From disembodied voices to ghostly apparitions, we’ve heard many spooky details from hotel guests who have visited notoriously haunted hotels. While we haven’t had any paranormal run-ins at these spots ourselves, staff and guests have allegedly had eerie encounters that would certainly have us sleeping with one eye open. So if trick-or-treating or costume parties are a little too tame for your Halloween, consider booking a stay at one of the 13 most haunted hotels in the world. Just don’t fault the hotel if a spirit interrupts your slumber.
A 1909 building, the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park has been
reporting paranormal activity since the 1970s and has been the subject of many
paranormal investigations. Many believe owners F.O. Stanley and his wife Flora
are the more prominent ghostly guests, often seen in the Billiards Room or
making the Music Room’s piano play. In 1974, horror author Stephen King stayed
in room 217 at the hotel and based his novel The Shining on the hotel. The hotel offers nightly ghost tours, an
on-site psychic, and TVs that play the Jack Nicholson thriller on a continuous
loop. They’ve even installed a miniature tree maze in the front of the property
as a nod to the film. Guests can stay in one of several reportedly haunted
The grand, historic Bourbon Orleans Hotel originally opened
in 1827 as a ballroom for glamorous events. By the late 1800s the hotel was acquired
by the Sisters of the Holy Family to be used as a school, orphanage, medical
ward, and convent; a yellow fever epidemic struck at this time and led to the
death of many children. It’s said that the ghosts of children and nuns can be
seen and heard throughout the hotel. Additionally, several reports of a ghost
dancer in the famous Orleans Ballroom have been made. You can book a Ghosts
& Spirits Walking Tour, which stops at the Bourbon Orleans Hotel, during
your visit to New Orleans.
Housed in a historic neo-Gothic building with a reputation
for paranormal activity, the 177-room boutique Emily Morgan Hotel has a prime
downtown location across from the Alamo. At one time a medical facility, the
property housed a morgue, and psychiatric ward. Reports of unexplained noises,
apparitions, and the feeling of being touched are pretty frequent. If you want
to up your chances of a paranormal encounter, book a room on the seventh,
ninth, eleventh, or twelfth floors.
Steeped in history, stuffed with ghost lore, and teeming
with old-world grandeur, the surprisingly affordable Omni Parker House is the
place to stay for a taste of Boston’s literary and political past. The original
hotel opened in 1855 and was run by founder Harvey Parker until his death in
1884. Many guests have reported seeing him in their guest rooms, where he’s
asked about their stay. After a businessman died in room 303, there were
multiple reports of laughter and the smell of whiskey. Stephen King’s short
story 1408, which was made into a
movie with John Cusack, centers on a writer who experiences a haunted stay at a hotel; the story was based on the supernatural activity in room 303.
One of the more notable historical hotels in London, the
Langham Hotel has been around since 1865 — when it opened as the city’s first
purpose-built luxury hotel. The hotel is a frequent place of lodging for
celebrities and royals, and apparently, ghosts. Guests have reported seeing the
apparition of a German prince, a German solider, and a doctor who murdered his
wife and then killed himself on their honeymoon, among others. The spirit of Emperor
Napoleon III, who lived at the Langham during his last days in exile, has also been
said to occupy the basement. Room 333 is supposedly the most haunted of the
guest rooms and is available for booking for any brave travelers.
Originally a country estate for Philadelphia industrialist
George Allen and his family, the property was built in 1863. When the last of
Allen’s relatives, Ester Mercur, passed away, her husband sold the property. It
was later bought and restored to its former glory, utilizing many of the
original architectural elements and heirlooms. It’s said that Ester, Allen’s
niece, can often be seen throughout the property — particularly in the
kitchen. Staff will tell guests all the ghost stories associated with the hotel
First built in the late 18th century, and named after
naturalist and writer John James Audubon — who lived in one of the cottages in
the first half of the 19th century — the Audubon Cottages has managed to stand
the test of time with thorough renovations and continuous maintenance. Like
many historic properties, it’s said to have a haunted history. Cottage Two and
Cottage Four are supposedly the ones with frequent paranormal activity.
Disembodied voices and the feeling of being touched are supposedly common
occurrences. Cottage Four also is said to frequently host the spirit of a
Confederate soldier who ensures the radio is always playing country music. He
can also be seen in the courtyard.
Built in 1851, the charming 68-room Marshall House
accommodated Union soldiers during the Civil War — and some guests say their
spirits still walk the hallways. The oldest hotel in Savannah, it also acted as
a hospital three times – once for soldiers and twice for yellow fever epidemic
victims. During renovations, workers found human remains under the floorboards
from long ago surgeries when the ground was frozen and nothing could be buried.
In addition to seeing ghosts throughout the property, guests report hearing
children run down the halls, faucets turning on by themselves, and the rattling
Quite possibly the most famous hotel in the capital, The
Hay-Adams has hosted many a politician, including the Obamas before
inauguration. In 1884, best friends John Hay (Abraham Lincoln’s private
secretary and later a Secretary of State) and Henry Adams (the author, and
descendant of John Quincy) built their homes on the plot of land where the
hotel now sits. In 1927, nine years after Adams’ death, the houses were razed
and replaced by the hotel that stands today. The wife of Adams, Marian Hooper
Adams, committed suicide on the site in 1885 and her spirit reportedly haunts
the hotel. Guests and staff say they can hear a woman crying softly,
disembodied voices, and doors opening and closing on their own.
Built at the turn of the 20th century, the upscale Hotel Sorrento
is an iconic Seattle boutique. It’s said that the ghost of Alice B. Toklas, a
woman credited with the invention of pot brownies, can often be seen roaming
the halls and particularly around room 408. Guests have also reported their
drinks being moved at the Dunbar Room. To honor her, they have a Ms. Toklas
cocktail on the menu that includes lucid absinthe, elderflower, chamomile,
honey, and lemon juice — so you can get both a trick and a treat at the Sorrento.
The two-story Hotel Provincial — with 94 rooms in the
historic French Quarter — is a retreat into old New Orleans. Like many New
Orleans properties, it also claims to be a popular paranormal activity hub.
Like other area hotels, it also acted as a medical facility for wounded
confederate soldiers and is said to still possess their spirits. From
distressed soldiers, operating doctors, to pools of blood, guests have reported
it all. If actually staying at the property seems too spooky, it’s also a stop
on many walking ghost tours of the city.
Built in 1930, the Shoreham Hotel has echoing ceilings,
grand chandeliers, and an allegedly haunted suite. The Ghost Suite, a
two-bedroom apartment –style suite with a full kitchen, is reportedly haunted;
spirits of the original owner, his daughter, and the housekeeper supposedly
linger here. Both the housekeeper, Juliette, and the daughter, Helen, died in
the suite. Once the family was gone, reports of unexplained noises, lights
being turned on, and the feeling of someone running by, were made. Travelers
can book the suite for the chance of a paranormal encounter.
Built in 1625,
Ballygally Castle is steeped in history, some of which is sinister. The
original owner Lord James Shaw and his wife Lady Isabella lived at the castle
until Lady Shaw either fell, jumped, or was pushed to her death from the top of
the castle. She is said to be friendly, seen wandering around the castle or
knocking on doors and then disappearing.
The hotel has dedicated “The Ghost Room,” in one of the towers of the
oldest part of the castle, in her honor.
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