Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Impressive history, but this hotel's glory days are long behind it
Built in 1893 to accommodate the visitors of the World’s Columbian Exposition, the hotel has had a glorious past, and has hosted several presidents and other notable politicians. Famous political speeches have echoed in its elegant halls; Democrat and Republican conventions have been held in its ballrooms; and a famous NBC Radio show had its headquarters here -- but that was all a long time ago.
Today, the hotel lives to some extent on its past reputation. While parts of the huge property were renovated in 2007, others are trapped in time. The public areas, however, are still impressive, with ornate blind arches, marble, and chandeliers.
Across the street from Grant Park and blocks from six subway lines
The Congress Plaza is located in the South Loop, across the street from Grant Park and its famous Buckingham Fountain, which can be seen from most of the rooms. Museum Campus is just a short walk away, and there are six subway lines and one Metro line within two blocks of the hotel. However, the vibrant Loop neighborhood and the Magnificent Mile are farther north.
Worn furniture and no Internet
Rooms were renovated in 2007 in an old-world style, with wood bed frames, gold bed throws, and cream patterned wallpaper. But some rooms have ugly curtains and stained carpets, and the furniture in most rooms is already starting to show its age.
Cheaper parking than other Chicago hotels and a 24-hour fitness center
Two American restaurants and a lounge
This historic, 851-room hotel across from Grant Park is the cheaper alternative to the neighboring Hilton Chicago -- and you get what you pay for. The lobby is elegant, but features are few and rooms are basic. (None have Wi-Fi, and guests can't adjust the room temperature.) Even when the rates are low, you can probably do better elsewhere.