Have you ever wondered what it would be like to spend the night in a haunted hotel? At these historic properties, many travelers have checked in – but, as legend has it, not everyone has checked out. To help you decide which spooky property to add to your bucket list, U.S. News evaluated expert and user opinion to bring you the most haunted hotels in America. From long lost loves to the glamorous ghosts of Hollywood past, these mysterious destinations are ready to tell their stories.
(Note: Some of the following hotels and destinations may be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. New policies may be in place, including capacity restrictions, reservation requirements or mask mandates. Check with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of State and local tourism boards before traveling.)
The Stanley Hotel: Estes Park, Colorado
Opened to the public in 1909, this opulent Colorado property overlooking Estes Park and framed by the Rocky Mountains is best known for being the inspiration behind Stephen King’s 1977 novel “The Shining.” King spent a lonely winter night here with his wife in 1974 – so lonely, in fact, that they were the hotel’s only guests. That night, the author awoke from a nightmare that his son was being chased through the hotel’s eerie halls by a firehose. By morning, King had already formed a rough outline of what would become one of the most iconic horror stories to date.
Today, tales of ghost sightings and strange happenings at The Stanley Hotel have garnered the property a haunted reputation. To hear these stories (and possibly come back with one of your own), book one of the hotel’s hourlong night tours, where you can learn about the spooky backstory behind this historic hotel. Daring guests can even opt to stay overnight in one of the hotel’s “spirited” rooms – those reported to have the highest levels of paranormal activity. These include rooms 401, 407, 428 and 217, the very suite where King was inspired to create “The Shining.” While recent travelers loved The Stanley Hotel’s beautiful grounds and old-world charm, some felt the hotel was lacking amenities. If you plan your spooky stay for October, you may be able to catch Estes Park’s annual Elk Fest, a top fall festival.
1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa: Eureka Springs, Arkansas
(Courtesy of Crescent Hotel)
A stay at this spooky property isn’t for the faint of heart. Located in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa has received hundreds of reports of paranormal experiences over the years. The building once served as a women’s college, and later as an experimental hospital run by the infamous charlatan Norman Baker, who claimed to have the cure to cancer. Many people died in his care, and today their spirits are said to haunt the building.
Luckily for ghost-hunting guests, the property fully embraces its status as one of America’s most haunted hotels. Ghost tours are held nightly, taking visitors through ominous sights such as the Crescent Hotel Morgue, where guests have recounted seeing a dark figure and feeling cold spots (there are even reports of guests getting touched and poked). Serious ghost hunters can also check out the hotel’s historic archives on the fourth floor, before bedding down in Michael’s Room, which is said to be the most haunted room in the hotel. For even more ghostly investigating, arrive in January for the Eureka Springs Paranormal Weekend, which is hosted by the hotel every year and includes overnight ghost hunts, special seminars and exclusive access to nearly all haunted spaces of the property.
The Queen Mary: Long Beach, California
This historic hotel is unusual for several reasons. Not only is it filled with tales of ghostly encounters and paranormal occurrences, but it is actually housed in a retired cruise ship. Docked in Long Beach, California, and overlooking the Los Angeles River, The Queen Mary has sailed as both a luxury ocean liner and a troopship during World War II. Now, more than 50 years after its final cruise, the ship has been transformed into a floating tourist attraction and hotel best known for its bizarre haunted happenings.
There are several supposed paranormal hot spots aboard the Queen Mary, including the Mauretania Room, the Mayfair Room and Shaft Alley, the site of a hideous accident where a crew member was crushed to death under a hatch door; his ghost is said to haunt the area now. While the hotel offers several paranormal tours and activities, thrill-seeking guests won’t want to miss an opportunity to spend the night in Stateroom B340. Past guests have reported unexplainable phenomena such as flickering lights, faucets that turn on and off without being touched, and loud knocking on their door in the middle of the night.
Note: The Queen Mary was temporarily closed for renovations at the time of publication. It is tentatively expected to reopen later in 2022.
La Fonda on the Plaza: Santa Fe, New Mexico
(Courtesy of La Fonda on the Plaza)
Located in Santa Fe, this luxuriously appointed hotel might just scare your socks off. Although the current structure that houses La Fonda on the Plaza wasn’t built until 1922, the site has been home to a courthouse and a number of inns dating all the way back to the 1600s. But not all of La Fonda’s secrets have stayed in the past: The hotel is said to be haunted by the spirit of John P. Slough, a former New Mexico chief justice who was shot and killed in the lobby in 1867; some past guests have reported hearing his footsteps in the night. Other legends tell of a bride who was murdered on her wedding night haunting the bridal suite and the spirit of a businessman who jumped down the hotel well after gambling all his money away.
The Emily Morgan Hotel: San Antonio, Texas
(Courtesy of The Emily Morgan Hotel)
Sitting in the heart of downtown San Antonio, The Emily Morgan Hotel – a DoubleTree by Hilton property – is no stranger to the supernatural. Countless strange occurrences have been reported by staff and guests: phones ringing in the middle of the night with no one on the other line, inexplicable sounds coming from unoccupied rooms, doors closing without being touched and ghostly figures wandering the halls. Video cameras have even captured what appear to be bright orbs floating around the hotel at times. Some travelers attribute these spooky hauntings to the hotel’s eerie history. The property was once used as the city’s Medical Arts Building, featuring its own morgue, crematorium and psychiatric wing. It also overlooks the legendary Alamo, the site of a gruesome battle during the Texas Revolution. Book your San Antonio trip to coincide with the Día de los Muertos festival around Halloween to experience the country’s largest celebration of the Mexican holiday to honor deceased loved ones.
Hotel del Coronado: Coronado, California
(Courtesy of Hotel del Coronado)
In 1892, a young woman named Kate Morgan checked in to the San Diego area’s Hotel del Coronado alone; she unfortunately would never get the chance to check out. A few days later, on the outdoor staircase leading to Coronado Beach, Morgan was found with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. While the circumstances surrounding her mysterious death are unknown, some speculate that she killed herself due to illness or heartbreak. Following her untimely death, guests have reported seeing her on the beach or in the hotel, haunting her former guest room.
Jekyll Island Club Resort: Jekyll Island, Georgia
(Courtesy of Jekyll Island Club Resort)
Situated on its own private island, Jekyll Island Club Resort is known for more than its plush Gilded Age accommodations and wealthy clientele. Past guests have reported numerous paranormal happenings, including a ghostly bellhop roaming the second floor, the smell of cigar smoke early in the morning (rumored to come from the deceased club member J.P. Morgan), coffee cups that have been mysteriously sipped on and newspapers that have been read when guests leave the room. Daring visitors can experience these spooky legends for themselves by staying overnight at this exclusive oceanfront resort in one of Georgia’s best beach destinations.
The Don CeSar: St. Pete Beach, Florida
(Courtesy of The Don CeSar)
Dubbed the “Pink Palace,” this famous Florida hotel facing the Gulf of Mexico is often considered one of the state’s most romantic destinations for lovebirds. It is also rumored to be haunted. Debuted in 1928 as a tribute to real estate scion Thomas Rowe’s long-lost love, Lucinda, The Don CeSar comes with a storied past. Many guests and staff have reported seeing Rowe wandering the grounds, searching for Lucinda even in death. Perhaps he found her – there have been several alleged sightings of a reminiscent young couple strolling this St. Pete Beach property together.
Omni Parker House: Boston
(Courtesy of Omni Hotels & Resorts)
The Omni Parker House, located in the center of downtown Boston within walking distance to Boston Common, bears the distinction of being the longest continuously operating hotel in the United States since 1855. As such, it has many stories to tell. The hotel’s founder, Harvey Parker, has been said to roam the building, and some patrons have supposedly witnessed orbs floating down the hallways on the 10th floor. In addition to these peculiar sightings, past guests have reported hearing whispers, seeing odd shadows and smelling cigar smoke in the third-floor room of a former longtime resident.
Omni Mount Washington Resort: Bretton Woods, New Hampshire
(Courtesy of Omni Hotels & Resorts)
Ghost hunters won’t want to miss a visit to this elaborate resort nestled in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Built in 1902 by railroad tycoon Joseph Stickney, Omni Mount Washington Resort has garnered a name for itself as one of the most haunted hotels in New England. As the legend goes, Stickney’s wife, Carolyn Foster Stickney – affectionately nicknamed “The Princess” by hotel staff – was left widowed after his death, eventually remarrying a French royal. Today, she can often be spotted wandering the hallways dressed in Victorian garb, if the stories are to be believed. On other occasions, guests staying in the widow’s third-floor suite have reported awakening in the middle of the night to her sitting at the end of their bed, brushing her hair.
Hotel Monteleone: New Orleans
(Courtesy of Hotel Monteleone)
New Orleans’ busting French Quarter is home to chilling ghost tours and several supposedly ghost-ridden properties, not least of which is the famous Hotel Monteleone. According to the hotel, a little boy named Maurice Begere died on the property in the late 1800s from a high fever. Ever since, guests and staff have reported seeing the toddler walking around the 14th floor. But while Maurice Begere might be the most common name you’ll hear while visiting this historic hotel, he isn’t the only ghost said to haunt Hotel Monteleone’s four walls. The ghost of a former hotel employee named William “Red” Wildermere apparently still lingers on, along with the quarreling spirits of a chef and a busser, who continuously feud over whether or not to keep the restaurant door open.
Bourbon Orleans Hotel: New Orleans
Boasting stylish accommodations with plenty of old-world charm, this iconic New Orleans hotel has lived many different lives. Before opening as a hotel in 1966, the site now housing Bourbon Orleans served as a theater, a convent, an orphanage and a school, with a lengthy history dating as far back as 1817. With such an extensive past, it’s no surprise that this hotel is believed to be haunted. Past guests have reported seeing a Confederate soldier, a little girl who often plays in the sixth-floor corridors, a lonely ghost dancer in the hotel’s famous ballroom and more. To experience the strange phenomena for yourself, book a hotel room to stay overnight or join a city ghost tour.
Hawthorne Hotel: Salem, Massachusetts
(Courtesy of Hawthorne Hotel)
It should come as no surprise that Salem, Massachusetts – host of the beloved Salem Haunted Happenings festival every fall – is often considered one of the most haunted destinations in the country. Home of the infamous Salem witch trials, this witchy city by the sea receives hundreds of thousands of visitors every year just in the month of October. After touring the nearby Witch House and House of the Seven Gables, enhance your spooky experience even further by bedding down at the fabled Hawthorne Hotel, named after Salem resident and author Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Located in historic downtown Salem across from Salem Common, this grand structure is shrouded in mystery. Guests of the hotel have reported moving furniture, unexplained noises, ghost sightings, odd smells and more. An unseen baby has been heard crying on the third floor, and some guests have even reported seeing the spirit of Bridget Bishop, the first woman executed in the witch trials, wandering through the hotel’s halls.
The Omni Grove Park Inn: Asheville, North Carolina
(Courtesy of Omni Hotels & Resorts)
The Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina, has long been thought to house supernatural forces. The hotel’s most well-known story, however, is that of the Pink Lady. This local lore tells of a young woman who died here in the 1920s by falling off a balcony. Luckily for hotel guests, this supposed phantom is said to be gentle and friendly, although many inn patrons are convinced she likes to pull pranks. Stories of lights turning on and off, doors opening and closing, and objects mysteriously being moved around are common – some guests have even reported feeling their feet being tickled in the middle of the night. The Pink Lady’s spirit is said to appear to guests as a pink floating mist; she can apparently be found in room 545, so consider booking a different room if you’d rather avoid these paranormal practical jokes.
The Marshall House: Savannah, Georgia
Billed as one of the oldest hotels in Savannah – a quaint Georgia city with ghost tours galore – The Marshall House was used as a hospital for the Union during the Civil War, and then again during two yellow fever epidemics. In 1999, the hotel was finally renovated and reopened to the public as an elegant getaway for leisure travelers. Today, many visitors believe that the hotel’s extensive history is to blame for the unusual occurrences that have been witnessed within its walls.
If you book a room at this charming Savannah property, you might be in for a scare or two. Past guests have described hearing phantom children running down the hallways in the middle of the night, watching faucets turn on and off by themselves, and seeing apparitions; there have also been reports of toilets overflowing with no warning and doorknobs wiggling inexplicably. The Marshall House is particularly known for its gaggle of ghostly children – these kids can supposedly be heard laughing and bouncing marbles in the halls late at night. If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll even catch a glimpse of them.
The Hotel Chelsea: New York City
New York City’s famed Hotel Chelsea opened in 1884. Since its inception, the Manhattan hotel has been used as an informal artists getaway for famous residents such as Patti Smith, Mark Twain, Andy Warhol, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin – but that doesn’t mean its history has always been glamorous. Many strange deaths have occurred at the property, including several suicides and murders, earning it a spot on the list of New York City’s most haunted hotels. Some of the hotel’s alleged ghostly inhabitants include Mary, a woman who survived the Titanic but lost her husband, and Larry, a specter who will talk to anyone willing to listen.
Mizpah Hotel: Tonopah, Nevada
This Victorian-inspired Nevada hotel, opened in 1907, was once a luxury hotel for miners and wealthy investors looking to cash in on the Tonopah silver boom. Today, Mizpah Hotel is best known as a hotbed for the paranormal. The property’s most famous ghostly guest is undoubtedly the Lady in Red, said to be the spirit of a prostitute who was brutally murdered by a jealous suitor. Ever since, stories of the Lady in Red abound, with past travelers finding pearls left beneath their pillows and their belongings mysteriously moved.
Hotel Sorrento: Seattle
(Courtesy of Hotel Sorrento)
Boasting Italian Renaissance-style architecture and seven stories of well-appointed rooms and suites, this upscale property in downtown Seattle, Washington, is no stranger to paranormal activity. Over the years, one particular ghostly spirit has captured the attention of guests. You just might see Alice B. Toklas, the life partner of Gertrude Stein, wandering around Hotel Sorrento and causing the lights to flicker. She has been apparently known to move the drinking glasses of unsuspecting guests around STELLA, hang out in room 408 and even play the piano on the top floor.
Concord’s Colonial Inn: Concord, Massachusetts
(Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America and Concord’s Colonial Inn)
Don’t be surprised if you feel a slight chill when strolling through the halls of Concord’s Colonial Inn – parts of this historic property have been around since 1716, making it one of the oldest hotels in the U.S. Situated about 20 miles northwest of Boston, this quaint New England inn still features many of its original fixtures – including, stories suggest, some of its original residents.
Back in the 1770s, room 24 on the second floor was used as an operating room for wounded soldiers; now travelers reserve this very room in the hopes of witnessing its ghostly activities firsthand. Past guests have reported flickering lights, shadowy figures and disembodied voices. These strange happenings extend to the rest of the hotel as well, with employees and guests spotting apparitions in the sitting room.
Admiral Fell Inn: Baltimore
Facing Baltimore’s Patapsco River, the Admiral Fell Inn is a fascinating chapter in Maryland’s history. Before it was an inn, the property was home to establishments like a vinegar factory, a YMCA for sailors and a boardinghouse for actors. Some travelers who have stayed in the hotel mention seeing apparitions of butlers and floating sailors; a hotel manager once reported hearing what sounded like a loud party going on upstairs, but the hotel was empty at the time.
Visitors looking to learn more about the inn’s spooky history can take the Admiral’s Historic Ghost Tour, and brave souls can opt to stay overnight in room 413 – it was in this very room that Christopher Jones was murdered in 1999. Ever since, several housekeepers and guests have had an eerie feeling whenever going inside. Some feel a sudden cold spot, while others swear they see shadows darting around the room or feel a hand resting on their shoulder.
The Red Lion Inn: Stockbridge, Massachusetts
(Courtesy of The Red Lion Inn)
The roots of The Red Lion Inn in the Berkshires of Massachusetts can be traced all the way back to the 18th century. In the lead-up to the American Revolution, people gathered here to protest the British Parliament’s Acts of Intolerance, passing resolutions and vowing to boycott British goods. But while many travelers have passed through The Red Lion Inn over the years (including five U.S. presidents), legend has it that others never left.
If you consider yourself an amateur ghost hunter, try to book a room on the fourth floor – it is considered particularly haunted. A young ghost girl is rumored to roam the halls here carrying flowers, along with a phantom man dressed in a top hat. Several paranormal experiences have supposedly occurred in room 301 as well: One guest reported that their bedsheet was tugged in the middle of the night, while another felt their toes being pulled on while they were asleep. Other visitors have described hearing disembodied voices and feeling cold spots.
The Sagamore Resort: Bolton Landing, New York
(Courtesy of The Sagamore Resort)
This upstate New York property, set on an island on Lake George in the Adirondacks, has built up quite a reputation as a hot spot for paranormal activity. Stories recount a woman in white blowing cold air on Sagamore Resort guests’ eyelids as they sleep, a phantom couple sitting down for dinner in the dining room and ghostly children giggling in the hallways – one young boy in particular is said to haunt the golf course, stealing golf balls and throwing them at unsuspecting guests. A hotel chef reportedly quit after the spirit of a woman spoke to him and walked through him in the kitchen. If you do decide to book a hotel room at this luxurious property, be warned: You may hear some things go bump in the night.
The Union Station Nashville Yards: Nashville
(Courtesy of The Union Station Nashville Yards)
Originally a bustling train terminal, The Union Station Nashville Yards, Autograph Collection, now bills itself as a luxury hotel. But for those in the know, this historic downtown Nashville property is also a prime destination for ghost hunting. One of the hotel’s most famous resident spirits is a young woman in her early 20s named Abigail. As the story goes, her beloved was killed fighting in WWII; distraught, Abigail flung herself in front of a moving train in the same station where she’d said goodbye to him before he was sent to France. Ever since, guests have claimed to see her waiting in the terminal, roaming the halls or hanging out in room 711. Guests who have stayed in room 711 have reported flickering lights, apparitions photographed in mirrors, sudden cold spots and strange noises coming from the ceiling.
Lord Baltimore Hotel: Baltimore
(Courtesy of Lord Baltimore Hotel)
Many believe that ghosts appear in places where tragedy has occurred, and the Lord Baltimore Hotel is no different. During the Great Depression, at least 20 people jumped to their deaths from its rooftop deck, as the 23-story hotel was one of the tallest buildings in the state at the time. It is rumored that their spirits can still be found wandering the property.
Over the years, many hotel guests have also reported seeing the apparition of a little girl with a red ball roaming around the 19th floor. Her name is Molly, and it’s said that after the stock market crashed, her parents flung themselves off the hotel’s roof in despair. According to some reports, they took Molly with them. Other creepy occurrences include an elevator that rides to the 19th floor without being called there and a child’s handprint on the wall of one of the penthouses that apparently will not go away.
La Posada de Santa Fe: Santa Fe
If you book a stay at La Posada de Santa Fe, don’t be surprised if you run into a few ghostly tenants. Past guests at this historic New Mexico property have reported seeing a phantom woman wearing a black Victorian dress with her hair slicked back into an austere bun. Many believe this apparition to be Julia Staab, the late wife of the hotel’s original owner; she passed away at age 52 in 1896. Other hotel patrons have reported their gas fireplaces turning on and off, items disappearing from their rooms and the distinct aroma of roses throughout the hotel – Julia reportedly loved to decorate the house with them when she was alive.
The Historic Lizzie Borden House: Fall River, Massachusetts
(Courtesy of Lizzie Borden House)
In the late 19th century, Abby and Andrew Borden were found brutally murdered in their home in Fall River, Massachusetts. The couple had been hacked to death with an ax, and investigators quickly accused their daughter, Lizzie Borden, of committing the heinous crime. Although she was acquitted, Lizzie Borden’s story had already captivated the public and has since served as the inspiration for numerous films, television shows and books.
The Historic Lizzie Borden House offers daily guided house tours; in the evening, courageous guests can partake in an outdoor ghost tour or roll up their sleeves for a hands-on ghost hunt of the first floor and basement. For even more of a thrill, stay overnight in the John V Morse Suite, the room where Abby Borden was found murdered in 1892. Past guests have reported witnessing objects moving on their own, hearing footsteps and disembodied voices, smelling strange odors, seeing apparitions and more.
The Seelbach Hilton Louisville: Louisville, Kentucky
(Courtesy of The Seelbach Hilton Louisville)
In 1936, a hotel guest named Patricia Wilson checked in to The Seelbach Hilton hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, to wait for her husband, who would never show. He was killed in a tragic car accident on his way to meet her, and in a state of despair, the widow either jumped or fell to her death down a service elevator shaft. Her ghost, nicknamed the “Lady in Blue” for the blue chiffon dress in which she died, is now said to haunt the building. Rumors have circulated about her lingering presence here since reported sightings of a mysterious blue-clad figure in 1987; some hotel guests today say they’ve felt cold spots or caught an aroma of perfume during their stay.