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Looking for a creepy good time this Halloween? Sleep in a haunted hotel! If you’re looking for a spooky stay, read on to learn about the ghosts who checked in and never checked out. There are many destinations throughout America. Add a visit to your next road trip or find one near you for a weekend getaway this fall.
Hearing ghost stories about a haunted hotel and then actually booking a guest room is not for the faint of heart. Yet, during the Halloween season, thousands of ghost hunters stay at famous haunted hotels around the world. From flickering lights to faucets that turn on by themselves, the hotels on this list are reported hot spots of paranormal activity, offering guests the chance to have their own spooky experience.
Haunted Hotels in Arkansas
Crescent Hotel, Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Are you brave enough to spend the night at America’s Most Haunted Hotel? From glowing orbs to ghostly shenanigans, Arkansas’s 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa claims visitors can share rooms with “guests who checked out but never left.”
Or, if you’d prefer a good night’s sleep, you can play ghost hunter on a group tour. Regardless of whether you find a ghost, the ghoulish history of the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa will make you shudder. Can’t get enough spooky stories? Gather by the fire pit for tales of witches, monster and apparitions told by the ghost tour guides at the hotel’s outdoor Crescent Moon Theatre.
Haunted Hotels in California
Hotel Del Coronado, San Diego, California
Amber Johnson went on a ghost hunt at the Hotel del Coronado, rumored to be haunted by Kate Morgan, a young woman who checked into Hotel del Coronado in 1892—and never checked out.
Amber says, “On our ghost hunt, we used what I thought was a silly app that detected ‘movement.’ … I’m not really a believer in stuff like that but it creeped me out. The app had a sensor for ghost activity and in certain areas where the activity was high, random words came across the screen. Or at least we thought they were random until we ran some of them by the hotel’s archivist and several of the more random ones (I think there was the word monkey?) had connections to the hotel.”
A Google search for haunted Hotel del Coronado pulls up pages and pages of stories; check-in—if you dare. For Halloween, the hotel also offers ghost tours, pumpkin carving and a “Ghost Roast” with storytelling around a bonfire on the beach.
Haunted Ship – Queen Mary, Docked in Long Beach, California
How about a haunted ship? TravelingMom Catherine Parker stayed in the Queen Mary in Long Beach.
Catherine says, “The staterooms are vintage and feel more haunted. It’s known as the haunted ship and it even offers a haunted tour. I didn’t explore after dark, but my family joked about what we would do if we saw something.”
The haunted tour involves exploring some of the paranormal “hot spots” on the Queen Mary on a two-hour ship walk. Visitors can see rooms and compartments not often seen by the general public. But the ship cautions that some of the locations may be too dark and scary for younger guests.
Claremont Club and Spa, Berkley, California
The Claremont Club and Spa in Berkley, California, was originally built as a castle-style home for a wealthy family in the 19th century. After a fire destroyed it in 1901, it was rebuilt as a hotel that opened in 1915.
Legend has it that the hotel is haunted either as the result of the fire or the death of a young girl, whose apparition is often seen in Room 422.
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The Hollywood Roosevelt, Los Angeles, California
The Hollywood Roosevelt in Los Angeles, California, has hosted numerous celebrities through the years, and some of them have never left according to legend. Marilyn Monroe’s ghost appears to hotel guests in the reflection of the mirror in her old room, and the spirit of a young girl allegedly roams the hotel in search of her mother.
Haunted Hotels in Colorado
Psychics and paranormal investigators will tell you that Halloween releases a special spirited energy in the air, enticing ghosts to walk the halls of historic hotels perhaps more often than usual. These Colorado haunted hotels are guaranteed to send the chills down your spine.
The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado
“Paranormal activity is at its all-time high in October, especially at historic hotels,” according to Madame Vera, the resident psychic at The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. I sat down with Madame Vera during a visit to one of the most haunted hotels in the United States. She went on to add that perhaps that was due to people being more open to visits from the other world.
One of the first horror films I watched was The Shining—and raise your hands if that still makes you want to hide under the covers! While his visit to The Stanley Hotel inspired Stephen King to write this novel, the Hollywood movie wasn’t actually filmed at this Colorado haunted hotel. However, there are plenty of spirits roaming these haunted hallways, hotel lobby and rooms.
Real-life ghost sightings and hauntings have been recorded (and rumored) at The Stanley Hotel since as far back as 1911, just two years after its opening in 1909. The most infamous of all is Room 217 where Ms. Elizabeth Wilson, a housekeeper, was electrocuted during a lightning storm. Although she wasn’t killed, this guest room is a hotbed of paranormal activity, as are many other rooms in this haunted hotel.
Perhaps the spookiest moment of my life to date was when I dared to explore the haunted hotels of Colorado including the Stanley a few years back. I had already stayed at this haunted historic hotel, but this was the first time a ghost had visited me.
Ghost Tours at The Stanley Hotel
Night tours are already creepy, right? It’s dark, and guests are venturing into places they’ve never been. Combine that with the tour guide telling stories about past guests’ ghosts sightings, and you’ve got a recipe for a spooky Halloween.
A group of us went on one of The Stanley Hotel’s guided night ghost tours, and we used our phones and cameras to snap many photos (looking for orbs) and turned the recorder device to listen for ghosts. We also downloaded paranormal apps like EMF Meters and ghost detector radars (many free). The hotel also provided paranormal devices such as drowsing rods and other meters.
A Ghostly Visit
I admit I was at first skeptical. I’m not a believer, but I’m not necessarily an unbeliever of ghosts. Yet when I toured the concert hall next to the Stanley, I felt a definite decrease in temperature, and I felt a presence. Several of my photos also showed orbs. That night, after a calming nightcap, I returned to my room and quickly fell asleep, only to have “something” wake me up. An eerie presence and a very strong smell of roses— and this stay occurred in October.
I turned on the TV to calm me down, only to have it default to the 24-hour showing of The Shining. I quickly switched to another station, and at the advice of our guide, chanted, “You are not welcome” until I fell asleep.
The next morning when our group visited Madame Vera, she immediately said, “Someone had a visit from Mrs. Stanley (original owner of the hotel). She was worried about you and brought roses.”
I gulped and said it was me, and Madame Vera related that Mrs. Stanley looked out for the guests, especially women, when she felt like other “male ghosts” were visiting them.
The Stanley Hotel Spirited Night Tour Night Tour is 60 minutes and costs $28 per person or $25 per hotel guest. The tour has a minimum age requirement of eight years old.
The Brown Palace, Denver Colorado
Downtown Denver’s haunted hotels include the historic Brown Palace, which also offers a ghost tour. This 1892 hotel regularly has reports of lights turning off and on, carpet “crawling” under guests’ feet, and a bartender who appears to go in and out of the walls.
The Brown’s popular ghost tour highlights tales of unexplained phenomena and spirits who appear to have chosen to spend eternity at The Brown Palace. Details: Offered during the month of October, $20 per person (complimentary to hotel guests). Reservations highly recommended.
Read More: Check Out the Best Ways to Celebrate Halloween in Colorado!
Haunted Hotels in Louisiana
Cornstalk Hotel, New Orleans, Louisiana
Even people who don’t scare easily are freaked out by the Cornstalk Hotel in New Orleans’ French Quarter.
It has a long history in the French Quarter built in the 1850s (pre-Civil War era), and its owner is a true NOLA character who makes guests feel very welcome. Says one guest: “We’d sit out on the veranda and listen in to the hourly stops made by guided ghost tours, so I figured that played into what I thought I’d felt. And maybe even some of what we’d seen. The light in the bathroom would go on and off; just an electrical issue, of course—it’s an old house. The door to the sitting room would open when I knew I’d closed it. Again, it’s an old place, the foundation could be askew causing the doors to not quite fit into their frames.
The view from the veranda is gorgeous, and I love to take pictures of architecture. One of those pictures, the third in a series of six, had more than tourists and wrought iron in it. Now I know what you’re going to say: “It’s a smudge on the lens.”
But there’s no smudge in the other five photos taken before and after the “mist.” Maybe it’s a blur created by a person. You can clearly see the people in the image. The man closest isn’t running. It was October in NOLA, no fog and it wasn’t humid. Is it a ghost? I doubt it. But it’s fun to speculate.”
Haunted Hotels in Massachusetts
Lizzie Borden B&B, Fall River, Massachusetts
The Getaway Mavens have the spooky scoop on the Lizzie Borden B&B in Fall River, Mass., where you can stay in the murder room. You’ll need to be feeling brave to tour this Victorian mansion. The autopsies were done on the dining room table and replicas of the skulls are displayed there.
Though Lizzie was acquitted, the double murder of her parents, by ax, is still considered unsolved.
Liberty Hotel, Boston, Massachusetts
The Liberty Hotel has a long and storied past, according to TravelingMom Nasreen Stump. “Before opening in September of 2007, the Boston historical site served as a jail from 1851-1991. Housing notorious prisoners in its imposing granite facade, the Charles Street Jail was built in a “modern” style with large windows and soaring ceilings to provide prisoners with light and ventilation. These features remained in the jail’s makeover to a luxury hotel.”
Home to infamous prisoners such as the Boston Strangler, The Liberty Hotel is said to be haunted by its former inmates. Read more about Nasreen’s hotel experience at Liberty Hotel: Stay in a Boston Jail.
Haunted Hotels in New Mexico
La Fonda on the Plaza, Santa Fe, New Mexico
While the La Fonda on the Plaza in Santa Fe, New Mexico, may look relatively harmless by day, fans of haunted historic hotels may want to book a guest room here—or at the least take one of their ghost tours. Ghostly footsteps are heard pacing the hotel lobby and hallways, reportedly the ghost of the Honorable John P. Slough.
The judge is spending his afterlife here after a deadly altercation in the hotel lobby back in 1867. Since this hotel has been around since 1607, you can be sure there are more ghostly encounters possible at La Fonda.
Haunted Hotels in South Dakota
Hotel Alex Johnson, Rapid City, South Dakota
TravelingMom Catherine Parker reports that Hotel Alex Johnson in the Black Hills is rumored to be haunted by several ghosts. “Like a little girl that plays pranks on the employees like pushing over glasses. A jilted bride committed suicide by throwing herself out of a room on the eighth floor and she wanders the halls. I don’t have an issue with staying in haunted hotels and would love to see something wandering around.”
Haunted Hotels Around the World
Ballygally Castle, Northern Ireland
The most famous of ghosts in the Ballygally Castle is that of Lady Isabella Shaw who lived in the Castle 400 years ago.
Kathy Penney says, “Lady Shaw was put in a tower room by the Lord after safely delivering a male heir. Reports say she was either tossed from the tower window or fell trying to escape to get to her child. She is by all accounts a friendly spirit.”
Kathy continues, “You can visit the tiny tower room which is much the way it was at the time she inhabited it. We did and it was cold (well, it’s a 400-year-old castle tower room haha!). There was a strange feeling in the room but it could have been the power of suggestion. I stayed there for Christmas and it’s an amazing hotel and we never experienced anything odd.”
Even More Haunted Hotels
Ready to add more haunted hotels to your travel bucket list? Located right next to the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, The Menger Hotel and the Emily Morgan Hotel are sure to put the shivers in your timber with their ghost stories.
For a presidential haunting, the Mayflower Hotel in Washington D.C. is said to be home to the ghost of Calvin Coolidge. The Shanley Hotel in New York has so many tragedies in its history that it reportedly has too many spirits to count.
Have you checked into a haunted hotel? We want your story! Leave a comment below.