Monday, July 26, 2021

We Left the Kids at Home and Went to Chicago: We Low-Key Loved Our Haunted Hotel


To be fair, though, we didn't know it was meant to be haunted when we booked it... or even while we were staying there, dang it, or, not gonna lie, I'd have been searching out those sealed-up rooms and hallways populated with ghosts.

The Congress Plaza is now, however, my favorite hotel. The price was excellent for our excellent location just a couple of blocks from the Art Institute of Chicago, Millennium Park, Grant Park, and the Lakefront Trail. And look at the view from our window!

That's Lake Michigan in the distance, with the Buckingham Fountain show in front of it.

Beyond the price, though, I was super into the Congress Plaza mostly because it's this charmingly weird combination of luxurious and decrepit. Like, you can definitely tell that everything about it used to be super nice, but that time was probably when it was first built for the 1893 World's Fair, and it probably hasn't been updated since.

Instead, any further amenities seem to have just been weirdly tacked on, and it makes them all look hella creepy.

Here, for instance, is the entrance to the exercise room, down a couple of abandoned staircases and a completely empty narrow hallway with vast, dark, empty rooms on one side and locked, unlabeled doors on the other:

And here's the room itself!

At the other end of that room is another hallway, this one even more decrepit and abandoned and seemingly not for guest access, but who knows because the door to it wasn't even closed?

Go down another couple of flights of stairs--

--and there is a seemingly totally empty entire floor to the hotel, just a single still escalator from the noisy lobby.

And it is MIRRORED:

The doors leading away from this giant, mirrored space are all closed but unlocked, and if you go through the ones on the right, you enter this huge, abandoned, two-story auditorium:

Matt and I wandered the hotel for quite a while one evening, discovering silent pianos, bay windows overlooking the busy street, leaky ceilings, gilded bits of finery, and then we went back to our room, turned on an Avengers movie, and ate delicious takeout pizza:

It was the first Saturday after Independence Day, an unusual but not unheard-of time, I suppose, to look out one's hotel window later that evening and see that there was a fireworks show going on over Navy Pier:

And guess who had the perfect view?!?

I've been keeping an eye on Congress Plaza Hotel prices out of curiosity, because it's also across the street from my favorite music festival, which is happening next weekend. Unsurprisingly, it's now sold out for that weekend, but before it sold out, reservations were about a hundred dollars more per night than we'd paid, which honestly isn't unreasonable considering its excellent location.

Does that fact that it's haunted keep the prices down?

Here's the first day of our trip at Indiana Dunes National Park.

Here's the second day of our trip on the Lakefront Trail.

The last day of our trip will be at the Museum of Science and Industry to see their Marvel exhibit!

Psst! Come find me on Facebook!

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