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“not as cool as they think they are”

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The Historic Hotel Congress
Ranked #54 of 130 Hotels in Tucson
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
london
Level Contributor
12 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“not as cool as they think they are”
Reviewed December 24, 2008

It's a beautiful hotel. The room I was in was lovely, and the noise from the club minimal. Most of the staff were very friendly and helpful (though sweetly almost all were rather tragically "hip") - But one tried to charge me entrance into the club. When I pointed out I was staying in the hotel and I didn't have to pay, she said I must leave a "donation". Erm, I don't think so. Don't expect any priority to eat breakfast lunch or dinner in the cafe either - they have an snooty guard on the door.

It's pretty close to 4th avenue (10/15 minutes walk) which is also rather tragically hip, and there are some good cafes, bars and restuarants on its side of the railway tracks. Amtrak station is right across the street - and the bus station is a $5 taxi ride away.

And be aware that

1. the noise from the road is quite loud.
2. The room was hot hot hot. It must be brutal in summer, with only swamp coolers.
3. When they say on the website that the delivery of hot water to the shower is affected by other guests using their showers, they aint kidding. Fluctuating back and forth from scalding to icy cold in the space of seconds - impossible to regulate.
4. No wireless internet signal in my room.
5. he hotel is busy into the wee small hours, and the foyer/bar is heaving with a drunken mob.

I know I sound nit-picky. If you're a trendy 20 something party animal you will love this place. I'm not, and while perhaps that's my problem, I wouldn't stay here again next time.

And it's cheap.

  • Liked — location, price
  • Disliked — noise, heat
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank rachaelov
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 review, December 28, 2008
First of all, thank you for the nice comments about the Hotel Congress. We love to hear that guests enjoy their rooms!

I would like to respond to a few comments in your review...

We do offer complimentary or discounted entry to the world famous Club Congress for our Hotel guests, however the night you visited we were hosting a benefit concert for one of our local businesses that has been struggling. Apologies for the confusion regarding a donation request.

While a historic hotel can be quite charming, some aspects of old buildings are not quite as charming (i.e. the fluctuation of the heat in our showers). We do appreciate it when our guests let us know of issues in their rooms because there is constant maintenance and upkeep required to keep our rooms comfortable.

I'm sorry to hear that you won't be back for another stay, but I certainly appreciate that you will recommend us to others.

Allison Baron
Hotel Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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272 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
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NYC
Level Contributor
49 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed November 5, 2008

This is a fun hotel w/ a lot of character. Rooms are clean and the period detail is lovely. Check the website--they are very clear about what you will get and won't get -- pictures of rooms and all. I did my research and got a quiet room -- slept like a baby. I was one person so maybe the rooms might feel small for two--but I was really comfortable. The rooms were clean and the staff really friendly. Restaurant was great -- fabulous breakfast.

My only complaint was a bit of rigamorale about the bar--I was there on an all-ages night and some VERY serious bouncers spent a lot of time examining my ID (I am 38!) and sending me to various entrances and behind mesh curtains and whatnot. I felt like I was in who's on first. A little silly and they all took themselves a tad too seriously. Had a complaint about my drink and instead of giving me new one, bartender argued w/ me. So a little too much of the club atmosphere impinging on the hotel. But then again, having everything there is part of the appeal.

Overall, if I went back to Tucson, this I where I would stay. Its got its own flavor and is way more interesting than a chain.

  • Liked — character, cleanliness
  • Disliked — may be a bit small for some
  • Stayed November 2008, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank kmarta
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 review, December 28, 2008
Thank you so much for your nice comments! We strive to make our guests comfortable and happy, and to provide an experience that can't be found at a regular chain hotel.

We hope to see you again on your next visit to Tucson!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed September 2, 2008

This has got to be as good as it gets for cheap diggs. This rock n' roll hotel houses a live music venue/ club, bar/ pub, cafe and an annual music festival (during which we stayed). The young, friendly staff a combination of down home and alternative oversee this hub of Tucson's exceptional musical and artistic scene.

Don't expect quiet, uptight surroundings. Do expect clean, cozy, tastefully restored and simply deocorated rooms with accommodating staff and oodles of character. The website is extremely comprehensive, allowing you to view each and every room (each room is completely unique). Simple and delightful with it's early 1900s fittings, fixtures and details such as vintage clock radios (no TVs) and antique iron beds, the rooms are full of southwestern charm. I've never understood why cheap hotels (and not so cheap ones) opt for those scratchy, polyester bedspreads when simple, natural-fibre ones can be obtained for a similar price. It seems the Hotel Congress' interior designers felt the same way. With cozy bedlinen and a perfectly firm matress and pillows I had a deep and peaceful sleep - even in spite of that weekend's music-festival craziness.

If you call, staff will be extrememly honest with you when choosing a room and direct you to rooms with noise-levels you can bear. The rooms above the club are noisy, and they tell you so. And when I say noisy, I mean it. In some of the club rooms, it's as if you are sleeping literally ON the stage. On the other side of the building (we were in one of these in room 210) you are overlooking the parking lot which has a train running along side it. The train is very frequent and while not obscenely loud, you can hear it. Fortunately, I enjoy the not-too-distant rumble of a train.

Being a person who cannot tolerate air-conditioning (it almost always makes me sick) I was delighted to discover that the rooms are fitted out with a swamp cooling system. This evaporative method works on the principle of heat absorption by moisture evaporation. The evaporative cooler draws exterior air into special pads soaked with water, where the air is cooled by evaporation, and then circulated. This is cost effective, energy efficient and SO MUCH MORE natural feeling. It leaves the rooms about 16-20 degrees cooler than the outside - important when you'e in the desert.

The cafe downstairs I cannot recommend highly enough for big, hearty, rustic breakfasts. This is one of the better breakfast menus that I've seen anywhere! This is also a great spot for observing the locals (who are big fans of the Cup Cafe breakfast menu also) and getting a feel for the general vibe of Tucson.

In terms of proximity, this was also the perfect spot to use as a base for exploring the mission and the Saguaro cacti. It is also walking-distance to other great Tucson restaurants, cafe's and music venues.

The Hotel Congress is the hub of Tucson and I cannot recommend it enough!

  • Liked — It's cleanliness, comfort and affordability all without losing any charm, originality or personality.
  • Disliked — Nothing at all!
  • Stayed September 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank Vavine
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Miami, FL
1 review
Reviewed August 29, 2008

Rock n' roll hotel! The bands playing in the club were my neighbors each night, met plenty of cool folks, cozy beds, clean showers, bottle opener on the room's bathroom door (with a corkscrew!), view of the patio drinkers and train station from our window, charm, charm, CHARM!

Management must have changed. I stayed here in '05 and it was a much lesser experience. The rooms seemed cleaner and quieter than I remembered when we returned. Check their show schedule and book a room when a band you love is playing. Closing the bar, stumbling upstairs to sleep and waking to bloody marys and eggs in the restaurant in the morning is top notch! Perfect getaway!

  • Liked — Location
  • Disliked — Fewer amenities than most hotels
  • Stayed November 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank Nomaddie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
dallas, tx
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed March 26, 2008

I really loved my stay at the Hotel Congress. Even though I didn't get one of the most "quiet" rooms, I am a good sleeper so it wasn't a problem. The music was not too loud to sleep and loud enough to enjoy! I really liked that there's no TV in the room, and everything was redone but not really overdone! The shower was a little iffy, sometimes hot and then cold. Overall, a great experience because it is so funky and unique. The breakfast was good, the bar was good. I traveled alone and felt very safe. The staff was nice and very helpful whenever I needed them (they helped me make my plans). The hardest thing about this trip was the construction on the highway which made getting around quite a travail.

  • Liked — uniqueness, clean, artsy
  • Disliked — construction, no elevator
  • Stayed March 2008, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank carlamariedallas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Phoenix, Arizona
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed February 29, 2008

I've stayed at the Congress many times through the years and have always enjoyed it. The last time I stayed there I was a little disappointed.
When I made my reservation I was warned that my room would be above the club portion of the hotel so it might be noisy at night. The noise from the club wasn't too bad. I was able to fall asleep, but the room was near the train tracks. The trains and the uncomfortable bed is what kept me and my husband from getting a good nights sleep.
I enjoy the Congress because it's a hotel, bar, club and cafe all in one.
If eating dinner in their cafe be prepared to spend a little money, breakfast is more affordable, but definitley gets packed and you are forced to share booths with complete strangers and if you're not much a people person that can be a problem.
I do think that spending nearly $90-$100 for a tiny little room and ancient plumbing and electrical, is a little steep, but I do appreciate the historical charm.

  • Stayed January 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank LadyCub
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco
Level Contributor
23 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
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.

  • Liked — Location and service
  • Disliked — Street noise from most rooms
  • Stayed February 2007, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank P-Gal
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

Property: 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 (Based on Average Rates): $
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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