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

Plan a sleepover at the most haunted hotels in the USA

You probably won't be doing much sleeping while staying at the spookiest haunted hotels in the U.S., but go ahead and try

By Tolly Wright and Sarah Medina
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We don't understand it, but a lot of people like to stay the night in haunted places, especially around Halloween. Luckily, you don't have to camp out somewhere weird to see a ghost; there are plenty of phantoms lurking in haunted hotels across the U.S. and you also get a comfy bed and fluffy pillows to hide under—if it comes to that. (We also know about some haunted Airbnbs, if you're into that sort of thing.) So consider yourself warned: You will likely not be doing much sleeping after hearing the tales that occurred at these hotels. 

Staying in this Halloween? Embark on a virtual ghost tour of the most haunted places in the U.S. from the safety of your home.

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

Haunted hotels in the U.S.

1. Estes Park, CO: Stanley Hotel

Sure, this century-old elegant hotel, located just outside Rocky Mountain National Park, offers gorgeous panoramic views, but the setting also inspired Stephen King to write one of the scariest stories of the last one hundred years: The Shining. While there is no evidence of anyone having the same violent psychotic break in the hotel as Jack Torrence (Jack Nicholson in the 1980 film adaption), paranormal experts have discovered some otherworldly activity on the premise. Book The Historic Stanley Night Tour to hear some spooky stories after dark. 

Bourbon Orleans Hotel
Bourbon Orleans Hotel
Photograph: Courtesy New Orleans Hotel Collection

2. New Orleans, LA: Bourbon Orleans Hotel

Hotels French Quarter

Built in the early half of the 1800s, the Orleans Ballroom and Theater (where the Bourbon Orleans Hotel now sits) was a lively place before it was converted to a convent for nuns that also served as an orphanage and medical ward during a particularly deadly yellow fever epidemic. Today, several ghosts, including a confederate soldier, a lonely ghost dancer, nuns and children are said to roam the halls of the upscale hotel. Better take it easy on the signature Voodoo Mojo cocktails in the Bourbon O bar if you don’t want to see double trouble.

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CongressHotel.venue.jpg
CongressHotel.venue.jpg
Photograph: Mark Wright

3. Chicago, IL: Congress Plaza Hotel

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, including two presidents, international celebrities and notorious gangsters. 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 known 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. If it sounds familiar, it’s because the room inspired Stephen King’s eponymous horror story.

Lizzie Borden B&B
Lizzie Borden B&B
Photograph: Shutterstock

4. Fall River, MA: Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast

If you remember the schoolyard chant about Lizzie Borden giving her mother 40 whacks (and her father 41), you know all about the gruesome axe murders that happened in this house over a hundred years ago. While we will 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 house is now a historic bed and breakfast that also offers daily 50-minute tours of the house and museum for those too scared to spend the night.

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5. Nashville, IN: Story Inn

Surrounded by wilderness on three sides, this historic, rustic inn brands itself as “one inconvenient location since 1851”—and it seems it's been inconvenient for some souls to leave. 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 secluded hotel. Believed to be the wife of the town’s founder, Dr. George Story, the apparition has spooked hundreds of guests who have all recorded their encounters in the inn’s guest log. She is said to have blue eyes and smell of cherry tobacco. She even occasionally leaves blue items for the guests to find.

Historic Hotel Bethlehem
Historic Hotel Bethlehem
Photograph: Courtesy Historic Hotel Bethlehem

6. Bethlehem, PA: Historic Hotel Bethlehem

For 250 years, visitors have found friendly hospitality on these grounds—in 1741, Bethlehem's famous “first house” was built on the site where the hotel now stands. Thankfully, the friendly character extends to the ghosts as well. 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 Hotel Bethlehem) in the 19th century, and a former landlord of the Eagle Hotel who caused quite a stir around town with her habit of not wearing stockings or shoes. For your best chance at meeting one of these spirits, book the “room with a boo” on the ninth floor, Room 932, where many guests have previously experienced paranormal activity.  

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Crescent Hotel and Spa, arkansas
Crescent Hotel and Spa, arkansas
Photograph: Courtesy Crescent Hotel

7.  Eureka Springs, AR: Crescent Hotel and Spa

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. 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.

8. Savannah, GA: The Marshall House

Georgia’s oldest city has gorgeous architecture, cobblestone streets, large oak trees and even some rumored residents that date back a hundred years or more. The 19th century hotel was turned into a hospital during the Civil War and again during two yellow fever outbreaks. A few guests have reported seeing phantoms winding down the narrow halls, but you’re more likely to experience an eerie phenomena like the sound of children laughing when no young guests are nearby or faucets randomly turning on. During the month of October, the hotel embraces its reputation by offering special Halloween packages with discounts to local ghost tours.

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Hay-Adams hotel Washington DC
Hay-Adams hotel Washington DC
Photograph: Courtesy the Hay-Adams

9. Washington, DC: Hay–Adams

Hotels Judiciary Square

Visitors at this cushy, luxury hotel in the heart of the nation’s capital should beware the smell of almonds. Before the 138-room, Italian Renaissance-style hotel opened in 1928, the site formerly belonged to 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 liquid used in darkrooms that smells like almonds. Today, her ghost is rumored to cause minor trouble in the hotel—shutting and opening doors, turning on radios and sobbing in the walls—carrying a lingering smell of the chemical as she haunts.

Queen Ann hotel San Francisco
Queen Ann hotel San Francisco
Photograph: Courtesy the Queen Ann

10. San Francisco, CA: Queen Anne Hotel

Hotels Pacific Heights

This beautiful Pacific Heights Victorian bed and breakfast is full of 19th century details, including antique furniture, fire places in rooms, a salon for afternoon tea and sherry and at least one rumored ghostly resident. Prior to becoming a hotel, the venue was used as a girls’ etiquette school. After the school was closed, it became a gentlemen’s club—but the former headmistress, Miss Mary Lake, was not happy about the sale. Today, her spirit still likes to pull late hours around the halls and in her former office, Room 410.

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The Emily Morgan Hotel
The Emily Morgan Hotel
Photograph: Courtesy The Emily Morgan Hotel

11. San Antonio, TX: The Emily Morgan Hotel

Hotels

The Alamo isn’t the only haunted historic spot in San Antonio. Designed in 1924 as an advanced medical arts facility, the historic building once held a hospital, surgical floors and a crematorium. Since the Texas landmark became a hotel in 1984, guests have reported strange phenomena like lights flickering on and off, phones ringing mysteriously, and a woman dressed in all white who disappears and appears in a flicker.

12. Los Angeles, CA: The Hollywood Roosevelt

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, including Marilyn Monroe (for a two-year-long extended stay, to be precise). The blond bombshell’s ghost is said to still haunt the grounds; and Montgomery Clift, who lived in suite 928 for six months while shooting a film, can still be heard practicing his trumpet even though his room is vacant.

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Biltmore
Biltmore
Photograph: Courtesy the Biltmore

13. Miami, FL: Biltmore Hotel

Hotels Boutique hotels Coral Gables

Though it might seem hard to believe, this crown jewel of Southern Florida architecture and landscape was used as a hospital for several decades. Built in the early 1920s as a premier resort and golf course frequented by the likes of Babe Ruth, Judy Garland and even the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, the space was taken over by the government during WWII and used first as a military hospital and then as 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. 

14. Cape May, NJ: The Hotel Macomber

Though this beach town is mostly known as an all-American family-friendly summer haven, come fall, the space takes on a spookier atmosphere. 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 crisper.

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Flamingo Vegas
Flamingo Vegas
Photograph: Shutterstock/Rob Wil

15. Las Vegas, NV: The Flamingo

The Flamingo has been a staple of the Las Vegas Strip since the mid-19th century and, while it has gone through various owners over the decades, one of the early investors is rumored to still hold onto the hotel from his grave. 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.

16. Seattle, WA: Hotel Sorrento

Restaurants First Hill

Though Alice B. Toklas is best known for her life in early 20th century Paris, when she and her life partner Gertrude Stein presided over a salon frequented by the likes of Ernest Hemingway and Pablo Picasso, as a young woman she lived in Seattle and, rumor has it, that is where she returned after her death. 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, be on the look out for moving glasses—Alice likes to play bartender in her afterlife.

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17. Austin, TX: The Driskill Hotel

Bars Hotel bars Congress Ave District

The oldest operating hotel in Austin, the 120-year-old Driskill Hotel is a luxurious landmark with some spooky rumors attached to it. 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 stairs. 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 original owner who likes to check in on his grand creation.  

Captain Grant’s Inn
Captain Grant’s Inn
Photograph: Courtesy Captain Grant’s Inn

18. Preston, CT: Captain Grant’s Inn

The small town of Preston was founded in 1687. For much of its history, Captain Grant’s Inn has been in existence, seeing villagers and visitors come and pass. Built in 1750, the rustic bed and breakfast first served as the home to 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 have claimed to see ghosts dressed in Colonial clothing and experienced odd scenarios, like electronics suddenly turning on and off and the sound of footsteps in the empty attic.

See more ghosts in these U.S. cities

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