K.C. was a featured writer for Yahoo! Travel before joining trips to discover in 2013. She is the author of Best Travel Guide for First Time Visitors to Ireland, an Amazon bestseller every year between 2013 and 2016. She has been a featured expert on Newsweek, Travel + Leisure, Travelocity, among others.
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Want to have a truly haunted Halloween? How about a stay in one of the world’s most haunted hotels? If you aren’t afraid of ghosts and all sorts of things that lurk in the night, or perhaps even relish the chance to experience some paranormal activity, you may want to plan your next trip around one of these haunted hotels. If you’re into spooky settings, book a stay at one of these haunted hotels to send a chill up your spine.
The Stanley Hotel is located in Estes Park, a small town on the eastern edge of Rocky Mountain National Park. The haunted hotel was said to have spooked horror master Stephen King so much that it became the inspiration for the setting of “The Shining.” Opened for more than a century, ghostly events have always been a part of its history, with the sounds of children running and laughing down the halls frequently reported on the fourth floor, and Mr. Stanley, the hotel’s original owner and the inventor of the Stanley Steamer Automobiles, along with his wife, are said to frequently walk through the lobby. Mrs. Stanley can sometimes be heard playing her piano in the music room, while a former housekeeper who died here in 1911 is said to frequently assist guests in Room 217 by unpacking and storing their belongings.
Marilyn Monroe was once a resident at Hollywood’s glamorous Hotel Roosevelt, and she’s thought to be one of its many restless spirits that haunt the establishment today. Guests and hotel staff have reported seeing a blonde woman in the mirror found in her former suite, and her presence has also been felt in the hotel’s poolside Tropicana. Reports of mysterious phone calls to the hotel operator, orbs and cold spots are frequent – and the ghost of the late actor Montgomery Clift has reportedly even been heard playing his trombone from room 928, where he once stayed.
For more than a century, the Brown Palace Hotel and Spa has set the standard for luxurious accommodations in Denver, hosting numerous celebrities, presidents and other dignitaries. This top haunted hotel in Colorado is also said to play host to several spirits, with many tales of unexplained paranormal activity reported by staff and guests throughout the years. The stories have included sightings of a string quartet in the San Marco Room where guests used to enjoy musical performances, the group has reportedly assured various bellmen by saying, “We live here.”
The slightly eccentric yet strikingly magnificent Castle Leslie was completed in 1871, but the estate dates back hundreds of years. Today, this luxurious hotel is said to be home to a number of reported spirits, including Norman Leslie, who supposedly inhabits the Red Room. A grey and dusty monk is occasionally seen in the banquet hall, while Lady Constance is said to haunt the Mauve Room.
This 5-bedroom stone tower-style castle built in 1536, is now run as bed and breakfast accommodations. If you stay here, there’s a good chance you won’t do much sleeping. Guests frequently wake up at night hearing voices as well as the doors banging and shutting on their own. Some have even felt the presence of a spirit sitting at the edge of their bed. It’s said that the spirit of an English lord’s daughter haunts the castle along with the ghost of Myles “The Slasher” O’Reilly, an Irish folk hero who spent his last night at Ross Castle before dying in battle in 1644.
This luxury resort built in 1888 has had its share of famous visitors, including former presidents, and it’s been rumored that it was the place where King Edward VIII first met Wallis Simpson. The hotel’s most famous ghostly guest is Kate Morgan, who was found dead several days after checking in back in 1892, with a gunshot wound to the head. Guests who’ve stayed in her room have witnessed lights flickering, the television turning on by itself, and even a beautiful woman standing by the window. Kate has also been seen walking down the hallways, through the garden and along the beach.
The ghost of Lady Catherine is the most frequently reported ghost at this 13th-century fortress turned renowned hotel, a hotspot for honeymooners. Just a teen at the time, Lady Catherine is said to have locked herself in the top room of the castle and starved herself to death after her parents forbid her to see the young man she was in love with. She’s been heard on numerous occasions tapping on doors, rustling her skirt and even sometimes pulling guest’s hair.
The Ragged Cot, a 17th-century inn, has quite a creepy history. It’s said that back in December of 1760, the drunken landlord decided to rob a stagecoach on its way to London. As his wife clutched their baby, she tried to intercept him at the top of the stairs, with the scuffle causing both mother and child to fall down the stairs to their deaths. He put the bodies in a trunk, and when he was being arrested, he saw their ghostly apparitions heading back upstairs. Supposedly, they’ve been there ever since, making appearances in the bar.
This beautiful B&B in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights neighborhood is said to be haunted by a woman who was the Head Mistress of the school that once existed inside the building. The spirt of Mary Lake is sometimes seen wandering around, keeping an eye on her “guests.” She likes to make sure her guests are comfortable and has unpacked and hung up their clothes as well as picked up objects off the floor that were dropped. She’s even tucked the covers in and around people in the middle of the night. The manifestations are said to be the strongest in room 410, her former office which is now an elegant suite.
This former 30-room mansion turned hotel was once the largest in the region, originally completed in 1892 as the home of Charles and Kate Eisenbeis. Today, it’s said to be haunted by two ghosts- one, a former guest who was waiting for her beloved to return from war. When she heard of his demise, she jumped to her death from the hotel. The other is a monk who hung himself in the attic. Rooms 302, 304 and 306 are reportedly haunted, and in the hotel bar, drinking glasses are known to explode as well as suddenly turn upside down.
Set in the home of the Salem Witch Trials, guests of this top downtown Salem, Massachusetts hotel have reported hearing eerie sounds in the stairwell and feeling ill at ease while staying there. In a room known as the “Lower Deck,” a hotel employee who was responsible for setting up the room and arranging the tables was said to be quite startled after performing his duties and leaving the room, only to return and find it had been rearranged. The employee then refused to work any night shifts after the experience. The land on which the hotel sits was reportedly once owned by the first person who was hanged because of her love of practicing witchcraft, Bridget Bishop.
The Bell Inn Hotel in Norfolk is also known to be a hotbed of paranormal activity. The establishment has been a hostelry since it was established some six centuries ago and features cozy rooms, one of which is said to be haunted by a hooded monk, with a number of guests reporting having seen him during their stay. Staff members have claimed that they’ve heard children playing in empty rooms and keys rattling at night. Paranormal investigators who’ve visited here have noted this site as one of the most haunted in the United Kingdom.
Located across from Taipei’s famous Taipei 101 skyscraper, Grand Hyatt Taipei is a top haunted hotel. Some guests have reported seeing ghosts in the corridors of this upscale Taipei resort, while others have heard strange noises coming from unoccupied rooms. You might not even worry about ghosts with the hotel’s luxury facilities, though, which include multiple restaurants and bars, an outdoor pool and spa with whirlpools and saunas.
Two of the most famous ghost tales at the magnificent Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel involve a bellman and a bride. In the first, guests and staff members claimed that they encountered a bellhop dressed in full uniform on the ninth floor, who seemed to disappear after he was done helping guests. The ghost is believed to be that of a longtime employee who died in 1975 – he apparently promised to return to haunt the place. The other is thought to be a young bride who died on her wedding day at the hotel. Guests have reported feeling mysterious breezes around the marble stairwell where she tumbled to her death.
Toftaholm Herrgard is a 14th-century former country manor located on the banks of Lake Vidostern in Sweden and has been the home of numerous unexplained incidents. Guests have reported everything from doors and windows shutting on their own after having been left open, as well as strange, unexplained noises. The hotel is thought to be haunted by the ghost of a young peasant boy who’d fallen in love with the daughter of the wealthy baron who owned the manor. Unfortunately, due to his status as a commoner, the baron refused to allow marriage and found his daughter a husband he felt was more suitable and forced her into the marriage. The boy hung himself in Room 324 on the morning of the wedding, and it’s believed that his spirit has never left.
The 1886 Crescent Hotel is well-known as one of the most haunted hotels in America. Legend has it that many guests who checked in never checked out, including Michael, an Irish stonemason who fell to his death while building the hotel in 1885, as well as Theodora, a cancer patient who appears to be searching for her room key. Occasionally, an unknown patient wearing a white nightgown even appears at the foot of the bed in some of the luxury suites. Yet another apparition, Norman Baker, wanders around in a white suit with a cat.
The most haunted room in London is said to be Room 333 at the Langham Hotel. Opened back in 1865, it’s been visited by a number of literary greats like Oscar Wilde and Mark Twain as well as several ghosts. The most common report is of guests seeing a silver-haired man wearing Victorian attire, though he’s only made his appearances in the month of October. A German prince who jumped out of a fourth-floor window just before the start of the First World War is frequently seen in the early morning hours walking through doors, particularly the door of Room 333.
Chillingham Castle is a medieval castle dating back over 800 years that is widely regarded as one of the most haunted places in England, with hundreds of paranormal events being recorded here. There have been several accounts of odd moaning and whimpering sounds that are believed to be coming from a boy known as “Blue Boy.” It’s thought that he may have been locked behind a wall where his bones and bits of blue clothing were discovered. The ghostly sounds of a dress rustling along the stairs are said to belong to Lady Mary Berkley, who continues to search for her husband, who ran away with her sister.
The Queen Mary is often found on lists of America’s most haunted places. Once a world-class ocean liner, the Queen Mary Hotel offers unique and possibly very ghostly accommodations that cannot be found anywhere else. The First Class Swimming Pool is said to be haunted by the ghosts of two women who drowned there, one in the 1930s and the other in the 1960s. A young girl who broke her neck sliding down one of the ship’s banisters is another one of the many people who died on the ship and apparently never disembarked. Strange happenings have been reported throughout the ship, including its first-class staterooms. A tall, dark-haired man dressed in 1930s attire is said to appear occasionally. In the middle of the night, guests have reported water running on its own and lights inexplicably turning on.
The Gettysburg Hotel has a very long history that dates all the way back to 1797. At least a few times a year, guests tell of a friendly encounter with a Civil War nurse named Rachel, who wanders through the rooms as if she’s still caring for wounded soldiers. Different guests have reported similar encounters of dresser drawers being opened and clothes mysteriously being removed. Others have reported the ghost of a man that to be Union soldier James Culbertson strolling through hotel halls.
This Bisbee Grand has been open for more than 100 years, originally established to house traveling mining executives. Today, travelers enjoy elegant rooms filled with antiques and family heirlooms, along with a few resident ghosts. One is a male spirit who’s often been spotted downstairs, while a female can occasionally be seen on the upper level. She’s usually described as wearing a Victorian-style dress, carrying a tea tray, and sometimes even standing at the foot of the bed in Room 2 or 3. Sometimes, the normally silent piano begins playing a few notes on its own when all is quiet and few are around.
Looking at the striking beauty of this Jekyll Island, Georgia resort, you probably wouldn’t think that it was one of the state’s most famous haunted places. But this landmark luxury hotel is said to be the home of three different ghosts. It once housed several well-to-do Americans like J.P. Morgan, who was known for smoking his favorite cigar every morning at 5 a.m. in the annex. Some claim he still continues the habit, with cigar smoke wafting at the same time every day, more than a century after his passing. Guests also say that in the late railroad exec Samuel Spencer’s former digs, they’ve had their newspapers and other material opened up, rearranged, and scattered about – and even coffee missing from what they thought was a full mug.
The staff at 1859 Historic National Hotel and Restaurant often recommend that you just say hello if you run into their live-in ghost. Referred to as Flo, she’s said to be friendly but does occasionally cause some disturbances. Flo is sometimes seen hovering in hotel windows, but more often, she likes to clang the pots in the kitchen. Guests sometimes feel a “bone-chilling cold” in the guest rooms, even when the heat is turned up. Flo is said to have been a woman whose fiancé was shot on the premises in the 1800s and never left. On New Year’s Eve, still desperately depressed, she donned her wedding gown and sobbed uncontrollably. Ultimately, she died of heart failure, though many say it was true heartbreak.
Guests of Ballygally Castle Hotel have reported numerous strange occurrences over the years, including the feel of a ghostly presence, unexplained noises and even an eerie green mist over the castle. Isobella Shaw, the former Lady of the Castle in the early 17th century, is said to have paid frightening visits to guests just before she disappeared into the night. Lord Shaw reportedly locked her inside a tower room just after she gave birth to her son. In an attempt to escape and retrieve her child, she’s said to have fallen out of the window to her death. She may be continuing to wander the castle, searching for her lost son.
There have been dozens of reports of the ghostly figure of Seth Bullock, the original owner of the Bullock Hotel, seen in various areas of the establishment, including the restaurant and the basement. Guests and staff have felt a strong paranormal presence inside several of the rooms and the second- and third-floor hallways. Guests have sometimes even been tapped on the shoulder by unseen hands, while others have heard whistling in the hallways when no one is around. In the restaurant, plates and glasses have even been known to shake and suddenly take flight while appliances inexplicably turn on and off by themselves.
This historic hotel and city landmark was built in the late 19th century and is well known for its high-profile guests who’ve stayed in the past, like Bob Dylan and Janis Joplin. Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, who died here after a night of excessive drinking, is believed to have never left. Sex Pistols bass player Sid Vicious, who was suspected of stabbing his girlfriend Nancy to death in Room 100 and later died of a heroin overdose while awaiting trial, is said to make occasional appearances at the east elevator of the hotel. Some say Nancy’s spirit lingers here as well.