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Crescent Hotel and Spa, arkansas
Photograph: Courtesy Crescent HotelCrescent Hotel and Spa in Arkansas

The 19 most haunted hotels in the U.S.

You’ll get a good scare and not much sleep at the most haunted hotels in the U.S.

Written by
Shoshi Parks
Contributors
Tolly Wright
&
Sarah Medina
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Do you like a little terror with your turn-down service? Well then, these historic and haunted hotels in the U.S. are just dying to host you. We’re not talking zombies here (no one wants to be in real danger), but a few serious chills now and then will keep you on your toes.

Murders, suicides, morgues, and epidemics are all part of the mystery at these hotels — after all, what could be spookier than the elegant Stanley Hotel in Colorado, the same hotel that inspired Stephen King’s The Shining (a.k.a. one of the scariest books around)? Or what about The Marshall House in Georgia, which served as a hospital during the Civil War and two yellow fever epidemics? The Lizzie Bordon B&B in Massachusetts, home of gruesome 19th-century axe murders? Some of these hotels are so haunted, they even offer ghost tours to brave guests (fear not: you can visit during the day if you’re afraid of the dark).

From flickering lights and unnatural noises to actual apparitions roaming the halls, these haunted hotels in the U.S. are sure to give you a scare. And if you can think of nothing better than chasing otherworldly frights, there’s plenty more to add to your itinerary. These haunted Airbnb listings, real-life haunted houses, and jaw-dropping ghost tours are as fun as they are bone-chilling. 

RECOMMENDED: The scariest real-life haunted houses in the U.S.

Most haunted hotels in the U.S., ranked

  • Hotels
  • Judiciary Square

Visitors at this cushy, luxe hotel in the heart of the nation’s capital should be aware: if you catch a scent of almonds, something is fishy. Before the 138-room, Italian Renaissance-style hotel opened in 1928, the site was formerly one of the grand homes of John Hay and Henry Adams in the late 19th century. Clover Adams, Henry’s wife, was a photographer who allegedly committed suicide in the house by ingesting Potassium cyanide, a darkroom liquid that smells like almonds. Today, her ghost is rumored to cause minor trouble in the hotel — opening and closing doors, turning on radios, and the sound of sobbing through the walls — as she carries a lingering, almondy scent as she haunts.

  • Hotels
  • Boutique hotels
  • Coral Gables

Believe it or not, this crown jewel of Southern Florida architecture was once more clinical, used as a hospital for several decades. When it was built in the early 1920s, it began as a premier resort and golf course (frequented by the likes of Babe Ruth, Judy Garland, and even the Duke and Duchess of Windsor), but the space was taken over by the government during WWII as a military hospital, and later a veterans’ ward. It was completely remodeled and returned to its four-star glory in the 1980s, but today some visitors still claim to spot ghosts, including nurses, wounded soldiers, and even a gangster who was shot down during the Jazz Age.

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  • Bars
  • Hotel bars
  • Congress Ave District

The Driskill Hotel, the oldest operating hotel in Austin, is a luxurious landmark — but considering its age, it’s no surprise the property has its share of alleged ghosts. Locals tell stories about a young girl who died falling down a grand staircase; she apparently still lurks in the shadows, giggling as she chases a ball down the steps (doomed to repeat her fatal mistake). Another tale details how two brides committed suicide on the same day — in the same room — but during different decades. The head-soul-in-charge, however, is the stately Colonel Jesse Driskill, the hotel’s original owner, who likes to pop up every now and then to check in on his grand creation.

  • Hotels
  • Pacific Heights

This glamorous Pacific Heights Victorian bed and breakfast is full of 19th-century details like antique furniture, fireplaces in guest rooms, a salon for afternoon tea (or sherry), and at least one rumored resident ghost. Prior to becoming a hotel, the venue was a girls’ etiquette school, but once the school shuttered it became a gentlemen’s club. However, the former headmistress of the school, Miss Mary Lake, was displeased about the sale (we can’t blame her), and she’s not afraid to show it: her spirit still likes to pull late hours around the halls and in her former office, Room 410, like a posthumous protest.

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For decades after his death, the perfectionist founder of Omni Parker House, Harvey Parker, roamed the halls of its tenth floor, sometimes appearing as a misty apparition with a black mustache. Though he hasn't been seen for years in this elegant hotel near Boston Commons, others have filled the void. If you’re staying in room Room 303, you might catch a whiff of a long-time, cigar-loving resident who still puffs his stogies, while the hotel’s elevators mysteriously rise on their own to the third floor (in the oldest part of the hotel, there have apparently been sightings of a man in a stovepipe hat, too). And while no one has seen Parker lately, it's unlikely that he's gone for good; reports of floating lights and the sound of a rocking chair on the 10th floor suggest his spirit is still lingering in his beloved hotel.

As its name suggests, the Historic Bethlehem Hotel has a long history in friendly hospitality, so it’s no surprise that one or two characters decided to stick around. Today, four spirits are rumored residents, including an 18th-century cabinet maker, a singer who was born in the Eagle Hotel (the hotel that was on site prior to Historic Hotel Bethlehem) in the 19th century, and a former landlord of the Eagle Hotel who caused quite a stir around town (she had a habit of not wearing stockings or shoes—shudder!). For your best chance at meeting one of these spirits, book the “room with a boo” on the ninth floor, a.k.a. Room 932, where many guests have previously claimed to experience paranormal activity.

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Georgia’s oldest city has gorgeous architecture, cobblestone streets, large oak trees, and a handful of ghostly residents that date back a hundred years or more. You’ll find some spooky souls at The Marshall House, a 19th-century hotel that was turned into a hospital during the Civil War and also two yellow fever outbreaks. Although a few guests have reported seeing phantoms winding down the narrow halls, you’re more likely to experience an eerie phenomenon: pay attention and you might hear the sounds of children laughing (when no young guests are nearby) or faucets randomly turning on all on their own. During the month of October, the hotel embraces its reputation by offering special Halloween packages with discounts to local ghost tours (not a bad deal, if you ask us).

Built in 1750, this rustic bed and breakfast first served as the home of the eponymous Captain Grant. During the Revolutionary War, American soldiers garrisoned in the home and, later, the house sheltered escaped slaves on the road to freedom. Previous guests claimed to have seen ghosts dressed in Colonial clothing, while other stories are a bit more run of the mill (like electronics suddenly turning on and off, or the sound of footsteps in the empty attic).

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Sure, this elegant century-old hotel just outside Rocky Mountain National Park offers beautiful panoramic views, but the same drop-dead gorgeous setting also inspired Stephen King to write one of the scariest stories of the last hundred years: The Shining. While there is no evidence of anyone having a violent psychotic breakdown in the hotel (unlike Jack Torrance, the character played by Jack Nicholson in the 1980 film adaption), paranormal experts have discovered some otherworldly activity on the premise. To get the scoop, book The Historic Stanley Night Tour to hear some spooky stories after dark.

Considering that The Flamingo has been a staple of the Las Vegas Strip since the mid-19th century, it’s gone through plenty of owners over the decades. Apparently, the property is hard to give up, and one of the hotel’s early investors is rumored to have a death grip on the hotel from his grave: the infamous mobster, Bugsy Siegel, got in on the ground floor in the 1940s when developer William Wilkerson ran out of funds. Siegel was murdered shortly after the hotel opened, but it’s said that his apparition likes to hang out in the chapel gardens where the Bugsy Memorial now stands.

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  • Hotels
  • French Quarter

Built in the early half of the 1800s, the Orleans Ballroom and Theater (where the Bourbon Orleans Hotel now stands) was a lively place. Nevertheless, the ballroom was eventually converted to a convent for nuns that also served as an orphanage and medical ward during a particularly deadly yellow fever epidemic. Today, ghosts said to roam the halls include a confederate soldier, a lonely dancer, nuns, and even children. Some advice: take it easy on the signature Voodoo Mojo cocktails in the Bourbon O bar if you don’t want to see double trouble!

The once-thriving settlement of Story, Indiana, was mostly abandoned during the Great Depression, and the surrounding area was acquired by the state for public parkland. Today the “Blue Lady,” one of Indiana’s most notorious ghosts, haunts the Story Inn (a secluded hotel known for its rather inconvenient location in the wilderness). Believed to be the wife of the town’s founder, Dr. George Story, the apparition has spooked hundreds of guests who’ve all recorded their encounters in the inn’s guest log. She is said to have blue eyes and apparently smells of cherry tobacco. She even occasionally leaves blue items for the guests to find.

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If you remember the schoolyard chant about Lizzie Borden, the girl who gave her mother 40 whacks (and her father 41), you know all about the gruesome ax murders that happened in this house over a hundred years ago. While we’ll never know whether Borden was actually to blame for her father and stepmother’s death in 1892, many people are absolutely positive that their spirits still haunt the place. The three-story home is now a historic bed and breakfast, but if you’re too nervous to spend the night, you’ll be delighted to hear that the owners offer daily 50-minute tours of the house and museum.

  • Hotels
  • Boutique hotels
  • Hollywood

Located alongside the Hollywood Walk of Fame and just across the street from the Chinese Theater, the Hollywood Roosevelt is a part of La La Land history. In the mid-1900s, many big-screen legends stayed here, but none were as captivating as Marilyn Monroe (she stayed for two years, to be precise). The blond bombshell’s ghost is said to still haunt the grounds along with Montgomery Clift, who lived in suite 928 for six months while shooting a film (he can still be heard practicing his trumpet even when his room is vacant, according to rumors). Too spooked to stay the night? The hotel is one of the many stops along the LA Ghost Tour, which scours the neighborhood for paranormal activity.

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  • Things to do
  • Loop

Dating back to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, this iconic landmark in the South Loop has seen its fair share of historic visitors (two presidents, international celebrities, and notorious gangsters among them). Unfortunately, some guests liked the accommodations so much that they never checked out. The ghosts of Al Capone, a man named “Peg-Leg Johnny,” and a young boy who was allegedly thrown from the 12th story by his mother, have all been rumored to haunt the hotel. However, the Congress Plaza is most famous for Room 411, a room that accounts for dozens of creepy stories and calls down to security and the front desk.

Though this beach town is mostly known as a family-friendly summer haven, the space takes on a spookier atmosphere once autumn descends. Several of the area's bed and breakfasts and inns are believed to be haunted, and some frequent visitors to the Hotel Macomber even claim to have heard strange sounds during the night, especially as the weather turns crisp.

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Nestled atop Arkansas’ Ozark Mountains and overlooking the Victorian village of Eureka Springs, the 19th century Crescent Hotel and Spa is considered an icon of Southern hospitality. It’s also, apparently, one of the most haunted places in the South. Several ghosts are said to be permanent guests in the large resort, including a “girl in the mist,” a woman in Victorian lingerie, and a spirit that never left the morgue in the hotel’s basement (the hotel was briefly a hospital in the early 19th century). Visitors interested in learning more about the hotel’s unique history, with a few good paranormal stories thrown in, should sign up for the Crescent Ghost Tour.

  • Restaurants
  • First Hill

Though Alice B. Toklas is best known for her life in early 20th century Paris (when she and life partner Gertrude Stein presided over a salon frequented by the likes of Ernest Hemingway and Pablo Picasso), she spent her youthful years in Seattle. Rumor has it, she returned to Seattle after her death, and her spirit is said to be on an extended stay at the Sorrento, one of the Emerald City’s oldest and most elegant hotels. If you stay on the fourth floor, stay on the lookout for moving glasses (Alice likes to play bartender in her afterlife, apparently).

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  • Hotels

The Alamo isn’t the only haunted and historic spot in San Antonio. Designed in 1924 as an advanced medical arts facility, the historic building that now holds The Emily Morgan Hotel was once a hospital complete with surgical floors and a crematorium. After the Texas landmark became a hotel in 1984, guests have reported strange phenomena like lights flickering on and off, old phones ringing mysteriously, and a woman dressed in all white who disappears and reappears in a flash.

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