Whether you’re dying to check-in to the world’s most haunted hotels or you want to stay as far away as possible, this list has you covered.
From murderers and crooked politicians to runaways and rejected lovers, the rich and the poor alike have often found themselves in that same bastion of intrigue during unsettling situations throughout history: the hotel. Not all scandals lead to death, and not all deaths lead to hauntings, but hotels across the globe report more than their fair share of afterlife activity, making them a hotspot for enthusiastic ghost hunters. No matter where you find yourself in the world, we have you covered with the most haunted hotels in some of the world’s creepiest capitals.
WHERE: Washington DC, USA
Though this luxury hotel has hosted historical celebrities like Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart, there’s a lesser-known name commanding much more attention every December. October may be a spookier month in most minds, but December is when Clover Adams, wife of the property’s original owner, tends to haunt two floors of The Hay-Adams. That’s when she committed suicide by ingesting chemicals used in her photography (unless you believe those who say her husband had a mistress, and Clover was murdered). Either way, Clover continues to engage in typical ghost behavior like opening doors, turning things on and off, and occasionally crying out, but some housekeepers have reported receiving phantom hugs while cleaning Clover’s favorite floors. If you’re looking for a friendly ghost friend of your own, Clover may be the spirit for you.
Gran Hotel Bolivar
WHERE: Lima, Peru
Not far from the Government Palace in downtown Lima, Gran Hotel Bolivar was built for visiting dignitaries and has played host to countless celebrities since its opening in 1924. Mick Jagger was once evicted for bad behavior, but the hotel seems to have had a harder time evicting its most notorious guests (the dead ones). Victims of murder and suicide both are said to haunt the hotel, a bellhop is sometimes seen disappearing in front of guests’ eyes, and two floors of this hotel have been closed for years. The hotel blames financial issues for the closures, but others are sure it’s because they’re just too haunted for use.
Castello della Castelluccia
WHERE: Rome, Italy
This castle is actually just outside Italy’s capital city of Rome, but it’s close enough (and haunted enough) that it deserves a spot on the list. The ghostly residents of this 14th-century castle-turned-hotel aren’t your typical undead pranksters with run-of-the-mill tales of suicide or murder. One was struck by lightning in the castle’s tower, a handful are actually horses that died far from home after being traded to repay gambling debts and have only returned after death, and the most curious is Rome’s infamous Emperor Nero, who is buried not far from the castle and apparently prefers a warm bed to his cold grave.
WHERE: London, England
The number of Satan may be 666, but it’s room 333 that causes chills at The Langham in London. There are plenty of deceased staff still at service throughout the hotel, but visitors to room 333 include a German prince who defenestrated himself, a doctor who killed his wife and himself on their honeymoon, and the room’s most unwelcome guest, an unknown spirit who shakes the bed to knock people out of it. At least one guest left more than just the bed after an encounter with this chap, and checked out of the hotel immediately. Oh, and there’s also the dude with the hole in his face. And Napoleon, who lived here during exile (but he generally sticks to the basement, so you aren’t likely to run into him).
The Russell Boutique Hotel
WHERE: Sydney, Australia
Some hotels shy away from their haunted histories, but not The Russell. Here, you can actually join a ghost tour to learn more about the property’s spookier guests. The Russell is in Sydney’s oldest neighborhood, and some of its more colorful ghosts were employed in the world’s oldest profession. And where there are dead prostitutes in a harbor city, there are dead sailors. One of The Russell’s sailor-ghosts is a particular creeper, with a penchant for watching people sleep.
Hotel del Salto
WHERE: Bogota, Colombia
Sometimes called the Tequendama Falls Hotel because of its location on the edge of a 500-foot cliff directly across from a waterfall, it doesn’t really matter which you call it now because it’s neither anymore. What started as an architect’s mansion was later converted into a hotel for roughly 60 years, but the contaminated Bogota River caused a drop in tourism and the opulent building was abandoned in the early 1990s. It’s alleged that slaves jumped to their deaths here to escape bondage during the Spanish conquest, leaving behind only their spirits who continue to haunt the property, and you still have a chance to encounter them even though the hotel is out of business. The National University of Colombia took over the decaying building and has since turned it into a museum, so you can (legally) visit once again.
Baiyoke Sky Hotel
WHERE: Bangkok, Thailand
Most haunted hotels claim a long and tragic history, but not the Baiyoke Sky Hotel in Bangkok. This skyscraper only dates back to 2011, when three workers fell to their deaths during construction of the 88-floor tower. Guests claim that an eerie aura descends upon the hotel’s common areas at times, and strange shadows have been spotted in hallways, but it doesn’t seem that these spirits have hard feelings. The most mischief they’ve managed is rearranging items and furniture in guests’ rooms. You’re far more likely to experience mayhem in Bangkok’s streets than inside this high-end hotel.
WHERE: Ottawa, Canada
Okay, this one is a hostel, not a hotel, but you’re going to want to know about it. Hostel, hotel, motel, or whatever, the most important detail is that it was once a jail (a very old jail) and the rooms are the old cells, complete with iron doors. You can even opt to sleep in solitary confinement. If the building itself doesn’t spook you enough, take a tour of death row, visit the unmarked gravestones, and listen out for the eerie nighttime footsteps of the ghost who was reportedly hanged onsite when he was an inmate.
WHERE: Dublin, Ireland
The Shelbourne is known for one terrifying ghost in one specific room, but reports have been so frequent and so harrowing that staff have reportedly been forced to stay in the room themselves to investigate. Many guests have fled the hotel in fright after encountering this spirit (2-3 guests per week at the height of paranormal activity) while others have checked-in specifically to experience such encounters themselves. So who is this powerful poltergeist? It’s the ghost of 7-year-old Mary Masters, who died of cholera in 1791.