Of all the eerie places around the world—and there are a lot—there’s something extra spooky about haunted hotels. Maybe it’s the influence of so many movies and TV shows, but things going “bump” in the night seem to be even, er, bumpier in a hall packed with sleeping strangers. Having said that, those same haunted hotels can also be extremely luxurious, with more than just urban legends to get your heart thumping. Whether they’re castles in Ireland or top resorts from our Readers’ Choice Awards, check out these 30 hotels that all have a little something…extra.
Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado
The Stanley Hotel’s stately Georgian architecture and world-renowned whiskey bar have lured travelers to Estes Park since opening in 1909. But the hotel reached new levels of fame after inspiring Stephen King to create the fictional Overlook Hotel from The Shining. That eerie association aside, many other ghost sightings and mysterious piano music have been connected to the hotel. The Stanley Hotel leans into its reputation quite cleverly, offering nightly ghost tours and psychic consultations from the in-house Madame Vera.
The Driskill, Austin, Texas
The Driskill is a majestic Romanesque hotel with modern rooms and an iconic brick facade, drawing Europeans tourists and wedding parties since 1886. It’s a true Austin landmark—and according to some, a true hot-spot for ghosts. Travelers have noted eerily abnormal sounds through its ornate corridors, as well as phantom sightings of the hotel’s namesake, Jesse Driskill, whose portrait still hangs in the lobby. They say Driskill never recovered from the heartbreak of losing his hotel in a high-stakes poker game, and honestly, we get it: This hotel is a hard one to say goodbye to.
El Hotel Mesón de Jobito, Mexico
Originally built as a private home in 1700, Hotel Meson de Jobito served brief tenures as a market and horse stable before opening as a public hotel 1993. The original colonial architecture still remains—along with some original locals. Visitors have reported images of miners showing up to look for gold, as well as the sound of horses walking. Apparently, most of those sighting and sounds occur around 4 a.m., but you’ll probably be too busy sleeping in your air-conditioned room to really notice.
The Sagamore, Lake George, New York
Situated on an island on Lake George and named after a Native American in James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans, the Sagamore opened its doors in 1883, thanks to financing from four Philadelphia millionaires. If you can pull yourself away from the hotel’s lakeside views and hot stone massages, you might be lucky enough to spot some of the resort’s resident ghosts, including an argumentative couple in the main dining room and a man named Walter in the elevators. Golfers in particular should keep their eyes peeled: the ghost of a small boy from the 1950s is known to steal golf balls on the 18-hole course.
The Langham Hotel, London, United Kingdom
Talk about effective ghosts: The spirits at this castle-like hotel, originally built in 1865, drove out several English national team cricket players back in 2014. The athletes left citing sudden heat and lights and an unexplained presence (apparently not attributable to their match with Sri Lanka the following day). Ghosts have long been associated with the tony hotel, which claims elite spirits such as former resident Emperor Louis Napoleon III and a German prince who committed suicide there.
Castle Leslie Estate, County Monaghan, Ireland
After staying at Castle Leslie Estate, deputy digital editor Laura Redman reported, “This castle was what you imagine of a 16th-century Irish homestead—red ivy snaking up the walls, deep copper tubs, a library stocked with first-edition novels, afternoon tea overlooking 1,000 wooded and lake-spotted acres.” Indeed, the secluded country hotel makes you feel like you’re the only person in Ireland—unless you run into a Leslie family member’s ghost, of course. Luckily, all reported ghost sightings have been pleasant, like catching sight of Norman Leslie shuffling papers in the hotel’s Red Room. Hey, with accommodations like these, we’re more than willing to encounter a non-threatening ghost or two.
Russell Hotel, Sydney, Australia
Located in the heart of Sydney, this boutique hotel offers individually designed rooms, comfortable beds, and even a ghost tour of the surrounding neighborhood of The Rocks. But guests might not have to leave the hotel to encounter a spirit or two. Room 8 of Russell Hotel is supposedly haunted by the ghost of a sailor, and staff members have reported sounds of mysterious footsteps over the building’s creaky floors.
Mizpah Hotel, Tonopah, Nevada
Mizpah Hotel opened in 1907 as one of Nevada’s first luxury hotels, complete with solid granite walls and Victorian-era decor, and it was fully restored in 2011. But the swanky hotel has a history as blood-red as its scarlet furnishings—one it proudly embraces. Legend has it that a woman who died on the fifth floor never really left the building. The “Lady in Red” now reportedly makes her presence known by whispering in men’s ears and leaving pearls from her broken necklace on guests’ pillows. The Mizpah honors (or capitalizes on) her reputation by letting visitors stay in the Lady in Red suite or order the Red Lady Bloody Mary at the hotel restaurant.
Lord Milner Hotel, Matjiesfontein, South Africa
South Africa might be most famous for its game reserves, but it has its fair share of charming—and haunted—hotels. One such place is Lord Milner Hotel, located on the edge of the remote Great Karoo in Matjiesfontein Village. The town served as command headquarters during the South African War, as well as site of subsequent (and controversial) war crimes hearings. No surprise, then, that the Lord Milner Hotel has some paranormal activity going on. According to the hotel, there are a couple of ghostly guests who never seemed to check out, including “Lucy,” a negligee-wearing specter who makes noises behind closed doors from time to time.
Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai, India
Dubbed one of the best hotels in the world by our editors, Taj Mahal Palace is a five-star hotel located in the heart of Mumbai. Along with amazing views and interiors fit for a royal, one of the hotel’s more macabre claims to fame is its aura of mystery. According to legend, the building’s architect jumped to his death from the fifth floor after discovering the hotel was facing the wrong direction. His spirit now roams the halls, running into guests in the hallways and walking around the roof.
The Omni Homestead, Hot Springs, Virginia
One of the oldest resorts in the U.S., the Homestead began life a simple lodge as early as 1766 before evolving into a grand, European-style spa resort in the mid-1850s. In between facials and floats on the lazy river, keep an eye out for anyone asking for the time on the 14th floor—legend has it that a jilted bride from the early 1900s still awaits her long-on-the-lam fiancé in the hotel.
Hotel Kurrajong, Canberra, Australia
When a hotel is located in one of the world’s most haunted cities, you can kind of assume you’ll encounter a ghost or two if you visit. Such is the case with Hotel Kurrajong, a four-star hotel located nearby Canberra’s infamous Parliament House (yep, it’s haunted too). But unlike most haunted hotels, this one has a wandering spirit you’ll probably want to meet: former Prime Ministers Ben Chifley, who many consider one of the country’s best-ever PMs. Chifley died on the night of June 13, 1951 after suffering a heart attack in room 214, and his gray-suited ghost is known to appear in that same room from time to time.
Chateau de Marcay, France
Located in France’s extremely scenic Loire Valley, Chateau de Marcay is a 15th-century castle that was converted into a hotel in 1973. The turreted chateau looks like something from a fairy tale—but as well all know, fairy tales usually have a bad guy or two. As the urban myth goes, one of the ladies of the Chateau de Marcay was actually a werewolf, and a farmer shot her by mistake after she transformed one night. The lady decided to stick around, apparently, as guests and staff alike have reported (harmless) encounters with a ghostly woman dressed in white.
Shelbourne Dublin, Ireland
Known as the Grand Dame of Dublin, the Shelbourne has hosted the likes of Princess Grace of Monaco and drips with luxury: think sparkling chandeliers and afternoon tea services. With all that opulence, you probably won’t even notice the ghosts. According to some tabloids (they never lie, right?), one hotel room in particular gets frequent reports of paranormal activity, like water faucets turning on by themselves and a seven-year-old girl appearing out of nowhere. Actress Lily Collins had an eerie experience herself when she stayed at the Shelbourne back in 2013, which she recounted on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.
The Omni Grove Park Inn, Asheville, North Carolina
This marvel of architecture was built on Sunset Mountain by Edwin Wiley Grove in 1913—a soda pop heir from Tennessee attempting to cure his chronic hiccups. One of the hotel’s most famous guests was F. Scott Fitzgerald, who checked in while Zelda spent some time at a nearby sanatorium. You won’t be running into any Fitzgeralds during your stay today, but you could catch a glimpse of another 1920s figure: The Pink Lady, a guest who met her end on the floor of the atrium after falling two floors from her room. The pastel mists you see—and chills you feel—will give her away.
La Posada de Santa Fe Resort, New Mexico
One of Santa Fe’s oldest and most elegant places to stay is also one of its most famously haunted. La Posada de Santa Fe Resort, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel was originally a mansion built in 1882 by entrepreneur Abraham Staab for his wife, Julia, who loved the premises so much she may have never left. Today’s guests can stay quietly in one of the surrounding studios, or in the original main house. But for those who lodge in Julia’s former bedroom—now suite 100—be sure to greet her pleasantly like the staff do. To stay in her good graces, you may even want compliment her gorgeous home.
The Queen Mary Hotel, Long Beach, California
Aside from a brief stint as a war ship in World War II, the RMS Queen Mary served as a luxury ocean liner from 1936 to 1967. During that time, it was the site of at least one murder—a sailor being crushed to death by a door in the engine room—and drownings in the pool. The city of Long Beach purchased the ship in 1967 and turned it into a hotel, and it still serves that purpose today—although the reported ghosts of the deceased passengers get to stay for free. (For an extra dose of spine-tingling experiences, see if you can visit the ship’s engine room, which is considered by many to be a “hotbed” of paranormal activity.)
Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Canada
Built in 1888 to encourage Western tourism and to sell train tickets, this chateau-style hotel sits pretty by the Rocky Mountains in Banff National Park. But it gets a tad more Gothic once you get inside—and we aren’t talking about the architecture. Several ghosts have been reported as regulars, including a bride who supposedly fell down the stone staircase during her wedding. But there’s a less tragic spirit, too: Sam the bellman, who worked at the hotel until 1975 and claimed he’d come back to haunt the joint. His spirit supposedly pulls shifts helping people with their bags before disappearing.
Queen Anne Hotel, San Francisco, California
When it was built in 1890, this Victorian hotel in San Francisco served as an etiquette school for girls. It’s since been reborn as a 48-room hotel, although remnants of the building’s past life still linger. The ghost of Miss Mary Lake, the school’s late headmistress, is said to haunt the hotel, particularly room 410 (her former office). Guests who stay in that room might wake up to find their clothes have been unpacked, or the blankets closely tucked around them in bed. This ghost sure knows her etiquette, wouldn’t you agree?
The Don CeSar, St. Petersburg, Florida
It’s hard to believe a hotel could be haunted and so pleasantly pink at the same time. But rumors of ghost sightings around St. Petersburg’s sprawling Don CeSar have persisted, and the story behind them is actually quite romantic. The hotel’s founder, Thomas Rowe, opened the hotel in 1928, and he and his true love Lucinda have been occasionally spotted walking hand-in-hand around the grounds since the 1970s. We dare say that’s as cute as the hotel’s facade itself.
Ballygally Castle, Northern Ireland
Adjacent to such sites as the Ballygally Bay and Carnfunnock Country Park, Ballygally Castle isn’t just a vital pit stop on a Coastal Causeway road trip—it’s also extremely…spirited. The 17th-century castle is said to be home to the ghost of Lady Isobel Shaw, who perished here after falling out of a tower window. Her phantom reportedly roams the hotel’s halls, occasionally knocking on guest doors (no, that’s not room service). The hotel has even designated a special “Ghost Room” in her honor.
Crescent Hotel, Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Since its construction in 1886, the Crescent Hotel has served several purposes: luxury resort, conservatory for young women, junior college. But the strangest mark on its history came in 1937 when it got a new owner, Norman G. Baker. Baker was a millionaire inventor who decided to pose as a doctor (despite having no medical training) and turn the hotel into a hospital that could “cure” cancer. He was eventually found out and run out of town, although reports say that his spirit found its way back to the site—and found some otherworldly company, too. The now-operating Crescent Hotel is said to be haunted by at least eight ghosts, ranging from a five-year-old girl to a bearded man wearing Victorian clothing.
Bourbon Orleans Hotel, New Orleans, Louisiana
With a history dating back 300 years, New Orleans is a city with plenty of ghosts, many of them connected to hotels. The French Quarter’s elegant Bourbon Orleans is one of the most famous haunted spots, thanks to its multi-purpose past as a ballroom, theater, and, for many decades, a convent and orphanage. People say ghosts from different eras appear in the hallways or lobby, as well as one lonely dancer who spends some nights swaying under the ballroom’s crystal chandelier.
Jekyll Island Club, Georgia
A hunting club for wealthy northerners in 1888, Jekyll Island Club was considered one of the most exclusive resorts in the world by the beginning of the 20th century. Members included such bigwigs as William Vanderbilt and William Rockefeller, and Jekyll Island Club was the site of the first transcontinental phone call to Alexander Graham Bell in 1915. Casual, right? Unfortunately, the resort fell upon hard times during the Great Depression and WWII, and eventually became a hotel in the 1980s. For the past few decades, guests have reported encounters with some spirits as historic as the hotel itself. Railroad magnate Samuel Spencer has been spotted reading the Wall Street Journal, while others catch whiffs of J.P. Morgan’s cigar smoke seeping out of the financier’s former rooms.
Hotel Monte Vista, Flagstaff, Arizona
Flagstaff’s Hotel Monte Vista has its fair share of paranormal guests who have truly overstayed their welcome, including a long-term boarder who had a habit of hanging raw meat from the chandelier in Room 210; and two women who were thrown from the third floor, and now attempt to asphyxiate male guests in their sleep. There’s also reportedly an infant whose disturbing cries have sent staff members running upstairs from the basement. (Actor John Wayne even once had a paranormal encounter here.) Book your stay today!
Borgvattnet Haunted Vicarage, Sweden
Weird things have been noted in this parsonage, originally built in 1876. The gray wooden structure now serves as a bed and breakfast in a rural area with snowmobiling, fishing, and…not a lot else. Residents of Borgvattnet have claimed to hear footsteps, music, and the sound of three crying ladies coming from the inn, and the proprietors reward visitors with a certificate that says they stayed through the night.
Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, Los Angeles, California
You’ve never met ghosts as famous as the ones that haunt the Hollywood Roosevelt. The first Academy Awards were held at this oft-filmed hotel back in 1929, and movies stars tended to live there for long stretches of time. Today, Marilyn Monroe’s spirit hangs out in one room’s mirror, while Montgomery Clift’s voice echoes throughout his old suite. Even if you’re not a fan of bygone film legends, you can still get goosebumps from the hotel’s high-drama lobby and views of the Hollywood sign.
Bowery Hotel, New York City
Walking into the lobby at The Bowery feels like stepping back into a Gothic version of the 19th century, complete with crimson velvet and oil paintings. (To be honest, we can see how ghosts might like it as much as swanky party-goers.) According to reports, poltergeists hang out in the elevators, which mysteriously go up and down at 1 a.m. every night. So if the lobby fireplaces and antique Turkish rugs don’t transport you to another era, switching floors after hours might to the trick.
The Omni Mount Washington, New Hampshire
Like many of the hotels on this list, Mount Washington’s Omni is a grand space with an even grander history. Build in 1902, the hotel has hosted some seriously noteworthy guests, including Thomas Edison and three U.S. presidents. The Omni also has some clientele that skews more notorious than noteworthy, like Carolyn Stickney, the widowed wife of the hotel’s original owner who stuck around after her death. Her four-poster bed still sits in one of the third-floor guests rooms, and guests have reported waking up to find Stickney brushing her hair at the foot of the bed. But let’s face it: you’ll be spending too much time on the hotel’s sprawling porch (seriously, it’s one of the best we’ve seen) to notice any flashes of paranormality.
First World Hotel, Pahang, Malaysia
With 7,351 rooms, Malaysia’s First World Hotel makes sure it has something for everyone on its massive guest list. There’s a indoor theme park for thrill seekers, a tropical rainforest for nature lovers, and even a touch of paranormal activity for ghost hunters. Some visitors have reported poltergeists making noise in the halls and rooms, supposedly the ghosts of high-rolling gamblers who committed suicide after losing everything at the in-house casinos.