Standing prominently on the corner of Congress Street and Toole Avenue is the legendary Hotel Congress, a Tucson gem. Built in 1919, this historical landmark is home to a music venue, restaurant, and a few happy haunts.
Last month, my sister and I were lucky enough to spend a couple nights in room 223 while experiencing all that the Hotel Congress and old Tucson had to offer.
Not only is each room is outfitted in antique furniture, the washrooms have original fixtures. I could not get enough of the porcelain soaker tub or the tile floor. The verbena scented soap was a real treat too.
Each time we had a minute to relax, I immediately flopped on the super comfy bed (complete with antique iron bedframe) and read Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen’s latest offering. It felt fitting considering how many bands have rolled through the Club Congress. Highly recommend this for a vacation read if you’re a fan of The Boss.
Hotel Congress is home to many quirky details… the penny floor is a prime example. Comprised of 177,000 pennies, this distinct floor is in the Cup Cafe and is quite a sight to behold, not to mention an excellent place to take a shoe selfie.
The hotel also has a pretty fascinating history that they cover in a succinct timeline here. Hint John Dillinger may or may not be involved in their legendary existence.
If the rooms weren’t already amazing enough with their antique decor, vintage show posters, and ultra comfy beds…. their snack bar is thoughtfully curated as well. Katie and I immediately fell in love with the packaging of the Prickly Pear Cactus Candy. Can confirm that the packaging is just as magnificent as the actual jelly candy itself. So good that Katie couldn’t even wait 5 minutes to bite one before I took the shot.
Katie and I managed to swan around to Tiger’s bar, the back patio, and to Club Congress to see the locals and all the interesting characters in town for the Tucson Rock & Gem Show. Katie was wearing an eye patch all the while as she was having some complications with her eyeball. Our official story was that she got into a fight with a polar bear; we’re from Canada after all.
After a long day of rock shopping and an evening of the craziest karaoke I have ever experienced (and I’ve been to Japan!) it was nice to take a leisurely soak in the tub.
No evening at the Congress would be complete without a little haunting though. As I drifted off to sleep listening to the club hits of the 90s playing in the distance in the bar, I felt someone sit on my feet at the foot of the bed. Katie was comatose in the bed beside me, so I knew it wasn’t her. Rather than take off my sleep mask and have a peek (I’m such a wuss) I slowly moved my legs over to the other side of the bed. Problem solved! Here’s an overview of some of the alleged haunts in the building.
For breakfast we headed down to the Cup Cafe located off the lobby right in the hotel. Besides the awesome penny floor, the food and service were unbelievable. Their Eggs Benedict blew my mind and I’m sure the horchatta latte would have too had they not of run out of horchatta 🙁 – I guess I’ll just have to go back to make sure!
The bar in Club Congress was originally from another bar in Tucson called Talk of The Town and it is definitely nice enough to write home about. It’s all about the details! The embossed booths, the cowboy patterned curtains, even the lighting!
I had first heard of the Hotel Congress when my pals from The Wet Secrets played a show there. I wasn’t able to attend but my parents made sure to make an appearance. They repeatedly told me of the Congress and how I would love it; they weren’t wrong.
Our last experience at the hotel had to be in their photobooth complete with my one-eyed sister, Katie rocking her eye patch with all the flare. I can’t wait till I’m in Tucson next to stop by for a horchatta latte…. or maybe even another haunted sleep!