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“Noisy, noisy, NOISY! And a laissez-faire manager”

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The Historic Hotel Congress
Ranked #56 of 129 Hotels in Tucson
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed 9 March 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.
  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled 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 13 March 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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168 - 174 of 283 reviews

Reviewed 27 February 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 28 February 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 16 February 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
Reviewed 8 February 2013

Good food at the hotel cafe and good service from the hotel cafe and bar staff. That being stated , this historic hotel has an unbearable noise level. Currently at 10 pm a lone player hooked into an amp is playing on the outside patio which is directly beneath my window. I am not enjoying this . The hotel has another music venue in their nightclub which can be heard throughout the entire hotel. I included a photo of a handout that is in the hotel packet. The unbearable noise level is not mentioned on their website.
The noise experienced every evening is a constant mixture of street traffic, live club music, and music piped throughout the hotel.
Charming to visit during the day, good cooking in the CupCafe - but I'll never ever stay here again and feel cheated by the hotel not posting the fact that they are a noisy hotel on their website. I can't wait to go home.

  • Stayed: February 2013
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2  Thank Joan R
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 13 February 2013

Dear Joan R.,

Thank you so much for choosing the Hotel Congress and sharing your feedback about your stay. It’s through reviews like yours that we are able to improve to help manage our guests expectations. We’re glad to hear that you enjoyed Cup Café – it’s a local favorite.

We are very sorry to hear that you did not enjoy your stay due to the noise level. Hotel Congress is a “rock and roll” hotel – as you mentioned in your review, one of our defining characteristics is the music, whether it be live on the patio or a DJ’d night in the club.

It is stated on the website under “Hotel Policies” that we are a noisy hotel. It reads:

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!

The comfort of our guests is extremely important to us. Had we known of your discontent during your stay, we would have welcomed the opportunity to find you a different room that was more insulated from the noise. We are not always able to accommodate requests to change rooms during busy times, but we will always do what we can to make your stay more comfortable.

We hope that you will give Hotel Congress a chance in the future to meet your expectations.

Sincerely,


Dara Kose

Hotel Manager

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Reviewed 21 January 2013

UNSAFE!

This hotel, while quite proud of itself and its historicity, has little or no concern for its guests. There is but one key for each room. After being served several cocktails in the one of the hotel's bars, my wife took the key into the room and locked the door behind here. When I wasn't able to get in the room, I contacted the hotel staff, I was told that they had no way to enter the room. We called and called but my wife was unresponsive. Because of a medical condition I became very alarmed and concerned for her safety. The staff was unable and unwilling to gain entry to the room. I called 911. a half hour passed. Finally I had to force the door open. My wife was unconscious but stable. I went to the lobby where the staff had stopped the police officer!!

Long story short_ we were evicted from the hotel and charged for damage to the room. Wow! Not sure what there plan is for a fire that might break out or medical emergencies. I would NOT feel safe sleeping there.

  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled with family
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4  Thank gregtooke
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 25 January 2013

Dear Greg,

The Hotel Congress is a very special place and your posting was disingenuous and false. This review reflects an isolated incident that resulted in a police report being filed and your removal from our Hotel, while your wife elected to stay. You informed us that you would write a negative review if we did not remove additional charges from your bill for the damages you caused to our historic property.

We take the comfort and safety of our guests very seriously and pride ourselves on customer service.

Thank You,
Dara Kose
Hotel Manager

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Reviewed 20 January 2013

When checking in, it was explained to me right away that it can be noisy and there were some quirks because the building is so old, so I feel like I was fairly warned. And to be honest, I didn't think the hotel was that noisy given the event and time of week.

The front desk staff need a wake-up call and a lesson on not treating their paying guests like criminals. As the ground level restroom seemed to be perpetually locked, my girlfriend and I decided to go upstairs to our room to use the restroom. As we ascended the stairs, the front desk clerk stopped us and asked us where we thought we were going. I felt she was rude, and conveyed that to her and her manager. The manager was less than sympathetic. While I realize there is a need to protect the property, there's a big difference between "HEY! Where do you think you're going?" versus "Pardone me Sir, are you a guest of the hotel?"

I refuse to be mistreated by people who I give money to, so it'll be a while before I go back.

Room Tip: Beware of Front Desk staff
  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Robert S
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 13 February 2013

Dear Robert S,

Thanks so much for staying at the Hotel Congress and sharing your experience. I’m very sorry to hear that you felt mistreated by a front desk clerk. We encourage all of our employees to uphold the highest standards of customer service, and our front desk staff is usually warm, friendly, and helpful. I will share your review with our staff to underscore the importance of being courteous and respectful at all times, even while protecting the property and safety of our guests. We appreciate your choosing Hotel Congress and hope that you’ll stay with us again soon.


Sincerely,

Dara Kose

Hotel Manager

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Reviewed 17 January 2013

The Congress Hotel is a great place to stop and spend a night or two while exploring Tucson. It's downtown location has just about everything in walking distance and easy access to the highway makes it easy to get in and out of town without any real traffic issues.

This hotel is almost 100 years old so be prepared for close to the original decor of the period. Not much remodeling has been done but the hoteliers have done a great job of keeping it in top condition for guests to experience what it may have been like to travel back in the day.

There are several bars on the property so make sure to ask for a room on the other side of the hotel if you need some peace and quiet. It's on the website and they will tell you when you make your reservation this is not the place for you unless your looking to have a good time. I don't think sound proofing for a night club was at the top of the list when the hotel was built. We did get a room on the other end of the hotel and got a great night sleep.

Supposedly a haunted property but the only noise we heard was a few drunk people out on the street after the bar closed.

Enjoy

Room Tip: Ask for a room farther from the night club if your looking to get a good nights sleep.
  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled with family
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Thank Bryan R
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
Region: United States > Arizona > Tucson
Amenities:
Business Centre 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: £76 - £102 (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
The Historic Hotel Congress Tucson, Arizona

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