Forget the haunted house. Those looking for a ghostly encounter this Halloween can get up close and personal with departed spirits in the luxury of a hotel room. Because who says you shouldn’t have room service while you’re feeling spooked? These hotels across the country allegedly have some very active poltergeist activity – so prepare for some chills and thrills on your next overnight stay.
Biltmore Coral Gables, Miami
Originally opened as a playground for the rich in 1926, the Biltmore Coral Gables is not only luxurious and elegant, but is also believed to be quite haunted. The (unlucky) 13th floor served as a speakeasy during Prohibition, when the hotel saw its first premature death: Gangster Thomas “Fatty” Walsh was shot and killed at a crowded party. Years later, the U.S. government bought the hotel and converted it into a hospital for World War II soldiers, where it saw countless more untimely passings. After being abandoned for several decades, the Biltmore re-opened in the 1980′s as a hotel, and ever since then guests have experienced unexplained noises and visions. The most chilling reports, however, come from those who get dropped off by the elevator on the 13th floor, even when that button is never pushed.
Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, Los Angeles
Marilyn Monroe (one of many celebrities to stay at the Roosevelt) posed for her first ad on the hotel’s diving board (long gone, though the pool remains). The ghost of Monroe is said to have appeared in a mirror that once hung in her poolside suite (the suite can be rented, but the mirror is no longer displayed). Montgomery Clift’s ghost apparently haunts the hotel as well, pacing back and forth on the ninth floor.
Omni Parker House, Boston
You can’t walk two feet without stumbling over some historical artifact or the site of a ghostly encounter at the Parker. With gentle prodding, guest services manager Seamus Murphy, who’s worked for the hotel for over 30 years, will regale guests with tales of the 19th-century whiskey salesman’s ghost who lives in the closet of room 303 and plants booze-soaked kisses on slumbering female guests.
Algonquin Hotel, New York City
A 181-room Midtown West landmark where The New Yorker magazine was founded, the Algonquin uses old-world style, tuxedo-clad waiters, and an in-house cat to attract quiet couples, business travelers, and the occasional Nobel laureate these days. But back in the day, it hosted members of the infamous Round Table, the 1920s’ literary group with members such as Dorothy Parker and Alexander Woollcott — and some would argue it still does. Numerous guests and staffers have reported seeing Round Table members roaming the dining room and lobby, and a psychic medium confirmed the presence of spirits in the hotel.
The Marshall House, Savannah
Opened in 1851 — and standing as the oldest hotel in Savannah — the Marshall House has had its fair share of unexplained phenomena. Also used as a hospital in between stints as a hotel, the Marshall House witnessed thousands of deaths throughout the Civil War and two yellow fever epidemics. The property was renovated and re-opened as a hotel in 1999, but old haunts lingered: Many guests report strange noises and the feeling of cold hands around their wrists, as if nurses are taking their temperatures. The hotel embraces its mysterious energy and even urges guests to take haunted walking tours of the city, where the Marshall House is one of the most popular stops along the route.
Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington D.C.
The Ghost Suite was originally occupied by the wealthy Henry Doherty — a minority shareholder of the hotel — and his wife after the hotel opened in 1930. The family’s live-in housekeeper, and later the Doherty’s adopted daughter, both died mysteriously in the suite, and allegedly haunt it to this day. Televisions and lights have apparently turned on suddenly in the middle of the night, housekeeping carts have been moved, and numerous complaints of noise from unoccupied rooms have been reported.
Jailhouse Inn, Newport
Originally built in 1772, the Jailhouse Inn occupies what used to be the old Newport County Jail. In keeping with the jail theme, the inn features interesting little artifacts and details throughout, such as iron bars over the lobby front desk, framed articles about famous criminals, and signs directing guests to “solitary” and various “cell blocks.” Stories abound of ghosts visiting the Jailhouse, so if you keep your eyes open perhaps you’ll see one too — especially if you stay on the third floor. Guests have felt cool gusts of wind when it’s hot outside and no windows are open, and others have heard whispering voices that can’t be explained.
Bourbon Orleans Hotel, New Orleans
The Bourbon Orleans in the Big Easy has a colorful history. Originally built as a ballroom and theater, the Bourbon was converted into a convent in the late 1800s, with areas of the building serving as a girls’ school, a medical ward, and an orphanage. Many guests have noted the sounds of the children and adult females throughout the hallways, including a young girl who likes to roll a ball down the hall on the sixth floor. Guests have also reported seeing ghostly visions of nuns.
The Hay-Adams, Washington, D.C.
The Hay-Adams was built in 1927, for the not-too-modest sum of $900,000, over the former homes of best friends John Hay (Abraham Lincoln’s private secretary and later a secretary of state) and Henry Adams (the author and descendant of John and John Quincy). Supposedly, the ghost of Adams’ wife, who committed suicide on this site in 1885, still walks the halls, trailed by the scent of mimosa.
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