Scare yourself silly this season by booking a vacation in a haunted hotel. These seven properties all have a paranormal past. One resides next to the grave of a famous voodoo queen. Another tells the chilling tale of a child spirit. And then there’s a place so haunted that a famous horror writer sought inspiration there.
It’s not every day you might get turndown service from a ghost, so if you’re looking for a side of scary stories during your next stay, these luxury hotels should be on your bucket list.
Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
There’s a certain magic about Alberta’s Banff National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is undoubtedly beautiful with its mountain views and dense forest, but it has a ghostly side, too — namely, its Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Scottish-castle-style hotel built in 1888.
The most famous of these haunting tales involves the Ghost Bride, an apparition of a woman in her wedding dress. As the story goes, the bride was walking down one of the hotel’s marble staircases en route to her wedding when something startled her and she slipped, falling down the steps to her death. Many guests and staff have seen the wispy white woman wandering around this area, harmless and stoic, but still spooky.
The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans
The Big Easy has long been a popular haunt for those searching for spooky sightings, weird happenings and a culture that embraces the macabre. Get a taste of it all when you check into this Four-Star Crescent City stay, located just a few blocks from the tomb of legendary voodoo priestess Marie Laveau in St. Louis Cemetery No. 1.
You can’t visit this historic graveyard on your own, but you can explore this spot and many other sinister sites when you book a tour with an approved guide, such as French Quarter Phantoms.
After a haunting night, indulge in the Four-Star spa’s Voodoo Ritual, a full-body massage using a locally crafted herbal poultice featuring notes of absinthe, moss, cypress and other French Quarter aromas.
Be sure to book your stay over Halloween weekend to partake in a haunted gingerbread-house-making party on October 27.
Though Aspen may be a modern celebrity hangout come winter, its mining roots are not quite so glamorous. Long before it became a chic Four-Star retreat, the 1880s-era Hotel Jerome offered cheap rooms for prospectors, and the place became busy from the get-go.
Formerly a town hot spot, the property’s original pool was supposedly the scene of a ghastly accident in 1936, when a 10-year-old boy drowned. Decades later, guests and workers still see the apparition of “water boy,” both as a ghostly child in a towel and through his wet footprints wandering down the corridors of the third floor.
But that’s not the only paranormal activity reported on this level — especially in room 310, where the boy’s family was said to have stayed. Incidents have included ghostly pranks, such as messing with thermostats, sinks filling with water and other childish antics.
Rest assured that if you get too scared, you can always calm your nerves with a stiff drink at J-Bar. And with a new pool built next to the original hotel, maybe the ghost can finally get some rest, too.
One of the most famously haunted properties in the United States, this Estes Park, Colorado, hotel is perhaps best-known as the inspiration behind Stephen King’s classic horror novel, The Shining. Request room 217 to spend the night where the story came to life.
To get a sense of the property’s colorful past, book the Night Spirit Tour. This 75-minute jaunt takes you around the more active areas of the hotel accompanied by plenty of folklore and tales of paranormal activity.
For an even more lively way to celebrate the lodging’s legacy, snag some tickets to The Shining Ball, the hotel’s annual Halloween party. On October 20, get spooked with two floors of festivities, including a silent disco in Jack’s Attic (upstairs) and a 1920s-themed jazz lounge on the lower floor. The evening promises immersion actors appearing as characters from the 1980 film adaptation and a massive costume contest offering up to $1,500 in prizes.
The Shelbourne Dublin, A Renaissance Hotel
If your stay at this Forbes Travel Guide Recommended property feels a little cryptic, you’re in good company. In 2013, actress Lily Collins claimed she was visited by the ghost of a child here, an experience that paranormal experts can back up.
It turns out, the sixth floor of this 19th-century building is haunted by Mary Masters, a seven-year-old girl who died during Dublin’s 1846 cholera outbreak in her home that formerly occupied the site of the modern-day hotel. The 172-year-old spirit is in no hurry to leave, and rightfully so given the luxury property has upgraded her old accommodations with brocade highlights, pillow-top mattresses, marble bathrooms and lovely views of the nearby park.
Legend has it that the spirit that haunts the Lafayette Square property is that of Marian “Clover” Adams, the wife of Henry Adams, whose home occupied the spot where the hotel now stands. Speculation says her apparent suicide was actually murder and it’s the reason why this lovely ghost can’t seem to leave the fourth floor of the hotel.
Don’t be surprised if, while alone in your elegant, colonial-style room, you hear the sound of a woman crying softly or the vague murmurings of someone asking, “What do you want?” That’s just Adams looking for a little attention. According to the staff, she has even been known to reach out her wispy arms to give a gentle hug.
Built on the grounds that used to house Camp Abbot (a former World War II training facility in Oregon), this rustic-yet-luxurious getaway opened in the late 1960s. While most of the former camp was demolished to make way for the hotel, the Officer’s Club remained and now boasts the property’s Great Hall.
It’s here many guests have claimed to see the apparition of an officer standing right next to the resort’s stunning stone fireplace. Take a break from the spa and hiking around the Cascade Mountain range to stake out this spot with the hopes of making his acquaintance — don’t worry about getting terribly scared, though; the staff assures that he is a friendly spirit.