The Historic Hotel Congress
Travel Blogs from Tucson
... after which we managed to pick up the local Marshall, who was very friendly and he explained that he was better off than the old law officers, as he carried both a gun (which he proudly showed us) AND a mobile, and the old officers were allowed to carry a gun, but not a mobile phone!
On the way out of town, we stopped at the old graveyard, Boothill, where there were some really interesting graves. Many unknowns, but also many who ...
... officer would have to shoot him on the spot – no time for arguing or explaining
... that delayed me more than an hour. When I got to the end of it there were 8 fire trucks. It looked like there was a small brush fire and they were soaking the entire area. The scrub on these hillsides is very dry so it probably just takes a careless cigarette to cause real problems. The wind really rips through these canyons so a small fire is ...
... Sonora Desert Museum. This is one of the top attractions in AZ. It costs about $15 to get in but you can spend all day here and the museum is mostly outdoors with plenty of shade spots, water and restrooms. There are animals found in the desert, animal keeper interactions, flowers of the desert, restaurants, gardens, aviary, shows, a raptor flying show and so much more. The museum has been around for sixty years. There are a lot of places to hike and ...
... but hopefully informative. A little bit of history and culture for us all. We'll give you all a rest until next winter, ha,ha! Since I ended numerous blogs with a sunset I thought it only fitting to end this with some of my favorite sunrises. So beautiful and inspiring to wake up to each day. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did.
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Historical Traveler Reviews The Historic Hotel Congress Tucson
Fell in Love with Hotel Congress & Tucson
My husband and I were skeptical, as earlier Trip Advisor reviews were a bit mixed; however, a trusted local friend recommended Hotel Congress as the "consummate Tucson experience". I will say they were right on the money. We were delighted with every aspect of our stay. A friendly gentleman checked us in and informed us of the evening's music in the Club Congress and explained that the old switchboard at the front desk is still in use. We went up to our room and felt like we had stepped back in time. Antique furniture and chenille bedspreads like you would find on a visit to Grandma's house. Be forewarned: there are no TVs in the room, but this only added to our feeling of another time, another place... (Note: If you must see your favorite TV programs, they do have a big flat screen in the guest lounge, along with a computer with free internet. I admit I did check my e-mail...)
We decided to try the hotel restaurant, the Cup Café, for dinner, and we were very pleased with the relaxed yet fine dining atmosphere. My husband highly recommends the duck confit and I say be sure to save room for dessert! We liked it so much that we had breakfast there the next morning as well - also excellent.
After dinner, we headed across the lobby to the Club and we received free entry as we were "guests of the hotel". We saw some popular local musicians performing on the gorgeous stage - so theatrical with its red velvet curtains and intricate metal framework. You must see it.
The next morning, we asked for suggestions for a little sightseeing and the young woman at the front desk - she must be a native to Tucson - enthusiastically gave us information and directions to her favorite things to do. We saw the Desert Museum, which is one of the more well-known attractions, and she also sent us to see some places which we hadn't heard about: the El Tiradito Shrine, some wonderful galleries nearby, and out to Sabino Canyon (beautiful, don't miss it!). We stayed two nights, but wish we could have stayed more. It was a wonderful introduction to Tucson. Highly recommended. We will return!
I can't even begin to describe my disappointing and brief experience with the Hotel Congress. When I called over a month ago, a very helpful young man made sure I understood the "no frills" atmosphere of the hotel. I had done my internet research, and the simplicity of the hotel (no tv, phones, etc.) was actually a positive for me and my traveling companions. He then informed me that the hotel was getting booked up for a roller derby convention (cool!) and that there were no more double rooms. So he booked a single room with a roll-away bed for the 3 adults in my party. We were so excited this and anticipated our stay there very much when we showed up for our stay this past Friday (2/24/06). My apprehension began when we arrived and found there was no parking. We sent one person in our party inside to find out where to park. We were directed to a lot across the street, but instructed to be careful parking there because the restaurant located next to the lot gets mad when people park there (???!!). So we parked, carted all our luggage across the street, and were non-greeted by the worst hotel clerk possibly ever in the history of travel. He simply informed me (when I gave him my name and reiterated that the reservations were for a single with a roll-away) that there were no more roll-away beds. Then he just stood there silently. No apology. No offer to find us another hotel. Nothing. He just stared at me like he was completely bored with the whole situation. After I asked why they would make the reservation for me, take my credit card info, and then give the roll-away bed away, he mumbled something about there only being 4 roll-aways in the hotel and that the manager had told him they had overbooked the beds. And where was the manager? She had conveniently left around check-in time. I assume to avoid the long line of irate guests that would be arriving to botched reservations. I have traveled a lot, and I'm no princess. I'm always up for adventure and unexpected developments. But the level of rudeness and the complete lack of interest in our plight was too much for me. I can't overstate what a disappointment the Hotel Congress turned out to be. I suppose if you are tragically hip--as everyone who works there appears to be--you could go ahead and take your chances and hope that you are deemed cool enough to be treated well. Good luck to you, though, if anything goes wrong with your reservations because customer service AND courtesy seem to not be much of a priority here.
Hotel Congress Lover's Wishing Shrine
I stayed at Hotel Congress despite the fact that I read that it had evaporative coolers. My room was cool, but the 2nd floor lounge, site of the famous lover's wishing shrine was hot! I made a wish as a joke the first night and was shocked when it came true immediately. The 2nd and 3rd wishes I made also came true. For the money, it is the greatest attraction in Tucson! No room price is too high to get this kind of ammenity.
Hotel Congress = perfection!!
Hotel Congress... where to start? I found Hotel Congress while blandly considering the normal freeway motels off the 10 in Tucson. My girlfriends and I were playing groupies to my boyfriend's band and drove out to Tucson to see them off on tour. I hate freeway hotels, hate everything about them. Obviously you do too or you wouldn't be looking at Hotel Congress on this website.
Imagine my surprise when we ventured into downtown just for a look and found a beautiful historic looking building with a yummy looking cafe in it that was only about 50 bucks a night. The same price we would have paid at - gag - Motel 6. Since that fateful night I've stayed here so many times and every time I have to check out my heart gets heavy. I almost wish I could live here, but alas I am from San Diego and can only venture to Tucson when I have a few extra bucks.
Those few extra bucks are always happily spent at Hotel Congress. The rooms are excellent, with wide old windows that let in the steamy sexy Tucson night heat (they also have AC of course). Old western looking beds. No TVs in the rooms, there is no need with so much entertainment downstairs and hot boys and beautiful girls in the hallways. Even the maids here are hot little firecrackers. Rooms do contain old radios that get all Tucson stations so if you're like me you can find the rock station and hope that they play Blue Oyster Cult.
The Cup Café in the lobby is like home. I have stolen no less than 5 recipes from them and cook them in my kitchen for dinner parties back in San Diego. Every time I travel through Tucson (which is frequent as my family is in NM) I stop for lunch or dinner at the Cup Cafe and linger... consider moving to Tucson and begging HC to give me a job. When I stay at Hotel Congress I usually eat there breakfast, lunch and dinner... unless another restaurant has gotten a ---- good review in the Tucson weekly and I just have to try it. They have tons of rad vegetarian choices and the meat eater boyfriend you drag with you can also find plenty to eat.
The Bar at Congress will also serve small dishes from the cup cafe, so you can sit in the impossibly sparkling lobby bar and snack on appetizer dishes while drinking a bloody mary or a fat tire beer (full bar).
All in all, I really do believe Hotel Congress has ruined me for all other hotels. Where else am I going to find a super cheap hotel with my favorite restaurant in the lobby? Every city I go to I seek out the Hotel Congress doppelganger but I've never been able to find anywhere that even comes close!
Would not stay here again! They lied!
My husband and I stayed at the Hotel Congress for one Saturday night because we were visiting friends in Tucson. I felt it was a risk because there were some good but mostly bad reviews. When I called I asked twice, on speakphone, whether they had air conditioning. They assured me both times that they did. When we arrived there was good parking and the front deskman was very polite. He explained the hotel set-up, the nght's events and the restaurants. We felt like it might be ok, but the room was an utter disappointment. We were fully aware the accomodations would be spartan at best and that it was no Marriott. But for $78 the room was worse then the worst ho-jo we ever stayed in!! The bed cover was dirty, the shower was filthy, there was no TV ( we knew this), no plugs for hair dryers etc, and it was HOT! We decided that maybe it would cool down later so went to dinner, when we returned amazingly it had become hotter. I called down and asked if something was wrong because there appeared to be a vent in our room with no air coming out. The front desk man informed me that he could turn on the air but it would be for the entire hotel. I really don't care! They should have had it on for the beggining instead of penny pinching. Then, he tells me that it is not air conditioning but an evaporative cooler. They are not the same thing, anyone who lives in AZ would know this. So, we got some air, but still remained hot through the night. Moreover, all night the soft rumble of trains that is described on their website, was not a rumble at all, but a roar that woke me up numerous times in my fitful sleep. All in all, I gave it a 2 because the staff seemed nice, and maybe I expected more then it could possibly give. But if you have $78 to spend do it somewhere where you get your moneys worth. Retro charm is miserable.
Ah, the Hotel Congress. If you like retro cool, this is the place. It's not plush, but has tons of atmoshphere. Even though our room had a huge cockroach in the bathroom, we would go back (but might carry a can of Raid along with us!)
It is a truly cool place.
Disappointed in the Congress
If you're a twenty/thirtysomething hipster looking for a really cool place to stay in Tucson, the Hotel Congress is the Place. The atmosphere is great, the food at the cafe is good enough, and the taproom is a superb dive-bar...best yet, your room is only up a flight of stairs. The rooms are spartan, but in a retro-good way. No televisions...hurray! Great bands, lots of interesting locals; I bet you're wondering why I only rated the place as mediocre, right?
Believe me, I'd love to wholeheartedly rave about this place, but there's a catch: half of the staff are really great people and it shines through in the way they do their job. The rest of the staff seem a little too concerned with working the "I'm an uber-hip artist/musician/poet/socialite who needs some cash but really don't want to actually do my job" angle. A fair portion of the waitstaff in the cafe came across as too cool and/or jaded to actually serve food. One of the evening front desk clerks was downright hostile to me for heading upstairs to the hotel rooms, one of which was mine for the night.
Although the Congress may still be the hippest place in Tucson, it's apparently gotten a little too hip for its own good. I'd recommend finding another hotel to stay at, preferably one where the vast majority of the staff are interested in doing their job with a little enthusiasm...and head on over to the Congress as part of a fun night on the town.
Hotel Congress Holds My Heart
The fact that I choose Hotel Congress over all of the resorts in Tucson shows how deep my love goes, since I'm a resort person. It's unique, cool, funky and fun- like the Chelsea Hotel of the west. You can run into people from all over the world there, especially musicians and artists. I've been staying there off and on for the past 5 years. It's historical and truely a step back in time. The rooms were redecorated in the 1940s after the fire in which John Dilliger was captured. The beds are very comfortable. Although there is no A/C, the rooms stay cool from swamp cooling.The Cup Cafe is an excellent spot for brunch, breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and coffee or late night dining. I ate there so much that the Arizona Daily Star photographed me eating there for a front page article. I like the french cafe feel of sitting outdoors there. Club Congress has great bands or poets and otherwise rocks from groovy djs. I love to dance there on Monday nights (80s night) when it is usually packed. The Tap Room is cozy bar with old cowboy sketches. There is a fairly new banquet hall. Two famous legends of Tucson work there, but you'll have to go there yourself to find out who they are!
The Cup Cafe is the best
The Cup Cafe at the Hotel Congress will set you back in time but not in money. You will definitely have an eerie feeling that at any second John Dillinger will walk through the door. Anyone longing for great food at a great price shouldn't miss this funky, fabulous, breakfast-lunch-dinner cafe. If I lived in Tucson I would probably eat at least one meal a day here. Don't miss it.
Hotel congress has charm , but no ac
the hotel congress is a very charming hotel in downtown tucson. the place takes you back in time to the early part of the twentieth century. the lobby is a very nice place to read the paper and drink a cocktail or a cup of coffee. the restaurant has outstanding food at a good price. i ate breakfast and dinner there twice because i loved the food so much. the prices are quite reasonable. the staff is extremely nice and attentive. the only negatives:
1. upon checking in to my room, i had to make my own bed .
2. there is no pool
3. no air conditioning ; in tucson that is not a good thing.
other than that, the place is great and the people and the food more than make up for the negatives. also, there is a great nightclub in the hotel where i saw some great live music. the bartenders are very good, and very nice. i would go back, but not in the dead of summer. go in winter!