Across America, historic hotels have welcomed countless guests for centuries, but sometimes, certain visitors who walk in the door don’t ever actually leave.
Hearing a mysterious creak or feeling a swift wind chill might not seem out of the ordinary in most overnight accommodations—but at these 12 haunted hotels and resorts, it could mean there’s an uninvited guest in the dwelling. For those who are interested in experiencing more than just a cozy bed and timely room service, these properties (listed in no particular order) offer nothing short of an exciting evening’s stay.
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Heceta Head Lighthouse
Over the past century, the historic Heceta Head Lighthouse in Oregon has hosted multiple lighthouse keepers and their families and even once served as World War II military barracks. It’s been named one of the most haunted lighthouses in the U.S, and today, guests can spend a night on-site as the lighthouse keepers’ quarters have been transformed into a bed & breakfast. But visitors should be forewarned they might meet “Rue,” the ghost of the wife of lighthouse keeper Frank DeRoy from back in the 1890s. It’s said that Rue had a daughter who died tragically on-site, and she has been unable to leave ever since. Visitors have reported smelling perfume or catching an imprint on their bed as if someone was sitting there. For those who don’t mind an extra guest, this quaint, Queen Anne-style cottage boasts stunning sights overlooking the rocky cliffs and crashing Pacific Ocean waves.
Hotel Del Coronado
Hotel Del Coronado is one of the oldest, most luxurious, and most beautiful hotels in San Diego. But underneath its glamorous exterior lies a tragedy. Young Kate Morgan arrived at The Del on November 24, 1892, alone and unhappy. Employees say Kate was waiting for a gentleman to join her, but after five lonely nights, she unexpectedly took her own life. It was discovered Kate was married but estranged from her husband, so she came to The Del to meet her lover. Now, guests and employees alike have attested to experiencing ghostly encounters mostly having to do with Kate’s original third-floor guest room, which has been plagued with pranks like flickering lights, chilling winds, inexplicable scents, sounds, and unexplained footsteps and voices—among other haunted happenings. Those who want to meet Kate can attend the daily Haunted Happenings Tour to learn more about and experience her supernatural escapades.
Casa Marina Key West, Curio Collection by Hilton Key West Hotel
Key West is one of the most haunted cities in the U.S., and this southernmost city openly celebrates its supernatural escapades. There’s no need to keep skeletons in the closet at the hundred-year-old Casa Marina Key West, Curio Collection by Hilton, which once served as a 1940s U.S. Navy office headquarters and US military territory during the Cuban Missile Crisis and nowadays makes for an exceptionally spirited spot to spend the night. The property was conceptualized by railroad tycoon Henry Flagler, who died before the resort was finished. His spirit sticks around on-site today as the property’s walls are made of the same concrete used for Flagler’s Seven Mile Bridge. It boasts the same spooky old-world style arches and gothic-like dark wood-paneled lobby that it did back in the day and is an interesting spot to spend a night after a ghost tour of the Conch Republic.
The Union Station Nashville Yards, Autograph Collection
The Union Station Nashville Yards, Autograph Collection was built in 1900 as a train depot on the L&N Railroad and stood long abandoned before being beautifully restored and transformed into a chic boutique hotel in the mid-1980s. The ghostly side of the luxury property is widely known (and greatly appreciated), especially the story of room 711 and a spirit named Abigail. It’s said young Abigail came to Union Station depot during World War II to see off her beau, a soldier headed for the frontlines in France who sadly never returned. A devastated Abigail returned to the railway station to throw herself in front of a train, stopping her heartbeat but not banishing her spirit, which seems to still be in residence in room 711. Guests have reported a range of unexplained phenomena here, from strange noises to flickering lights, reflections photographed in mirrors, and sudden plunges in temperature.
The Malaga Inn in downtown Mobile, Alabama has been called the most haunted hotel in Alabama. The property dates back to 1862, originally having been built as twin townhouses for the Goldsmith and Frohlichstein families and wedding gifts for a pair of sisters. It was bought out and restored in the 1960s, transforming it into the charming (and spooky) 39-room lodging spot it is today. Guests can experience complimentary building tours to learn more about the property and the inn’s history. Several guests have reported seeing a woman dressed in white pacing the balcony of Room 7. Many other eyewitnesses report watching a chandelier swing back and forth, lights flicking on and off by themselves, and furniture regularly moving around.
Ghost encounters are common at the 240-year-old Talbott Tavern in Bardstown, Kentucky, one of Bardstown’s oldest buildings. The Tavern hosts six spine-chilling rooms for a night’s stay, each of which is named for a famous or infamous former visitor. Here, skittish guests have been known to promptly check out after a night of spooky sightings, including lights flickering or even sights of ghosts like the infamous outlaw Jesse James walking the old hallways (he did, in fact, stay at the inn during his most fervent years!). Others see a pale lady dressed in a 17th-century white period dress. Employees have become used to paranormal occurrences like keys or glasses mysteriously moving or the sound of footsteps in deserted hallways and guest rooms.
Belvoir Winery and Inn
This eerie property, just outside Kansas City, Missouri, is said to be one of the most haunted locations in the Midwest. Employees and guests regularly report paranormal activity at the Belvoir Winery and Inn, including the chilling sound of children laughing, lights flickering, the piano playing itself, and ghostly figures wandering the grounds. This is no surprise, as the venue encompasses what was once the Odd Fellows Home complex built back in the early 1900s, which harbored a nursing home, hospital, orphanage, and even a cemetery—all still standing today (while perhaps also holding the spirits of its inhabitants prisoner). Visitors seeking a thrilling overnight experience can book one of the property’s eight standard suites or even partake in a “paranormal investigation” during their visit. It’s a five-hour night tour led by paranormal research investigators for amateur ghost hunters to try their hand at real-life ghost hunting.
Hotel Parq Central
WHERE: New Mexico
Once upon a time, the Hotel Parq Central did not welcome guests to its premises but was a place for in-patient treatment. For decades, the building was the site of a hospital and psychiatric facility before it transformed into the boutique hotel it is today. Now, modern visitors regularly report seeing ghostly apparitions, but this isn’t a new occurrence. The haunted happenings originally started when former hospital patients claimed that during their stays, they would experience disembodied voices, see objects being moved by unseen forces, and have a feeling of constantly being watched. Those who choose to stay at Hotel Parq Central might need to sleep with their eyes and ears open.
Emily Morgan Hotel
Before the Emily Morgan Hotel in San Antonio hotel was constructed, it was the grounds where Mexican Forces battled the Texans in the Long Barracks of the Alamo in 1836, and hundreds lost their lives. The building was originally constructed as a Medical Arts Building housing medical professionals, complete with a morgue, crematorium, and a section devoted to caring for psychological conditions. It’s said the gargoyles lining the exterior walls of this gothic-style building’s façade depict the various ailments of the sick and injured. So, it’s no surprise that today this building, which is now a hotel, is haunted. Phones ring in the middle of the night with no one on the other end. There have been several reports of doors closing for no reason or feeling a human presence with no visible souls in sight. Some guests also report seeing a “woman in white” roaming the halls. Beware.
Cattle baron Colonel Jesse Driskill originally built The Driskill in Austin, Texas in 1886 (his imposing life-sized portrait still presides over the lobby today, surveying each guest check-in). It’s said Jesse Driskill still frequents this property, making his presence known with the scent of his cigar smoke. There are also sightings of partygoers dressed in old-timey style elaborate ball gowns and tuxedos, walking off of elevators in the hotel on nights when there aren’t any events on-site. This property openly embraces its haunted heritage year-round, but folks can book The Ghost City Tours package during fall throughout the Halloween season to celebrate some added spookiness. Available to reserve starting in September, the hair-raising package traditionally includes a one-night stay in a spacious guestroom, two tickets to a citywide ghost tour guided by Ghost City Tours, and added spooky swag like a gift card to the spellbinding Voodoo Donuts.
The Cavalier Virginia Beach, Autograph Collection
Virginia Beach is traditionally known for its pleasant weather, scenic beaches, and variety of attractions, but underneath the sunshine and the sparkle, there’s a sinister side. Spending a night at The Cavalier Virginia Beach, Autograph Collection, means staying at a real-life haunted mansion, which has hosted its fair share of celebrity visitors over the past century. Muhammad Ali, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Frank Sinatra, and Al Capone are just a few said to have spent the night, and Coors Beer founder Adolph Coors met his untimely end here either from falling or jumping from a sixth-floor window in 1929. It’s said a ghost sighting caused Muhammad Ali to throw one of his famed right hooks when a spirit spooked him on the way back to his room. Also, sometimes, the crystal Ballroom piano plays by itself, and there’s a disappearing bellman who’s said to offer warnings of impending ghost sightings.
National Exchange Hotel and sister property, Holbrooke Hotel California
Nestled into the Sierra Nevada Foothills in California’s Gold Country are two exceptionally historic hotel properties with some seriously spirited stories: The Holbrooke Hotel and the National Exchange Hotel. The 28-room Holbrooke Hotel dates back to 1862 and feels like stepping back in time. It’s home to the Golden Gate Saloon, the longest continually running watering hole west of the Mississippi. Just down the road in Nevada City is the National Exchange Hotel, which dates back to 1856 with 38 guestrooms with an eccentric aesthetic that combines Victorian-era design with a mysterious gothic aura. For two special weekends in October 2022 (October 1st and 15th), those who book a two-night weekend stay at The National Exchange Hotel can gain exclusive access to a candlelight tour with the hotel’s resident history expert detailing the stories of past inhabitants rumored to haunt these fabled halls still.