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“Very poor service - illogical”

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The Congress Plaza Hotel and Convention Center
Ranked #150 of 190 Hotels in Chicago
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Very poor service - illogical”
Reviewed 9 August 2012

I am actually writing this review in the hotel lobby on my phone. I have flown across country to attend an important event in Chicago for work. I am exhausted and wanted to check in early. I was happy to hear my room was available. However, the woman at the front desk told me there would be an additional charge to checkaim as the official early check in time hour from now. I politely asked to speak with a manager. As it seemed crazy to pay over $50 to check in an hour earlier. However, she would not budge. So here I am, exhausted and upset, waiting 15 feet from the front desk.....having to wait to check in when I could be getting some rest in my room. I considered paying the fee, however, it seems crazy to do that for only an hour. It still shocks me how inflexible and unfriendly some people in the service industry can be. Unless my stay improves dramatically over the next 24 hours, I will surely never stay at this hotel again on my visits to Chicago.

  • Stayed August 2012
    • Value
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    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Travelraca
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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St. Petersburg, Florida
2 reviews
Reviewed 8 August 2012

Every year our family has an outing to Chicago and stays at the Congress. The lobby is charming - updated but yet a somewhat formal feel. The staff is always friendly and courteous, great room service for breakfast that is moderately priced. The view overlooking the lake front and park is beautiful. Lots to see and do and easy access to transportion. The location could not be better - right on Michigan Avenue, near Millenium Park with easy access to all the local museums, aquarium and art institute. Field Museum and Planetarium close as well. The location is also walking distance to the Willis Tower. If you are a shopper, you are minutes away from the Magnificient Mile of great shops. As an FYI, if you ever need assistance you will find the hotel mangement very helpful and accessible to guests. Needless to say we will return next summer.

Room Tip: Ask which rooms have best view. Can overlook lake front facing Michigan Ave but if full you may pay...
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  • Stayed May 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Kait825
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 August 2012

I made reservations before reading any reviews. Really, I just booked 3 days in a haunted hotel?! I wasn't about to tell my 15 and 16 yr. old. The day we were leaving I told my youngest. He thought the hallways were creepy and reminded him of "The Shining". Thank god I never saw the movie. All 3 of us said we'd stay again. Location was great, staff was very helpful, beds were real comfy. I myself liked the history of it. It is old, but old with character. There's a chair in the lobby donated to the hotel from The White House. It was used by Polk, Van Buren and I believe Tyler. Beautiful chair. I can't wait for my next visit, and I highly recommend The Congress Plaza.

  • Stayed August 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Denise L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
St. Petersburg, Florida
Level 3 Contributor
22 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 August 2012

If you're looking for a great hotel with awe inspiring views and old world charm - this is the one for you. It's location can't be any better - smack dab in the middle of Gotham City. Plus, it won't break the bank.

  • Stayed September 2011, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank Mark D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Springfield IL
Level 5 Contributor
51 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 August 2012

Whenever you stay in a big old hotel, and I've stayed in a lot of them, you have to understand that they probably have some great rooms, and they also have some terrible rooms. What you get is pretty much a crap shoot. Be very nice to the desk clerk, and you're more likely to get a better one.

There are things to like about the Congress. The lobby is quite pretty. As most people point out, the location is excellent (although you might be bothered by some street noise if you're on a lower floor). There's a nice little bar just off the lobby. Because of the location, you'll probably pay more than you would for a comparable room at a hotel that is not so well situated. There's a parking garage just around the corner where you can park for about $12 a night. And they offer smoking rooms - a rarity nowadays. I asked for a smoking room, and it was qute nice.

My room and my bathroom were both quite large, and very clean. The bed was comfortable. The TV worked. I was in a corner room on the sixth floor.

There are some things I didn't like. My room did not have a refrigerator or minibar. Likewise, no microwave. There did not appear to be enough staff, and there were long lines to check in. The staff was friendly, though. I didn't make any special requests, so I don't know how they respond to those. The elevators were very slow. It was a hot day, and even with the air conditioner cranked up as far as it would go, my room was not as cool as I would have liked it.

If you're looking for luxury, look elsewere. But if you just want some place to sleep and shower, the Congress is fine. This wouldn't be my first choice of a place to stay in downtown Chicago, but it will do in a pinch.

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled solo
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Helpful?
3 Thank daver852
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Morris, Illinois, United States
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 3 August 2012

When booking the hotel, they responded quickly with the confirmation number and information. We asked for a smoking room when we made the reservation, and asked for a standard king room. When we arrived, they had booked us in a non-smoking suite (upgrade? Sure, ok) except we had to pay the suite price, despite booking a standard room. In addition, they refused to relocate us to a smoking room, and were threatening and rude when we asked to be moved. Not being able to smoke in the hotel wasn't a big deal to us. The problem was that the staff behind the front desk refused to even CHECK the system. If this poor treatment of guests wasn't enough, thresholds between doors were bent and broken, the bathtub was a disgrace (the suite had a whirlpool tub. when you pressed the button to turn on the whirlpool IT FELL OUT OF THE SIDE OF THE TUB COVERED IN BLACK SLUDGE!!!), the white towels were stained (gross!) the door didn't shut properly, and worst of all, the staff was terribly rude and unwilling to help us find what we were looking for (inside the hotel or out). I've stayed at many hotels and despite its nice pictures, it was the worst consumer experience I've ever had. I would not recommend this hotel to anyone. Ever.

Room Tip: You can request a lakeview room. Probably the only good part of the hotel.
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  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Samantha B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers are raving about these Chicago hotels

Yakima, Washington
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 August 2012

I stayed at the Congress a few years ago when going to Lollapalooza. Do note: If you're wanting to stay here during Lolla and you're not going to Lolla: don't. The hotel turned into a giant frat house, which was fine by me - but you don't want to do a quiet stay here during that time. I had a corner room with a King sized bed. The room was old, yes, but I expected that. Bathroom was nice, had a large bathtub to soak in after the day's festivities. Wireless wasn't free, and was spotty at best when paid for. I did order room service once or twice, and while it took awhile to receive, the food was decent. So, if you're a festival goer in Grant Park and don't mind a little noise and a dated room - go for the Congress.

  • Stayed September 2011, travelled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank spinst
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

Property: The Congress Plaza Hotel and Convention Center
Address: 520 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60605-1602
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Illinois > Chicago > Downtown / The Loop
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #150 of 190 Hotels in Chicago
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
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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