America’s most haunted hotels too scary to stay in


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Slide 1 of 51: Get into the Halloween spirit with a stay at one of America’s most haunted hotels, where ghosts, ghouls and bumps in the night come as standard. From grand rural resorts to historic city-center hotels, these ancient crash-pads are sure to be an absolute scream...
Slide 2 of 51: Now a luxury floating hotel and attraction, in her past life the Queen Mary entertained royalty, VIPs and celebrities. While in service as a transatlantic liner, equipped with grand ballrooms, cocktail bars and swimming pools, she carried over two million passengers. Nowadays upwards of 50 million flock aboard – for fine dining, special events and… paranormal activity.
Slide 3 of 51: Voted one of the Top 10 Most Haunted Places in America by Time magazine, the Queen Mary revels in its ghostly guests. Haunted history tours guide you around the ship’s labyrinthine layout, looking out for apparitions including an engineer in the old boiler room and a mysterious "lady in white".
Slide 4 of 51: This grand plantation house turned B&B dates from 1796 and features aged oak trees shading the grounds, a verandah with delicate decorative ironwork plus a few centuries’ worth of ghosts. Apparently built on an ancient Native American burial ground and scene of no fewer than 10 murders, it’s no wonder various spirits are still lurking about.
Slide 5 of 51: An outwardly peaceful and pleasant spot, the Myrtles Plantation is said to be home to 12 ghosts. One of these, a slave girl named Chloe, has even appeared in a photograph. Her fellow phantoms include two murdered children and a Native American woman, not to mention eerie footsteps and stubborn blood stains.
Slide 6 of 51: Right on the Walk of Fame, the Hollywood Hotel Roosevelt is an A-list retreat, for both the living and the dead. Marilyn Monroe holed up here for two years and apparently still roams around – her spirit twirls across the ballroom or is sometimes glimpsed in a mirror that used to hang in her favorite room.
Slide 7 of 51: Other ghostly residents include Montgomery Clift, who can be heard practising his lines in his old room. This luxurious hotel is certainly steeped in Hollywood history and glamor. Aside from the erstwhile guests, the building and palm-bordered swimming pool are designated Historic-Cultural Monuments. Take a dip and marvel at David Hockney’s mural decorating the depths of the pool.
Slide 8 of 51: Looming over a former copper mining town, the Jerome Grand Hotel is renowned for its supernatural residents. No doubt this has something to do with the building’s previous incarnation as a hospital and Jerome’s past reputation as the "wickedest town in the west". Today you’ll find a bustling, artistic town with jaw-dropping views and the Verde Valley’s outstanding wineries nearby.
Slide 9 of 51: The hospital was closed in 1950 and mining operations ceased in Jerome a few years later. For many years, the building stood vacant, allowing rumor and superstition to gain ground. As soon as the hotel opened for business in 1996, initially with only six rooms, there were reports of strange activity. Guests fill the visitor books with tales of unexplained sights, sounds and smells, especially emanating from the third floor, site of the old operating theater.
Slide 10 of 51: A stalwart of the French Quarter, the deluxe Hotel Monteleone has been run by five generations of the same family since it opened in 1886. That’s plenty of time to build up loyal customers and lingering former guests. Frequent reports of paranormal activity led to a visit by the International Society of Paranormal Research in 2003. They detected all sorts of ghostly goings on, particularly on the 14th floor (actually the 13th, but the hotel skips that number following superstitious tradition).
Slide 11 of 51: From the domestic – a maid who continues her housekeeping duties long after her demise – to the tragic – a toddler boy, Maurice, who died of a fever, there are plenty of spooky anecdotes. Exchange ghost stories over cocktails at the glitzy Carousel bar & lounge, the city’s only revolving bar. And once you've scared yourself silly, find out what else to do in the Big Easy with our guide.
Slide 12 of 51: On a cobbled street corner in Fell’s Point, once a major shipbuilding area and Baltimore’s oldest waterfront community, the Admiral Fell Inn is a welcoming hotel made up of seven adjoining buildings. One of these buildings was an early 20th-century boarding house for sailors, some of whom still seem to be hanging around today.
Slide 13 of 51: Ghostly sailors often appear to guests. On one occasion, the hotel was evacuated but a raucous party could be heard inside the empty building (at least these are ghosts who know how to have a good time). One of the most haunted hotels in Maryland, and indeed the whole of the US, the Admiral Fell Inn plays along by running regular ghost tours.
Slide 14 of 51: Horror film fan? A night at The Stanley in mountainous northern Colorado should be top of your list. That’s all it took to inspire Stephen King to pen his classic horror novel, The Shining. The now-legendary hotel attracts hordes of film buffs and ghost hunters but its spooky reputation pre-dates the book and spine-chilling film.
Slide 15 of 51: The hotel’s original owner and his wife, Flora, are often seen drifting through the lobby. Room 217, where King and his wife stayed, is said to be haunted by a housekeeper who perished on the hotel grounds. Join one of the hotel’s paranormal investigation tours for the full story, or endure back-to-back screenings of the Kubrick film in your room.
Slide 16 of 51: For almost a century, the elegant Mayflower has played host to the great and the good of Washington DC. A short walk from the White House, the hotel has long been the venue for grand balls, lavish lunches and distinguished international guests. President Harry Truman and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover were loyal patrons of the restaurant.
Slide 17 of 51: With Calvin Coolidge’s presidency, the Mayflower kicked off a tradition of inaugural balls, but sadly this first event in January 1925 was tinged with tragedy. Grieving the untimely death of his 16-year-old son, Coolidge chose not to attend. Now, on the anniversary of that night, the lights in the Grand Ballroom are said to flicker at 10pm – just the moment when guests would have arrived. A lift also halts at the eighth floor, refusing to move until 10.15pm, when Coolidge would have made his entrance.
Slide 18 of 51: Known as America’s most haunted hotel, the 1886 Crescent in the Ozark Mountains has a grisly and mind-boggling history. The imposing exterior might strike you as somewhat institutional – in fact, the building opened as a stately hotel and later served as a girls’ school and then a sham hospital for unfortunate cancer patients. Norman Baker, a former magician with a penchant for the color purple and zero medical training, opened Baker’s Cancer Curing Hospital in 1937.
Slide 19 of 51: Many of the poor patients perished under Baker’s pseudo-care and phantoms now roam the rooms and corridors. But the ghostly residents also hail from further back as a construction worker killed during the original building works haunts room 218. Today, an intriguing archive is kept on the fourth floor and regular ghost tours descend to the basement – once the site of the then hospital's morgue.
Slide 20 of 51: Sitting pretty astride the Eastern Continental Divide, there seems to be strange forces at work at the historic Green Park Inn. Apparitions and electronic interference have troubled some visitors – the inn keeps a Ghost Log in the lobby for guests to flick through, or even add to.
Slide 21 of 51: It’s said that Laura Green, daughter of the hotel’s founding family, haunts room 318 and wanders around the third floor. She was apparently jilted at the altar and subsequently took her own life. Some people claim to have seen her would-be groom smoking – the lingering scent of pipe smoke gives him away. The Green Park Inn regularly gets into the spirit with its popular Murder Mystery Weekends.
Slide 22 of 51: High in the Rocky Mountains and once a booming gold mining center, nowadays Virginia City is home to only a couple of hundred people and seems frozen in time. It’s a wonderfully well-preserved example of a typical mining camp of the American West, and is considered an eerie ghost town – for more reasons than one.
Slide 23 of 51: The Fairweather Inn was named after one of the men who discovered gold in the area, Bill Fairweather. This christening came in the 1940s but an inn has stood on this site since the 1800s. Rather than miners, bandits or vigilantes, it’s children who choose to haunt this small hotel. They seem especially drawn to any guests accompanied by their own offspring, and torment with whispers, hurried footsteps and doors opening and closing.
Slide 24 of 51: While the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park served as inspiration for Stephen King’s The Shining, the 1980 film adaptation used this snow-bound lodge as the exterior of the Overlook Hotel. A striking ski resort and mountain retreat, 6,000 feet up on the slopes of Mt Hood, it’s a place to blow the cobwebs away.
Slide 25 of 51: The film’s interior scenes were all shot back in the UK, at Elstree Studios, and there’s little to suggest Timberline Lodge itself is haunted. But who needs evidence of paranormal activity when chilling scenes from the movie replay in your head? To really test your mettle, book a stay in room 217. Director Stanley Kubrick was asked not to feature this room (named in the book) for fear of deterring future guests, so a fictional room 237 was depicted instead.
Slide 26 of 51: A swish member of the DoubleTree by Hilton family and part of the Alamo Plaza Historic District, the Emily Morgan has only been operating as a hotel since 1984. The Gothic Revival building’s history stretches further back though – the gargoyles clinging to its side provide clues to its eventful past as a Medical Arts Building. Each one depicts a medical ailment, from toothache to stomach cramp.
Slide 27 of 51: The first skyscraper west of the Mississippi when it opened, the Emily Morgan housed a hospital, doctors’ offices and a psychiatric ward. Not to mention a morgue and a crematorium. There’s no doubt the grim reaper must have been a frequent visitor. Today’s guests report strange sights and sounds and even poltergeist activity, particularly on the top floor – the former site of the crematorium.
Slide 28 of 51: Guido Pfister didn’t live to see his grand vision for a luxurious hotel materialize. His son, Charles, made up for that – he oversaw the Pfister Hotel's completion in 1893, managing a lavish design and the £1.2 million ($1.5m) spend. Today, Charles keeps tabs on this ‘Grand Hotel of the West’ in ghostly form, often seen wandering around the building. Perhaps he’s simply dropping in on the hotel’s world-class collection of Victorian art, amassed by him and his father.
Slide 29 of 51: The Pfister attracts its fair share of celebrities and dignitaries but even Major League Baseball teams have been put off by the tales of paranormal encounters. It seems it’s not just Charles roaming the corridors. Objects moving, TV sets playing up, unsettling bumps in the night – something’s certainly afoot.
Slide 30 of 51: Visit the Hotel Chelsea for a higher caliber of supernatural sightings. With an A-list guestbook including Bob Dylan, Andy Warhol, Jimi Hendrix, Leonard Cohen and Tennessee Williams, the hotel is something of an NYC landmark. Built in the 1880s, the Chelsea Hotel became famous as the place to get the creative juices flowing – the lobby is full of artworks donated by previous guests.
Slide 31 of 51: Fame and notoriety come not just from celebrity residents (and an ongoing redevelopment saga). There are unsolved mysteries, too. Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious was suspected of murdering his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen, who bled to death in their room. Vicious himself died of a drug overdose while on bail. Other spine-tingling tales include the specter of a Titanic survivor, Mary. With such an intriguing and macaber history, it’s no wonder that ghost sightings are commonplace. For less spooky goings-on in the Big Apple why not check out our city guide?
Slide 32 of 51: This monumental New England retreat is a favorite for getting away from it all, but you could find yourself sharing a room with an unexpected guest. It’s rumored that Carolyn Stickney, wife of the resort’s original owner, has taken up long-term residence. Joseph Stickney conceived the hotel with his beloved wife in mind, providing her with a private dining room and indoor pool.
Slide 33 of 51: Look out for an elegant figure in Victorian dress – nicknamed the Princess after her later marriage to a French prince – and listen out for light knocks at the door. Carolyn has a habit of slipping into guests’ rooms, helping herself to their belongings and then placing them back exactly where she found them. Playful phantom or unnerving apparition? Plump for room 314, complete with Carolyn’s four-poster maple wood bed, and decide for yourself.
Slide 34 of 51: The old-world charm of Charleston is exemplified in the romantic Battery Carriage House, set in mature gardens with seven cozy rooms, each with a private entrance. Perhaps that makes ethereal comings and goings all the more easy. For as well as being charming, the Battery Carriage House is most likely haunted.
Slide 35 of 51: In a city that so effectively conjures up a bygone era, it should come as no surprise that past and present collide. Characters from yesteryear glimpsed at this B&B include a threatening headless torso in room 8, a benign gentleman ghost in room 10, and a glowing entity in room 3.
Slide 36 of 51: Notorious for its deadly witch hunts, Salem will always have its dark side. Gallow Hills, where 19 residents accused of witchcraft were executed, is reputed to be haunted. Ghost hunters will find many other locations here with claims of paranormal activity – and not just supposed witches – including the Cinema Salem. Another renowned site is the 93-year-old Hawthorne Hotel.
Slide 37 of 51: One of the country’s most haunted hotels, the Hawthorne seems to be beset by all manner of phantoms. From weeping children to pacing spirits and taps running of their own accord, there’s plenty to keep you up all night. As if to substantiate the claims, the popular television show Bewitched filmed at the hotel back in 1970. Today, the Hawthorne cashes in with huge, sell-out Halloween parties.
Slide 38 of 51: On the site of Santa Fe’s first inn (or fonda), established when the town was founded by Spaniards in 1607, La Fonda has witnessed the evolution of Santa Fe from Spanish colony to thriving state capital. With carved beams, stained glass and terracotta tiles, it’s a step up from your average chain hotel, and only steps away from the historic Santa Fe Plaza.
Slide 39 of 51: Memorable guests over the years include John P. Slough, Chief Justice of the Territorial Supreme Court, who was shot dead in the lobby in 1867 and lingers to this day. Another harrowing episode involved a salesman who took his own life by plunging into the hotel well – now beneath the on-site La Plazuela restaurant. His ghost is sometimes seen seeming to fall through the restaurant floor.
Slide 40 of 51: A landmark of downtown Austin for more than a century, despite changing hands countless times, the Driskill is a sumptuous hotel with a multitude of ghostly guests. Staff will even provide a list to assist your ghost-hunting. Jesse Driskill, a cattle baron and businessman, founded the hotel in 1886 but was forced to sell up two years later. His cigar-smoking spirit is said to haunt the place – and no wonder, he shelled out $400,000 (£300k), approximately $92 million (£69.9m) today, on his grand hotel.
Slide 41 of 51: Only a year after opening, a young girl chasing a ball fell down the main staircase to her death. Some guests claim to hear the thuds of a bouncing ball and a child’s laughter. Room 525 is particularly action-packed: apparently two recent brides committed suicide here, exactly 20 years apart. Other mysterious incidents include moving furniture, guests shoved out of their beds and possessions hidden in this atmospherically-decorated hotel with stained glass and wood-paneling.
Slide 42 of 51: Adrift in the straits between Lake Huron and Lake Michigan, Mackinac Island is one Michigan’s top tourist destinations. With a tumultuous history, it’s also one of the state’s most haunted places. Once home to the Odawa people, the island’s population was forced out as Europeans arrived, and it was later the scene of bloody battles.
Slide 43 of 51: The huge Grand Hotel has been used as a film location, most notably for Somewhere in Time, starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour. There’s ample drama when the cameras aren’t rolling, though, with a steady supply of ghosts and ghouls. It’s said that construction workers uncovered human remains when digging the hotel’s foundations and an amorphous black mass with blazing red eyes lurks around the building. It's not the only historic site to see in the area, find out more with our guide to Lake Michigan.
Slide 44 of 51: A grandiose hotel named after the German brothers who founded it, the Seelbach Hilton has entertained many prominent guests since it opened in 1905. The Louisville hotel was a favorite of F. Scott Fitzgerald, who featured a fictional version (The Mulbach) in The Great Gatsby. But it’s not only associated with literary legends. The ghostly Lady in Blue has become something of a legend in her own right.
Slide 45 of 51: In 1936 – the story goes – Patricia Wilson was waiting for her husband at the hotel. He died in a car crash en route and the devastated Wilson threw herself down the lift shaft, falling 10 floors and dying instantly. She has haunted the hotel ever since, recognized by her distinctive blue dress.
Slide 46 of 51: Another grande-dame of the hotel scene, the Congress, as it’s known, has an illustrious history tied in with the development of the Windy City. It was opened in 1893 to help meet the demand from visitors arriving for the Chicago World’s Fair. As well as suites and rooms, the hotel has lavish banquet halls, the Gold Room and the Florentine Room, both used for weddings and special events.
Slide 47 of 51: Party guests should keep their wits about them. Rumor has it that during the construction of the Gold Room, a worker was trapped behind a wall and suffocated beneath a layer of plaster. Today, his hand appears to reach out through the wall to surprise guests collecting their coats from the cloakroom. Another ghostly resident is crime king Al Capone, who had a suite on the eighth floor.
Slide 48 of 51: Coral Gables, a planned suburb of Miami known as ‘the City Beautiful’, was a magnet for the rich and famous. With its hand-painted frescoes, tropical gardens, award-winning restaurant and golf course, Coral Gables' Biltmore Hotel has always attracted a high-profile clientele. Judy Garland, Bing Crosby, the Roosevelts and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor are all known to have stayed at the hotel, which opened in 1926.
Slide 49 of 51: The five-star hotel closed its doors during World War II and was used as a military hospital until 1968. After major renovations, the Biltmore reopened as a hotel in the late 1980s. It’s alleged that ghosts of the soldiers who died within its walls haunt the hotel today. They’re accompanied by other apparitions, including gangster Fatty Walsh who was shot here in 1929.
Slide 50 of 51: Just across the road from Boston’s oldest graveyard, that of King’s Chapel, and in operation since 1855, Omni Parker House would seem a likely source of some good ghost stories. And it's not only its age and location – Charles Dickens stayed here as part of his sold-out American tour and supposedly practised reading A Christmas Carol in his room. Today it’s Dickens’ ghost, rather than the Ghost of Christmas Past, that is purported to haunt the hotel.
Slide 51 of 51: Many guests have also claimed to have seen the Omni Parker House’s original owner, Harvey Parker, who died in 1884. Ever the attentive proprietor, apparently he drifts around, inspecting the rooms and asking guests about their stay. As he seems to be so fastidious, it must be another ghost which is responsible for the erratically stopping elevators. For more spine-chilling stays take a look at our feature showcasing haunted hotels around the world too.

Spooky stays around the States

Get into the Halloween spirit with a stay at one of America’s most haunted hotels, where ghosts, ghouls and bumps in the night come as standard. From grand rural resorts to historic city-center hotels, these ancient crash-pads are sure to be an absolute scream…

RMS Queen Mary, Long Beach, California

Now a luxury floating hotel and attraction, in her past life the Queen Mary entertained royalty, VIPs and celebrities. While in service as a transatlantic liner, equipped with grand ballrooms, cocktail bars and swimming pools, she carried over two million passengers. Nowadays upwards of 50 million flock aboard – for fine dining, special events and… paranormal activity.

RMS Queen Mary, Long Beach, California

Voted one of the Top 10 Most Haunted Places in America by Time magazine, the Queen Mary revels in its ghostly guests. Haunted history tours guide you around the ship’s labyrinthine layout, looking out for apparitions including an engineer in the old boiler room and a mysterious “lady in white”.

Myrtles Plantation, St Francisville, Louisiana

This grand plantation house turned B&B dates from 1796 and features aged oak trees shading the grounds, a verandah with delicate decorative ironwork plus a few centuries’ worth of ghosts. Apparently built on an ancient Native American burial ground and scene of no fewer than 10 murders, it’s no wonder various spirits are still lurking about.

Myrtles Plantation, St Francisville, Louisiana

Hollywood Hotel Roosevelt, Los Angeles, California

Right on the Walk of Fame, the Hollywood Hotel Roosevelt is an A-list retreat, for both the living and the dead. Marilyn Monroe holed up here for two years and apparently still roams around – her spirit twirls across the ballroom or is sometimes glimpsed in a mirror that used to hang in her favorite room.

Hollywood Hotel Roosevelt, Los Angeles, California

Jerome Grand Hotel, Arizona

Looming over a former copper mining town, the Jerome Grand Hotel is renowned for its supernatural residents. No doubt this has something to do with the building’s previous incarnation as a hospital and Jerome’s past reputation as the “wickedest town in the west”. Today you’ll find a bustling, artistic town with jaw-dropping views and the Verde Valley’s outstanding wineries nearby.

Jerome Grand Hotel, Arizona

Hotel Monteleone, New Orleans, Louisiana

A stalwart of the French Quarter, the deluxe Hotel Monteleone has been run by five generations of the same family since it opened in 1886. That’s plenty of time to build up loyal customers and lingering former guests. Frequent reports of paranormal activity led to a visit by the International Society of Paranormal Research in 2003. They detected all sorts of ghostly goings on, particularly on the 14th floor (actually the 13th, but the hotel skips that number following superstitious tradition).

Hotel Monteleone, New Orleans, Louisiana

From the domestic – a maid who continues her housekeeping duties long after her demise – to the tragic – a toddler boy, Maurice, who died of a fever, there are plenty of spooky anecdotes. Exchange ghost stories over cocktails at the glitzy Carousel bar & lounge, the city’s only revolving bar. And once you’ve scared yourself silly, find out what else to do in the Big Easy with our guide.

Admiral Fell Inn, Baltimore, Maryland

On a cobbled street corner in Fell’s Point, once a major shipbuilding area and Baltimore’s oldest waterfront community, the Admiral Fell Inn is a welcoming hotel made up of seven adjoining buildings. One of these buildings was an early 20th-century boarding house for sailors, some of whom still seem to be hanging around today.

Admiral Fell Inn, Baltimore, Maryland

Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado

Horror film fan? A night at The Stanley in mountainous northern Colorado should be top of your list. That’s all it took to inspire Stephen King to pen his classic horror novel, The Shining. The now-legendary hotel attracts hordes of film buffs and ghost hunters but its spooky reputation pre-dates the book and spine-chilling film.

Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado

Mayflower Hotel, Washington DC

For almost a century, the elegant Mayflower has played host to the great and the good of Washington DC. A short walk from the White House, the hotel has long been the venue for grand balls, lavish lunches and distinguished international guests. President Harry Truman and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover were loyal patrons of the restaurant.

Mayflower Hotel, Washington DC

With Calvin Coolidge’s presidency, the Mayflower kicked off a tradition of inaugural balls, but sadly this first event in January 1925 was tinged with tragedy. Grieving the untimely death of his 16-year-old son, Coolidge chose not to attend. Now, on the anniversary of that night, the lights in the Grand Ballroom are said to flicker at 10pm – just the moment when guests would have arrived. A lift also halts at the eighth floor, refusing to move until 10.15pm, when Coolidge would have made his entrance.

1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa, Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Known as America’s most haunted hotel, the 1886 Crescent in the Ozark Mountains has a grisly and mind-boggling history. The imposing exterior might strike you as somewhat institutional – in fact, the building opened as a stately hotel and later served as a girls’ school and then a sham hospital for unfortunate cancer patients. Norman Baker, a former magician with a penchant for the color purple and zero medical training, opened Baker’s Cancer Curing Hospital in 1937.

1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa, Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Green Park Inn, Blowing Rock, North Carolina

Sitting pretty astride the Eastern Continental Divide, there seems to be strange forces at work at the historic Green Park Inn. Apparitions and electronic interference have troubled some visitors – the inn keeps a Ghost Log in the lobby for guests to flick through, or even add to.

Green Park Inn, Blowing Rock, North Carolina

Fairweather Inn, Virginia City, Montana

High in the Rocky Mountains and once a booming gold mining center, nowadays Virginia City is home to only a couple of hundred people and seems frozen in time. It’s a wonderfully well-preserved example of a typical mining camp of the American West, and is considered an eerie ghost town – for more reasons than one.

Fairweather Inn, Virginia City, Montana

The Fairweather Inn was named after one of the men who discovered gold in the area, Bill Fairweather. This christening came in the 1940s but an inn has stood on this site since the 1800s. Rather than miners, bandits or vigilantes, it’s children who choose to haunt this small hotel. They seem especially drawn to any guests accompanied by their own offspring, and torment with whispers, hurried footsteps and doors opening and closing.

Timberline Lodge, Mt Hood, Oregon

While the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park served as inspiration for Stephen King’s The Shining, the 1980 film adaptation used this snow-bound lodge as the exterior of the Overlook Hotel. A striking ski resort and mountain retreat, 6,000 feet up on the slopes of Mt Hood, it’s a place to blow the cobwebs away.

Timberline Lodge, Mt Hood, Oregon

The film’s interior scenes were all shot back in the UK, at Elstree Studios, and there’s little to suggest Timberline Lodge itself is haunted. But who needs evidence of paranormal activity when chilling scenes from the movie replay in your head? To really test your mettle, book a stay in room 217. Director Stanley Kubrick was asked not to feature this room (named in the book) for fear of deterring future guests, so a fictional room 237 was depicted instead.

Emily Morgan Hotel, San Antonio, Texas

A swish member of the DoubleTree by Hilton family and part of the Alamo Plaza Historic District, the Emily Morgan has only been operating as a hotel since 1984. The Gothic Revival building’s history stretches further back though – the gargoyles clinging to its side provide clues to its eventful past as a Medical Arts Building. Each one depicts a medical ailment, from toothache to stomach cramp.

Emily Morgan Hotel, San Antonio, Texas

Pfister Hotel, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Guido Pfister didn’t live to see his grand vision for a luxurious hotel materialize. His son, Charles, made up for that – he oversaw the Pfister Hotel’s completion in 1893, managing a lavish design and the £1.2 million ($1.5m) spend. Today, Charles keeps tabs on this ‘Grand Hotel of the West’ in ghostly form, often seen wandering around the building. Perhaps he’s simply dropping in on the hotel’s world-class collection of Victorian art, amassed by him and his father.

Pfister Hotel, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Hotel Chelsea, New York City

Hotel Chelsea, New York City

Fame and notoriety come not just from celebrity residents (and an ongoing redevelopment saga). There are unsolved mysteries, too. Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious was suspected of murdering his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen, who bled to death in their room. Vicious himself died of a drug overdose while on bail. Other spine-tingling tales include the specter of a Titanic survivor, Mary. With such an intriguing and macaber history, it’s no wonder that ghost sightings are commonplace. For less spooky goings-on in the Big Apple why not check out our city guide?

Omni Mount Washington, Bretton Woods, New Hampshire

This monumental New England retreat is a favorite for getting away from it all, but you could find yourself sharing a room with an unexpected guest. It’s rumored that Carolyn Stickney, wife of the resort’s original owner, has taken up long-term residence. Joseph Stickney conceived the hotel with his beloved wife in mind, providing her with a private dining room and indoor pool.

Omni Mount Washington, Bretton Woods, New Hampshire

Battery Carriage House, Charleston, South Carolina

The old-world charm of Charleston is exemplified in the romantic Battery Carriage House, set in mature gardens with seven cozy rooms, each with a private entrance. Perhaps that makes ethereal comings and goings all the more easy. For as well as being charming, the Battery Carriage House is most likely haunted.

Battery Carriage House, Charleston, South Carolina

Hawthorne Hotel, Salem, Massachusetts

Notorious for its deadly witch hunts, Salem will always have its dark side. Gallow Hills, where 19 residents accused of witchcraft were executed, is reputed to be haunted. Ghost hunters will find many other locations here with claims of paranormal activity – and not just supposed witches – including the Cinema Salem. Another renowned site is the 93-year-old Hawthorne Hotel.

Hawthorne Hotel, Salem, Massachusetts

One of the country’s most haunted hotels, the Hawthorne seems to be beset by all manner of phantoms. From weeping children to pacing spirits and taps running of their own accord, there’s plenty to keep you up all night. As if to substantiate the claims, the popular television show Bewitched filmed at the hotel back in 1970. Today, the Hawthorne cashes in with huge, sell-out Halloween parties.

La Fonda on the Plaza, Santa Fe, New Mexico

On the site of Santa Fe’s first inn (or fonda), established when the town was founded by Spaniards in 1607, La Fonda has witnessed the evolution of Santa Fe from Spanish colony to thriving state capital. With carved beams, stained glass and terracotta tiles, it’s a step up from your average chain hotel, and only steps away from the historic Santa Fe Plaza.

La Fonda on the Plaza, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Driskill Hotel, Austin, Texas

A landmark of downtown Austin for more than a century, despite changing hands countless times, the Driskill is a sumptuous hotel with a multitude of ghostly guests. Staff will even provide a list to assist your ghost-hunting. Jesse Driskill, a cattle baron and businessman, founded the hotel in 1886 but was forced to sell up two years later. His cigar-smoking spirit is said to haunt the place – and no wonder, he shelled out $400,000 (£300k), approximately $92 million (£69.9m) today, on his grand hotel.

Driskill Hotel, Austin, Texas

Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, Michigan

Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, Michigan

The huge Grand Hotel has been used as a film location, most notably for Somewhere in Time, starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour. There’s ample drama when the cameras aren’t rolling, though, with a steady supply of ghosts and ghouls. It’s said that construction workers uncovered human remains when digging the hotel’s foundations and an amorphous black mass with blazing red eyes lurks around the building. It’s not the only historic site to see in the area, find out more with our guide to Lake Michigan.

Seelbach Hilton, Louisville, Kentucky

A grandiose hotel named after the German brothers who founded it, the Seelbach Hilton has entertained many prominent guests since it opened in 1905. The Louisville hotel was a favorite of F. Scott Fitzgerald, who featured a fictional version (The Mulbach) in The Great Gatsby. But it’s not only associated with literary legends. The ghostly Lady in Blue has become something of a legend in her own right.

Seelbach Hilton, Louisville, Kentucky

Congress Plaza Hotel, Chicago, Illinois

Another grande-dame of the hotel scene, the Congress, as it’s known, has an illustrious history tied in with the development of the Windy City. It was opened in 1893 to help meet the demand from visitors arriving for the Chicago World’s Fair. As well as suites and rooms, the hotel has lavish banquet halls, the Gold Room and the Florentine Room, both used for weddings and special events.

Congress Plaza Hotel, Chicago, Illinois

Biltmore Hotel, Coral Gables, Florida

Coral Gables, a planned suburb of Miami known as ‘the City Beautiful’, was a magnet for the rich and famous. With its hand-painted frescoes, tropical gardens, award-winning restaurant and golf course, Coral Gables’ Biltmore Hotel has always attracted a high-profile clientele. Judy Garland, Bing Crosby, the Roosevelts and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor are all known to have stayed at the hotel, which opened in 1926.

Biltmore Hotel, Coral Gables, Florida

Omni Parker House, Boston, Massachusetts

Just across the road from Boston’s oldest graveyard, that of King’s Chapel, and in operation since 1855, Omni Parker House would seem a likely source of some good ghost stories. And it’s not only its age and location – Charles Dickens stayed here as part of his sold-out American tour and supposedly practised reading A Christmas Carol in his room. Today it’s Dickens’ ghost, rather than the Ghost of Christmas Past, that is purported to haunt the hotel.

Omni Parker House, Boston, Massachusetts

Many guests have also claimed to have seen the Omni Parker House’s original owner, Harvey Parker, who died in 1884. Ever the attentive proprietor, apparently he drifts around, inspecting the rooms and asking guests about their stay. As he seems to be so fastidious, it must be another ghost which is responsible for the erratically stopping elevators. For more spine-chilling stays take a look at our feature showcasing haunted hotels around the world too.

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