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.
- 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
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Congress Hotel Tucson
- The Historic Hotel Congress Tucson, Arizona