Photo: cloudytronics, Getty Images.
Why play pretend this Halloween by dressing up when you could experience a real fright? There are dozens of hotels across the country rumored to be haunted – and you can see for yourself by booking a night there. Many cities even brag about their paranormal activity to attract more tourists. Whether you like your frights in auditory, visual, or creepy-crawly-feeling form, there are plenty of accommodations just waiting to scare the bejeezus out of you.
The Stanley Hotel (Estes Park, Colorado)
Horror fans, this one’s for you. Room 217 of the Stanley Hotel is where Stephen King wrote half of The Shining. But that’s not the only room with a paranormal rep; room 218 has also seen ghostly activity. In fact, the entire fourth floor, which formerly housed the servants’ quarters, is said to be haunted. The creepiest report we’ve found? That the sounds of children playing echoes through the halls, even when no little people are present. Considered one of the “most spirited hotels” in existence, this venue celebrates its spooky history with special Halloween events including a murder mystery four-course gourmet dinner, a costume-themed Shining Ball, and a Masquerade Party featuring live music, dancing, drinks, and hors d’oeuvres.
Le Pavillon (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Rumor has it that the management of historic hotel Le Pavillon hired paranormal investigators a few years back to suss out phantasms. Four ghosts were found and electric voice phenomena (or EVPs) pleading “Please, get out,” were recorded. Another set of ghost hunters documented over 100 “haunted hot spots” in the hotel. Le Pavillon even offers a Haunted History package that includes two passes for a walking tour through the haunted sections of the French Quarter and a wax-sealed memoir about the hotel’s paranormal history. Ghoulish frights aside, one spooktacular thing about Le Pavillon is its nightly PB&J service – the perfect fuel for ghost-hunting after dark!
Hotel Provincial (New Orleans, Louisiana)
It’s no wonder that NOLA gets two nods in the haunted hotel category; it’s said to be the most haunted city in the United States. Hotel Provincial, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, consists of five buildings, one of which used to be a hospital during the Civil War. Fittingly, the paranormal activity reported ranges from disappearing blood spots on bedding to wounded soldier ghost sightings to unsettling moaning and groaning. Per one Trip Advisor guest, “In the night, I woke up 3 times…The first time, I swear there was a dark presence at the floor-to-ceiling windows. It was not malevolent, but I did wake up during the night, feeling that there was something else in the room.”
Whistler’s Inn (Lenox, Massachusetts)
This name of this Berskshire Hills B&B is eerie enough (as is the fact that the management still uses Hotmail) but the English Tudor has a history rife with tragic romantic drama. After the eponymous owner (and railroad tycoon) of the Whistler’s Inn died suddenly in 1927, his wife, Mrs. Whistler, hired a Swedish beauty queen, Nancy Hedwall, as her caretaker. Hedwall asked that Mrs. Whistler hire her sister and brother-in-law, Helma and Paul Anthony, as well. Turns out, Hedwall was in love with Paul Anthony, too, and a scandalous love triangle ensued. Paul Anthony died suddenly, and all three are buried together across the street. Their ghosts roam the mansion and may be responsible for strange happenings like water leaks, electrical surges, and falling windows. Room 12 (a.k.a. the attic) has seen the lion’s share of paranormal activity.
La Posada (Santa Fe, New Mexico)
With a name like Staab House, it’s no wonder the 1882 mansion – and showpiece of La Posada resort – is haunted. As legend has it, Abraham Staab constructed the three-story brick structure where he lived with his wife, Julia, and their six children. After the couple’s seventh child, a newborn son, died, Julia fell into a major depression. Following multiple failed attempts to have another baby, Julia secluded herself in her room, refused to eat or sleep, and died at the age of 52. It’s said that Julia’s ghost still haunts the mansion – particularly room 256 – appearing in mirrors, at the foot of guests’ beds, and even calling “I’m in here” from behind the locked door.