There are some uninvited guests lurking in these spooky hotels around the world. Ghostly visions of past patrons overstaying their welcome or former employees haunting the halls have been reported. Some hotels try to hush the unnerving rumors up, while others celebrate their resident spirits in their brochures. Whether you believe in paranormal phenomenon or not, it does add an element of intrigue to your stay. Here are ten of the the world’s most haunted hotels that just might keep you up at night.
1. The Stanley Hotel
If you’ve ever seen or read The Shining, this eerie Colorado hotel was former guest Stephen King’s inspiration. Built in 1907 by the founder of Stanley Steamer automobiles, the hotel doesn’t try to hide its paranormal reputation. Rather it hosts ghost tours for visitors who want to learn more about its haunting history. Apparitions of Mr. Stanley and his wife are frequently spotted passing through the lobby and billiard room, and can be heard tinkling the ivories on occasion. Sounds of giggling children are sensed running down the fourth floor corridors (perhaps those nightmarish twins!). Whispering voices and phantom footsteps have been reported, as has the sensation of hands grabbing at guests’ clothing. Room 217 is said to be visited by a deceased former housekeeper, as guests have awoken to blankets mysteriously folded by their beds (got to love a neat-freak ghost). Room 407 sometimes has the aroma of pipe tobacco, said to be from the spirit Earl of Dunraven who occupies the room. Doors opening and closing and lights switching on and off are other signs that something mysterious is going on at the Stanley, or maybe it’s just a drafty old hotel with faulty wiring.
2. Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
This grand old castle-like hotel was built by Canadian Pacific Railway over 125 years as a luxury pit-stop for train travelers exploring the Rockies. Majestic mountains may not be the most memorable part of your stay, however, as a few resident ghosts apparently inhabit these historic halls. There have been several sightings of a bride who fell to her death down a staircase after her dress caught on fire. She has been spotted dancing in the Cascade Ballroom, blazing bridal gown and all. There are also reported apparitions of a family that was murdered in room 873. The room has been boarded up and the incident hushed up, but some say they’ve seen a ghostly family wandering outside the missing room. The most frequent eerie visitor is that of Sam Macauley, a longtime bellman who died in 1976, promising to come back and haunt his beloved hotel. Guests have reportedly been assisted by a old Scottish employee in a retro uniform. Oddly opening elevator doors and flickering lights are often attributed to Sam. What’s truly scary, however, is the thought of spending one’s afterlife continuing to slog away at a job like this!
3. Queen Mary
The former luxury ocean liner has been docked and run as a floating hotel in Long Beach, California since the 1970’s. It’s a glorious place to stay, but be prepared for a ghostly encounter or two as it is considered one of the most haunted hotels in the U.S. Two women drowned in the first class swimming pool in the 1930’s and 1960’s, and it is said their spirits continue to be a presence today. A shadowy woman white has been seen in the Queen’s Salon and a well-dressed gentleman in old-fashioned duds has made more than one appearance in the first class suites. Two non-existent children have been heard giggling near a storage room. If that’s not enough for you, Cabin B340 is no longer open to guests apparently because of a plethora of paranormal sightings in and around there.
4. Langham Hotel
This stylish West End London hotel opened its doors in 1865 and was a favorite haunt of notable literarti including Oscar Wilde, George Orwell, Mark Twain and Arthur Conan Doyle. Apparently its also a haunt of several supernatural guests who refuse to check out. A phantom man in Victorian garb often appears in October, for some strange reason, and a vision of a German prince who jumped to his death has been spotted in full military regalia. The BBC has even published reports of Napolean III roaming the halls. Room 333 is apparently where most of these ghost guests reside, so you may want to request a different room.
5. Roosevelt Hotel
This Hollywood hotspot opened its doors in 1927 and has hosted countless rich, famous and paranormal patrons ever since. Among their ghostly guests are Marilyn Monroe, who has been spotted in the mirror of room 229, and Montgomery Clift, who has been heard playing his trumpet in room 928. Carole Lombard has made a few appearances on the 12th floor, where she and her husband Clark Gable used to stay. Most chilling, however, is the reported cold spot in the hotel’s Blossom Ballroom, site of the first Academy Awards ceremony, that registers 10 degrees colder than the room around it.
6. Hotel del Coronado
This luxury resort near San Diego was built in 1888 and is rumored to be where Wallis Simpson first caught the eye of King Edward VIII. Beyond hosting a who’s who of wealthy, famous and presidential guests throughout the year, there is one guest in particular who has overstayed her booking. A young woman named Kate Morgan mysteriously met her death in a hotel stairway back in 1892, an unsolved murder case to this day. Since then, unusual smokey sightings and unexplained activities such as flickering lights, strange noises and spontaneously turning on TV’s have been reported.
7. Hotel Berchielli
This mid-20th century Florence hotel has had an impressive guest list of politicians, artists and musicians throughout the years. However, a handful of ghostly guests have left an even stronger impression. Reportedly, a specter of a woman knitting in a chair has been spotted on numerous occasions, as has a small child skipping down the hotel hall. Inexplicable icy wafts of air are sometime felt by current guests. Is it just the wind or something supernatural?
8. Myrtles Plantation
This charming converted Louisiana plantation house operates as a bed and breakfast, but you might get more than just a morning meal with your overnight stay. Legend has it the Antebellum property was built over the site of a Tunica Indian burial ground, and the spirits underneath are sometimes restless. Over a dozen different ghosts have been spotted, but the most famous one is that of Chloe, a former slave and mistress who poisoned her boss and his family. She was hanged for her crime and is now said to be haunting the house along with the deceased children. Sweet dreams!
9. The Russell Hotel
This old colonial hotel flanks Sydney’s Circular Quay, and was once the site of a hospital that tended to small pox and bubonic plague patients. However, it’s not past patients who haunt the halls but an old sailor guest who doesn’t seem to want to leave. There have been several reports of people waking up to a dark looming presence watching over the bed in Room 8. Phantom sailors in uniform have been spotted in the corridors and doors have mysteriously opened and closed.
10. Hotel Chelsea
This landmark bohemian New York residence/hotel circa 1884 has a storied history of high profile guests, some of whom never really checked out. Hard-drinking Welsh poet Dylan Thomas had his last bender and slipped into a fatal coma here. Legend has it he still parties in the hallways. The essence of playwrite Eugene O’Neill and novelist Thomas Wolfe are said to inhabit the Chelsea’s eighth floor. This hotel was also where Sex Pistol’s Sid Vicious allegedly stabbed his girlfriend Nancy Spungen, and later died himself of a heroine overdose before he could stand trial. Sid’s spirit has been spotted lingering around the hotel’s east elevator. The Chelsea is currently under renovations but will reopen to guests willing to share space with these spirits in 2015.