that it only supplies one key per room and you must leave it at the desk if you want to venture out. This means that once you return you have to retrieve it--and wait if there's anyone in front of you. Idiotic.

Here's the upshot: If want to spend your time in Tucson partying till 4 am and then collapsing in a sodden heap upon your bed, by all means stay at the Hotel Congress. If you want a restful night in a comfortable room, knowing that the hotel manager will have the courtesy to DO HER JOB and correct any problems you might have, do not--I repeat: DO NOT STAY AT THE HOTEL CONGRESS. This is not the place for you.

Room Tip: Don't stay in Room 230! Right above the nightclub. Better yet--choose another hotel.
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank FastEddie61
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DaraHC, Manager at The Historic Hotel Congress, responded to this reviewResponded March 13, 2013

Hi FastEddie61,

Thanks so much for staying at the Hotel Congress, and providing us with feedback on your stay.

We apologize for the noise - you're right, we ARE a noisy hotel. We try our best to manage our guests expectations in regards to the noise level. We are making some revisions to the website to help cover our bases even more in making sure our guests are informed. With enough notice, we can provide a room in the quietest part of the hotel for our guests who may be concerned with the noise. The happiness of our guests is our priority and we are sorry that you were not better taken care of by management.

Thank you for taking my phone call, as well. We look forward to welcoming you back to the Hotel Congress next time you visit Tucson.

Sincerely,
Dara Kose / Hotel Congress

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Reviewed February 27, 2013 via mobile

Great historic hotel with cool atmosphere. Good location right in center of historic Tucson. Lots of great night life close by.
Pros: great location and plenty of night life close by. Cool atmosphere. They love pets.

Cons: incredibly noisy ( think jackhammer right outside your room...literally). Night club shakes the whole building until the wee hours.

Don't even think if bringing kids here. Bring some ambien and you'll do just fine!

  • Stayed: February 2013
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1  Thank dbdurango
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DaraHC, Manager at The Historic Hotel Congress, responded to this reviewResponded February 28, 2013

Dear dbdurango,

Thanks so much for sharing such great feedback about the Hotel Congress! We are sorry about the noise - we try hard to manage our guests' expectations by letting them know in advance that we're a "rock and roll" hotel. On your next visit, we'll put you in one of our quieter rooms.

You're right - the night scenes at Hotel Congress and Club Congress are definitely not for kids. But, we do have many family friendly events, like our annual Dillinger Days celebration and our Harry & the Potters event during the summer. Also, Cup Cafe is great for family dining and has a kid's menu.

We hope to see you again soon!

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Reviewed February 15, 2013 via mobile

Although we did not stay here, my cousin wanted to take us to the "place that John Dillinger was captured." I am a huge history buff so I was all in. We asked to see a room and were even told about the guest room that is haunted. The rooms were old but clean and decorated for that time period. The rest of the hotel made me feel as if John Dillinger himself was going to walk in at any time. There was a lot going on this particular night and the staff handled it well. I would definitely go there again...

  • Stayed: February 2013
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1  Thank mykidsmylyfe
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: $101 - $141 (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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