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11 of the most haunted hotels in the world (or are they really?)

Some hotels exist beyond the conventional culture of hospitality, enveloped in an atmosphere of mystery where otherworldly guests wander the corridors. These haunted hotels, scattered across the globe, have become legendary for their eerie tales and inexplicable occurrences that continue to captivate the imaginations of those intrigued by the paranormal.

One such infamous hotel is the Stanley Hotel, perched in the heart of the Colorado Rockies, USA. This hotel served as the inspiration for Stephen King’s horror novel, The Shining, which later became a motion picture of the same name. Across the pond in England, another hotel worthy of mention is The Langham, where the tragic tales of the past continue to send chills down the spine of its guests. 

These opulent hotels have witnessed a myriad of unexplained phenomena, including sightings of dead Hollywood stars or departed staff members serving guests, even today. Despite their spooky reputation, the most haunted hotels still function today. Tourists embrace the thrill and mystery, making bookings to experience the eerie ambience and intriguing history these places offer.

Are you a fan of the supernatural? Guess what? You can also book a spooktacular experience at these haunted hotels.

Whispers in the dark: 11 of the most haunted hotels in the world

The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel is known for being haunted by the spirits of celebs from Hollywood’s golden era. Built in 1927,  this iconic hotel, since then, has been in the news for one or the other scandalous stories or urban legends. The most famous one is the ghost of Marilyn Monroe. It is said that the spirit of the famous actress continues to make appearances in her former suite here, adding to the hotel’s haunting allure.

Montgomery Clift’s ghost is another famous Tinseltown guest who still haunts room 928, where he stayed for an extended period while filming From Here to Eternity. Guests and hotel staff have reported hearing the sound of a trumpet echoing in the room, a nod to Clift’s love for playing the instrument. Some have even claimed to see the apparition of Clift himself, pacing the hallways or looking out from the windows of his room.

How to reach

By air

Hollywood Burbank Airport is the nearest airport, 11.6 km away

(Image Credit: thehollywoodroosevelt.com)

7000 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028, United States

Built in 1865, The Langham Hotel is over 150 years old. And, it comes as no surprise that with a history spanning two centuries, it holds many haunting tales, such as the legend of the ghost of a German prince who met a tragic end by jumping to his death from the fourth floor. It is believed that his spirit still roams around in his military-style jacket.

Another story is of a doctor who murdered his wife and committed suicide during their honeymoon in room 333. Guests who have dared to stay in that room have shared unsettling tales: cold spots and flickering light as if the tormented spirits of the couple are still lingering around.

The Langham also has a tragic history involving a former butler who committed suicide by leaping from the building. Additionally, the hotel is rumoured to be haunted by the spirit of Emperor Napoleon III, a former royal resident whose ghost continues to wander the corridors.

How to reach

By air

London city airport is the nearest airport, 17.6 km away

(Image Credit: langhamhotels.com)

1c Portland Place, Regent Street, Westminster Borough, London, W1B 1JA, United Kingdom

Nestled in the heart of Banff National Park in Alberta, the iconic castle in the Rockies carries scary stories too. Its grand staircase once bore witness to a tragic incident in the 1920s when a bride met a grim fate after tripping down the stairs on her wedding day. Sounds resonating from the bridal suite and sightings of a figure draped in a flowing wedding gown are some of the chilling stories recounted by the hotel guests.

The hotel is also home to a dedicated employee, who is still working even after his death. Sam McCauley, a bellman who gave many years of service to the grand hotel, retired in 1967. As the story goes, Sam confided to his colleagues that he would return after his passing. After his demise a few years later, bewildered guests have shared encounters with a gentleman donning an old-fashioned uniform. This spectral figure has assisted guests who find themselves locked out of their rooms.

How to reach

By air

Calgary International Airport is the nearest airport, 146 km away.

(Image Credit: fairmont.com)

405 Spray Avenue, T1L 1J4 Banff, Canada

4 /11

Stanley Hotel, Colorado

Built near an ancient Native American burial ground, this infamous hotel served as the inspiration for Stephen King’s horror novel, The Shining. King said he had a horrifying nightmare during his first night at the hotel. He saw his young son being chased through the hotel’s empty corridors by a possessed fire hose.

Visitors and staff have also reported encounters with ghosts of former owners Freelan Oscar Stanley and his wife Flora wandering the hallways while phantom piano melodies and the sound of tinkling keys drift from empty rooms.

Guests, especially in room 217, have shared incidents of one spirit tidying up their belongings, tucking them into bed and even poking them with a gentle touch. The legend has it that a chambermaid named Elizabeth Wilson was injured in the very same room in an explosion in 1911.

How to reach

By air

Denver International Airport is the nearest airport, 121 km away

(Image Credit: stanleyhotel.com)

333 Wonderview Ave Estes Park, Colorado, 80517, USA

The Emily Morgan Hotel was a medical centre from 1924 to 1976, housing a crematorium, psychiatric ward, and morgue. However, when this gothic-style building was converted into a hotel in 1984, some pieces of its history refused to fade away.

The hotel’s official website has reported numerous unexplainable incidents. At midnight, a phone rings, yet silence echoes through the line. Freshly arranged pillows are found scattered on the floor. A sales manager returned to find a bathtub filled with blue water. Guests have talked about a woman in white wandering the hotel’s corridors.

People have also heard what they picture as hospital carts rolling through the corridors and a distinctive smell of antiseptic on the 14th floor.

How to reach

By air

San Antonio International Airport is the nearest airport, 12.1 km away

(Image Credit: emilymorganhotel.com)

705 East Houston Street, San Antonio, Texas 78205, USA

Since its inception in 1886, the Crescent Hotel has served as a luxury spa resort, a school for young women, a junior college and more.

In 1937, the resort’s story took a weird turn when inventor Norman G. Baker purchased the hotel and transformed it into an experimental cancer hospital. Posing as a doctor, Baker conducted experiments in the basement to ‘cure’ cancer, ultimately killing his unsuspecting patients. Eventually, Baker was jailed for mail fraud, and in the 1940s, the hospital was again turned into a hotel by its new owners.

Years after Baker’s passing in 1958, guests have claimed to see his ghost wandering the premises, wearing a two-piece suit.

If you are interested in seeing the hotel’s other resident ghosts, Michael and Theodora (the former nurse), then book the nightly ghost tours for a spooky experience.

How to reach

By air

Northwest Arkansas National Airport is the nearest airport, 80.4 km away

(Image Credit: crescent-hotel.com)

75 Prospect Avenue, Eureka Springs, AR 72632, USA

A premier hotel for over a century, this historical landmark proudly hosts professional baseball and basketball teams whenever they visit the city. However, the Pfister Hotel is now a popular destination because of its ghostly residents.

Major League Baseball (MLB) players have recounted various instances of supernatural occurrences during their stays at the hotel. Adrian Beltre, a player of the Los Angeles Dodgers, recalled moments when he heard persistent knocking echoing through the hallway and at his door, even though no one was present.

Carlos Gomez, a professional baseball player from the Minnesota Twins, said in the dead of night, he heard voices and witnessed his iPod mysteriously switch on. The device then vibrated violently, falling to the floor. Startled, he placed it back on the table, only for the eerie incident to repeat once again.

How to reach

By air

Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport is the nearest airport, 16.7 km away

(Image Credit: thepfisterhotel/Facebook)

424 East Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, 53202, USA

Hotel Chelsea has been a rest stop for legendary writers and artists like Jimi Hendrix, Mark Twain, Bob Dylan and Jim Morrison. However, the guests have experienced paranormal activity over the years.

One story is of a famous poet, Dylan Thomas. He died due to excessive drinking in 1953 while living at the hotel, and to this day, people have experienced the scent of alcohol in the hallways. He has a wooden plaque dedicated to him outside the iconic building “Dylan Thomas lived and wrote at the Chelsea Hotel and from here he sailed out to die”.

Another incident involves the terrifying death of Nancy Spungen, girlfriend of punk rock band Sex Pistols’ bassist Sid Vicious. She was found dead in room 100 with fatal stab wounds, allegedly inflicted by Sid. The musician was charged with murder but died before the trial. It is said that the tortured souls of the couple still stay at the New York hotel.

How to reach

By air

LaGuardia airport is the nearest airport, 15.6 km away

(Image Credit: hotelchelsea.com)

222 West 23rd Street, Chelsea, New York, NY 10011, USA

Upon arrival, you will be greeted with the distinctive aroma of burning wood in this castle hotel in the Scottish Highlands. The 12th-century hotel is one of the very few places you will still find stone fireplaces and original antique furniture whenever you visit. 

Tulloch Castle is famous for its many ghosts, but the most talked-about and frequently seen is Elizabeth Davidson, also known as the Green Lady. The frequent sightings of the Green Lady have led to the naming of the castle’s bar as the Green Lady Bar. 

How to reach

By air

Inverness Airport is the nearest airport, 35.1 km away

(Image Credit: bespokehotels.com)

Tulloch Castle Drive, Dingwall, Ross-Shire, IV15 9ND, United Kingdom

La Fonda on the Plaza dates back to 1607, making it one of the oldest hotels in the United States. Over the years, guests have reported many ghost sightings, including the spirit of a judge, John P. Slough, who was shot and killed in the hotel’s lobby during a dispute in 1867. People have claimed to encounter a figure resembling a man in 19th-century clothing.

In a chilling turn of events, a salesman, who was devasted by crushing financial losses in a fateful card game, killed himself. Driven to the depths of despair, he jumped and drowned in the well located right outside the gambling hall of the hotel. Visitors have reportedly seen his ghost rise from the fountain.

Some other appearances are that of a young bride who was murdered on her honeymoon.

How to reach

By air

Santa Fe Regional Airport is the nearest airport, 23.2 km away

(Image Credit: lafondasantafe.com)

100 East San Francisco Street, Santa Fe, NM 87501, USA

Built in classic British architecture, the heritage hotel was once the summer residence of the Maharaja of Mysore. The place gained popularity when Vikram Bhatt’s Raaz was filmed here. It was during the shooting of this horror film that the crew started experiencing paranormal activities.

Rumour has it that choreographer Saroj Khan and her crew stayed at the hotel and were awakened one night by the sound of furniture being moved on the floor above. When they called reception for help, nobody answered. The next day, they were shocked to learn from the receptionist that the hotel did not have a first floor at all.

How to reach

By air

Coimbatore International Airport is the nearest airport, 88 km away

By train

Mettupalayam Railway Station is the nearest railway station, 52.3 km away

By road

Bangalore is 275 km away from Ooty

(Image Credit: welcomheritagehotels.in)

Fernhill Post, Fernhill (Ooty) Nilgiris, Fern Hills, Ooty, India, 643004

Hero and feature image: Courtesy thepfisterhotel/Facebook

This story first appeared on Travel+Leisure India.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Question: Why do people visit haunted hotels?

Answer: People visit haunted hotels for thrills, excitement, and curiosity about the supernatural. The spooky atmosphere and ghost stories add to the intrigue.

Question: Are haunted hotels safe?

Answer: Yes, haunted hotels are safe for guests. The hotels prioritise guest safety.

Question: What should I do while travelling to a haunted hotel?

Answer: While traveling to a haunted hotel, maintain a sense of curiosity. Respect the hotel's history and local folklore. enjoy the ghost stories. Prioritise safety and have a fun, memorable stay.

Question: Should I travel to haunted hotels with children?

Answer: Travelling to haunted hotels with children depends on their age and comfort level with spooky experiences.

Question: Why are haunted hotels should be in an itinerary?

Answer: Haunted hotels often make it to itineraries because they offer a unique and thrilling experience. People with an interest in the supernatural, history, and excitement seek these places for an unforgettable stay.

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