Chicago: Part 2, The Hotel

Okay, what do I have to say about the Hotel? Hmmm… where to start, where to start?
The Hotel is a gorgeous Hotel from the outside. It has a nice edifice and evokes the feeling of the early to mid 1900’s really well. The accommodations are of an “okay” size, but for the cost we were being given, they were not that large or accommodating. Our room had a bed in it and a tiny little table along with the requisite dresser and TV. It was nothing special, and certainly not worth the $200+ a night that it turned out to be. One could see that the hotel could be a really nice hotel with some minor modifications and a thorough cleaning. That being said, it was a 2-star hotel that had aspirations to be a 4-star.

The door knobs on the fire doors were coming off, but a hamburger from their kitchen cost $10.95. The door knob issue, while being a gigantic fire hazard, was also quite annoying because it was really difficult to get into and out of our hallway. The toilet leaned a little to the left when you were seated on it. The fridge that they allowed us to use in the room for a minor rental fee looked like it had been in one to many dorm rooms. The thing was completely beat up, I am honestly surprised that it closed. They did not have a microwave available for rental or use. We had to buy a cheap microwave at Target for the “heating of the chickies.” Little Man almost went through an entire large orange bag of the things during this trip. He would have them for breakfast and a pre-dinner snack.

Anyway… The staff that we interacted with seemed nice enough, but the desk staff was populated with jerks. They were the absolute worst concierges I have ever had the misfortune of dealing with. Not only were they un-knowledgeable about their city, they were also rude about their lack of knowledge. FYI: If you are going to be in a position where people are expected to ask you questions, please be polite whether you know the answer or not.

The real kicker about the hotel and its situation was the strike and picket line that was going on at their main entrance. Okay, a little background information: The conference Wifey was going to was NCORE or the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education. The Congress Plaza was listed in the conference materials as the “approved” overflow hotel for the Hilton Chicago (a much nicer hotel with no picketing or strike to boot!). The strike was occurring due to “unfair labor practices” and consisted almost completely of people of some sort of Hispanic/Latino or Black backgrounds. On top of all this, the strike has been going on for the past 3 years straight! Now, that is some solidarity.

The sad irony of being in a hotel where a strike was occurring to go to an anti-oppression conference was not lost on the conference attendees. In fact many of the attendees were really questioning why the Conference planners endorsed a hotel with a clearly oppressive hotel with very little scruples. Turns out the hotel lied to event organizers and said that the 3 year long strike would be over by the time the conference came to town. Guaranteed it, actually. The conference planners were less than pleased. Every time wifey left to go to the conference, she had to walk through a line of unfairly treated brown people to go to a conference where one of the major topics was the unfair treatment of brown people.

They also stated that it would only be $10 extra a night for me to stay in the room. Turns out they charged us $25. Jerks.

Had Little Man’s breathing not been such an issue, we probably would have gone to stay at a non-striking hotel. As it was we, once again, decided our convenience was more important than the rights of others. Apparently we’re jerks, too.

To Recap:
The Congress Plaza Hotel and Convention Center is considered a 2-star hotel for a great many reasons
Wifey, is clearly the karma of our relationship
The MacDonald’s on Wabash has Grape Fanta
Mmmmm grape soft drink
If you have an itch, scratch it