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“Sort of like Congress, itself--A Joke”

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The Historic Hotel Congress
Ranked #56 of 130 Hotels in Tucson
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Colorado
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Sort of like Congress, itself--A Joke”
Reviewed 16 February 2009

If the following aspects are essential for your positive hotel experience, you're going to love this "historic" spot in downtown Tucson.

1) Let's begin with the most visceral feature: Loud karaoke music shaking your room until 2am. Although the management has you sign a waiver saying that you were aware of this fact ahead of time, we were told we'd be on the "quiet" side of the building. If earplugs and pillows couldn't dampen the roar of Ratt and Def Leppard for us, how much ether was ingested to knock out the guests on the hotel's "loud" side?
2) A hot room, courtesy of a constant radiator, that is only relieved by opening the window located 18'' from the side of the bed.
3) Assuming you did open the window (see #2), now you have the horns of the local trains (pretty much each hour, on the hour) joined by a humming city bus that is waiting directly below your open window for the street light to change--every 1/2 hour, on the 1/2 hour. Luckily you have a blind, but no matter how you configure it, street lights illuminate your room and you might as well be in the bar.
4) Let's not forget the schizophrenic shower. Global warming and all of it's temperature swings has nothing on this hotel's plumbing. Roiling, freezing, then steaming and back to the Arctic--all in the course of a minute. Oh, also, if you're remotely overweight--you're not even fitting in the shower.
5) Finally, the bed. Or, as my wife nicknamed it, the Soggy Waffle. Tiny, limp, short and perfect for a rancher in 1920 who'd been sleepin' in the dirt for a week before whistlin' his herd into Old Tucson. This bed was his Taj.

In closing, my wife and I are always happy to avoid the stale air of a Best Western. But let's face it: There's "historic" and then there's a Good Night's Sleep.

Andrew Biel

Stayed February 2009
Helpful?
4 Thank rupertgrange
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, 23 February 2009
Mr. Biel,

Thank you for taking the time to write a review for our property. I would like to respond to a few of the points that you made.

I'm surprised that you were able to hear the music from our nightclub as your room was on the complete opposite side of the Hotel from our Club. We try very hard to manage our guest expectations and that is one of the reasons we let all of our guests know what to expect before they check in. We are located in downtown Tucson, so unfortunately street noise is always a factor. We do have several interior rooms which are considerably quieter because they are not affected by the outside street noise.

I understand your frustration with the radiator and the plumbing - unfortunately, some of the charms of any historic hotel are often times trumped by outdated systems.

Thank you for the note about the mattress - it has been replaced.

I wish that you had asked to speak with me because I would have amended the situation. The front desk staff and I want every guest to be comfortable and are here to help guests 24 hours a day. If we had known about your uncomfortable stay we would have fixed it for you immediately. I invite you to stay at the Hotel again and I can guarantee you will have a better night next time.

Anytime you are having an uncomfortable stay please let the hotel staff know. We are all in the hospitality business because we love to offer our guests an exceptional and memorable experience. It is difficult to amend a bad situation if we don't know about our guests problems.

Thank you. Again, I hope to see you in the future and we will take very good care of you.

Best Regards,
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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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (91)
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English first
United States
Level 4 Contributor
48 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 January 2009

As other reviewers remark, this is no ordinary hotel and requires a love of the old. The light fixture over the sink was like the one my grandma had in her house that I hadn't seen in years: I was ver clempted. The shower does not put out a lot of water (a southwestern U.S. thing I think) and requires constant adjustment so water is not too hot or too cold. We were warned that the radiator might heat up the room too much. We were actually looking forward to this since we prefer radiator heat and like more warmth than most people. The radiator, however, did not put out enough heat for us. We happened to have a portable electric heater with us and brought it into the room. I also thought the Venetian blinds were unnecessarily skimpy. The iron bed was excellent and I loved that the room had no TV. Wi-Fi Internet access was decent. We could hear some noise from the club but as urban dwellers, we're used to noise and it didn't bother us. All in all, the Hotel Congress was a welcome break from the generic motels we had been staying in.

  • Liked — Scrambled tofu in Cafe Cup was excellent
  • Disliked — Huevos rancheros in Cafe Cup were not so good
  • Stayed January 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank SlippyGirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
london
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 December 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, travelled 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, 28 December 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
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NYC
Level 5 Contributor
49 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 November 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, travelled 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, 28 December 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 2 September 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, travelled 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 29 August 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, travelled 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 1 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 27 March 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, travelled 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
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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
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 (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 
Also Known As:
Congress Hotel Tucson
The Historic Hotel Congress Tucson, Arizona

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