Ghost of the past. Lingering spirits. Death-defying locations. Not every hotel is meant to be a totally pleasant experience. In fact, there are plenty of hotels that will give you a fright and possibly freak you out if you try to spend even a single night there. It might be fun to visit these terrifying hotels for a little while, but chances are good that you’d never actually want to sleep in them — because who knows what might happen to you if you do?
If things that go bump in the night, dizzying heights and tons of ocean water don’t faze you at all, go ahead and stay in one of these 15 terrifying hotels for the night. If you’re not afraid of the ghosts of the past or things you can’t quite explain, maybe these terrifying places were made for you. But if you think frightening things are best enjoyed from a distance, maybe visit these truly frightening places only during the day instead. Better yet, stand back a bit and view them only from a distance.
If you get too close or stay too long, you might just experience something that you’ll never be able to forget or see something that you can never hope to unsee.
15. The Marshall House: Savannah, Georgia
Savannah is Georgia’s oldest city, and it’s managed to accumulate quite a history through the years. The Marshall House is part of that long history, and you can see it the moment you walk up to the building. It served as a hospital during the Civil War, and treated patients through two Yellow Fever epidemics that struck the city. Today, the Marshall House is an elegant hotel and a popular wedding venue for locals. But because of its past, locals say the Marshall House is also a scary place to try to spend the night. Guests of the hotel have heard the ghostly sounds of children playing and have experienced other paranormal frights. Ghost tours allow some visitors to roam the halls in search of spirits.
14. Chelsea Hotel: New York, New York
Though briefly closed for renovation, the Chelsea Hotel in New York is open once more for celebrity guests. Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Madonna and dozens of others who helped shape pop culture have lived in the Chelsea. But the Chelsea is also the site of a famous murder. It was here that Sid Vicious and girlfriend Nancy Spungen lived, and here that she was brutally killed. Vicious, suspected of having committed the crime, died shortly thereafter. Many say the ghosts of Sid and Nancy still roam the halls, perhaps looking for whomever is playing the loudest punk rock music in the hotel.
13. The Mermaid Inn: East Sussex, England
The Mermaid Inn is a truly medieval inn, and it looks like it. The building itself was rebuilt in 1420, but the cellars date to 1156. It’s difficult to think about how much time that is, how many people have passed through here — but it’s irrefutable that they have left their mark here. The Mermaid Inn is steeped in history and full of stories. Local smugglers hung out here in the 1730s. During the Reformation, Catholic priests carved out messages here while they were fleeing from religious intolerance. Visitors here have seen chairs moving on their own, discovered clothing that is inexplicably soaking wet and watched ghostly apparitions of two men engaged in a bloody duel.
12. Emily Morgan Hotel: San Antonio, Texas
This hotel doesn’t even have to be haunted to be creepy. It’s right next to The Alamo, a place that will easily give you the shivers when you think of all the people who met their end here. The hotel was built in 1924 to be a medical facility. Floors 12 and 14 were surgical areas, and guests today say this is where they see all the really strange stuff. A woman wearing a white dress reportedly walks the halls, and phones ring often with no voice at the other end of the line. If you can get past the ghosts, this hotel is very elegant and opulent, with plenty of Art Deco details to please the history buffs.
11. The Battery Carriage House Inn: Charleston, South Carolina
Tall oak trees, dripping Spanish moss and an 1843 carriage house. The decor is distinctly historical, to match the setting, and that may just invite the ghosts of the past to start a-wandering through the halls of the Battery Carriage House Inn. If you really want to see the ghosts, book yourself in Room 8 or Room 10. This is where the most paranormal sightings have occurred. The Gentleman Ghost, as he’s known, is anything but. He’s been reported to appear next to guests as they’re lying in their hotel beds. Still want to visit the Battery Carriage House Inn?
10. The Hollywood Roosevelt: Los Angeles, California
If you’re going to see a ghost, why not look for a famous one? Several deceased Hollywood stars are said to still roam around the halls of the Hollywood Roosevelt. This hotel is known for great parties and an A-list clientele, even those of the paranormal variety. The ghostly trombone sounds you might hear are said to be created by the late Montgomery Clift. And if you’re in Marilyn Monroe’s old room, keep an eye on the mirror. Guests have seen Marilyn checking herself out here more than once. She stayed at the Roosevelt while working as a model during her early days in Hollywood.
9. Natura Vive Skylodge: Sacred Valley, Peru
The Natura Vive Skylodge isn’t rumored to be haunted and it’s not a portal to another dimension, but it’s terrifying all the same. The Skylodge is aptly named, because this hotel is three clear capsules that hang off a steep cliff. You can sleep here while dangling 400 feet above the ancient land of the Incas. This is not for those who are afraid of heights. The views in this part of the world are famous for their breathtaking beauty, but you can’t be truly surrounded by it until you’re hanging off a cliff. Your hotel room here is transparent, and you have to climb up the cliff to get to it. But once you do, you’ll have a 300-degree view of the Sacred Valley all around you. Just try not to look down.
8. The Stanley Hotel: Estes Park, Colorado
When it was opened in 1909, the Stanley Hotel was a glorious, luxurious mountain retreat that attracted high society types. It was built with the most modern features of the day: electric lights, bathrooms in the suites, telephones and a whole fleet of steam-powered automobiles. But decades later, the Stanley Hotel was more famous for faded beauty and aged opulence. In the 1970s, a guest named Stephen King came to visit the hotel. He was so inspired by the hotel, he wrote “The Shining” based on his visit to the Stanley. The hotel is now famous for being haunted, with dozens of stories of sightings and various activity. If you’ve ever seen “The Shining,” it’s probably impossible not to feel terror while you’re here.
7. The Equinox: Manchester, Vermont
The Equinox is absolutely haunted, if not by spirits then by its own tragic history. It was a favorite vacation spot for First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln and her sons. They spent two summers here, and had plans to return for the summer of 1865. The assassination of Abraham Lincoln ended this bright future, but Vermont continued to bring warm memories to the surviving Lincoln family. First Son Robert Todd Lincoln bought an estate here very close to The Equinox. People staying here report to strange phenomenon like unexplained cold spots, shadows that move independently and otherworldly whispers. Some have even seen Mary Todd Lincoln here, with one of her sons at her side.
6. Hotel Burchianti: Florence, Italy
Benito Mussolini once stayed at Hotel Burchianti, and to this day guests feel uneasy in his old room. Local lore holds that this hotel is packed with more than its fair share of ghosts, including a maid who goes about her morning rounds even in the afterlife and a woman who sits and knits in a chair. If you’re in the Fresco Room, that icy chill you feel isn’t a problem with the heating system. This is where Mussolini once slumbered, and many guests say they’ve felt his cold breath on them and sense his chilling stare watching every move they make. Think you’d like to sleep with his ghost watching you?
5. La Fonda: Santa Fe, New Mexico
The spirit of the Old West is alive and well at La Fonda. This hotel still maintains its historic southwestern decor bedecked with modern luxuries. La Fonda is almost as old as the city of Santa Fe itself, which dates to 1607. There has always been a fonda, an inn, on the Plaza to entertain to travelers of all types. The current La Fonda was built in 1922 on the site of previous inns, and it has a long history of interesting stories attached to it. The Honorable John P. Slough was shot in the hotel lobby, and a salesman jumped to his death right outside the gambling hall. Guests here say they have seen these ghosts and other former visitors to the hotel. A place this old almost has to be haunted, right?
4. The Logan Inn: New Hope, Pennsylvania
The Logan Inn was built in 1722, and it’s one of the oldest inns continuously in use in the United States. This colonial-era tavern and inn has a very long history, and everyone’s got a story about something strange they’ve seen here. Guests have reported to seeing on spirit wearing colonial clothing, and many say they’ve seen Revolutionary War soldiers moving around the halls. There are even guests who’ve said they saw none other than Aaron Burr himself at the hotel. If you don’t start to feel scared when you tuck in for the night here, read some of the real-life ghost stories that have been documented at the inn. Lots of paranormal researchers have been here over the years, and many believe this place is absolutely haunted by its own past.
3. The Frying Pan Tower: Atlantic Ocean, North Carolina
It’s not luxurious, but the Frying Pan Tower is one of the most unique hotels in the world. It’s 85 feet above the blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean because it’s a former Coast Guard light station. You can hardly find a hotel room with a more remarkable ocean view. It’s 34 miles off the North Carolina Coast, so you can only get here by boat or helicopter. Talk about getting away from it all. However, the darn thing is absolutely frightening to look at — let alone stepping into it. If you can face being perched on top of the ocean, you can take advantage of the pool table, telescope and incredible sunset views offered here.
2. Airth Castle: Stirlingshire, Scotland
There is definitely something forbidding about Airth Castle. Built in the 14th century and owned by the family of Robert the Bruce, today this medieval castle is a very modern hotel with a very old past. For hundreds of years, Airth Castle has seen people come and go. Maybe not all of them have left. Locals still talk about the terrible fire that killed at least three people who were living here, and some say theses souls still haunt the castle. Today, guests say they’ve heard ghostly children playing in the halls and caught glimpses of a nanny eternally caring for them.
1. The Hay-Adams: Washington, D.C.
The Hay-Adams may be the most famous hotel in a famous city, and over the years its list of pasts guest has turned into a veritable Who’s Who of politics. The parcel of land where the hotel now sits belongs to John Hay and Henry Adams. The hotel was built in 1927, but it never escaped its tragic past. Marian Hooper Adams, Henry’s wife, committed suicide on the site in 1885 and people say her spirit still haunts the halls of the hotel. Some guests have heard a female voice crying, but can never find her if they go looking for her in the halls.
You might never want to stay in these terrifying hotels, but you might enjoy a short visit to them…for a little while.
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