Most haunted Halloween hotels: Top ten spooky retreats

Most haunted Halloween hotels: Top ten spooky retreats
29th October 2009
Mail Online

Creaking floorboards, icy drafts, loud banging noises, the bloodcurdling screams of fellow guests…these are normally the sort of things we’d be straight on the phone to hotel reception to complain about but come 31st October and they’re suddenly selling points, a must for any ghostly getaway.

So if you fancy experiencing a night at a haunted castle - complete with torture chamber and dungeon - or sharing your suite with the ghost of Marilyn Monroe, TravelMail has put together a compendium of haunted hotels from around the world for that extra special Halloween holiday...

The Stanley Hotel, Rocky Mountain National Park, U.S.

A prolonged stay in a deserted old hotel deep in the Rocky Mountain National Park would make anyone’s imagination run wild and Stephen King’s visit to this now famous Colorado hotel provided him with plenty of material for his horror tome The Shining.

The Stanley Hotel shows the uncut R-rated version of Stanley Kubrick’s film version of the book on continuous loop on one of the channels on the guest room televisions and the hotel celebrates its literary horror heritage with regular ghost tours of the hotel and its underground tunnels.

Fans of the book should request room 217, the room King and his wife stayed in, which is said to be haunted by the ghost of a hotel maid as well as a small boy calling for his nanny.

The fourth floor though is ‘ghoul central’ with countless examples of unexplained activity, including lights turning on and off by themselves, noises emanating from unused elevators and ghostly children playing in the corridors.

The hotel’s previous owner Freelan Oscar Stanley is said to haunt room 407 with guests having reported seeing a face at the window of the now unoccupied room. Stanley’s wife Flora is also said to haunt the music room downstairs where she can often be heard tinkling the ivories.

333 Wonderview Avenue, Estes Park, CO 80517. Visit or email
Chillingham Castle, Northumberland, UK

This castle regularly tops the list of most haunted castles in Britain and spooky residents include the 'Blue Boy' and a wandering 'Lady Mary'.

The property was the first line of defence against a Scottish invasion during Edward I’s reign and has a particularly bloody history. Many traitors where hung, drawn and quartered and their heads displayed on the city gates as a warning to others.

The dungeon is a particular hotspot for otherworldly activity. Prisoners were thrown down a 20ft hole there and left to die and it has been reported that if you look down through the grate covering the hole you can see the remains of a young girl looking back up at you.

The spirit of the castle torturer, John Sage, is said to haunt the torture chamber, where his toe-curling implements are on display, including a stretching rack, boiling pot and a barrel.

The bloodcurdling wails of Blue Boy, a child who is said to have been buried in the walls of the castle, can be heard at midnight while the ghost of Lady Mary Berkeley is said to roam the castle searching for her husband, who ran off with her sister.

Guests have reported hearing the rustle of her dress as she rushes past the turret stairs.

Chillingham, Alnwick, Northumberland, NE 66 5NJ. For more information visit or email:

Hotel Burchianti, Florence, Italy

Many say that stepping into Florence is like stepping back in time, yet anyone looking to make their historical encounters more of a close encounter this October should look no further than the city's Hotel Burchianti.

The property, which was a centre of Italian culture in the 1930s when it played host to an array of Italian poets, singers and politicians - including the Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, also has some guests of a more apparitional nature.

Visitors have reported seeing the ghost of a child skipping down the corridors, a women knitting in a chair, and a maid who still wakes up before dawn to continue with her cleaning duties in the early hours.

The most spine-chilling area though is the hotel’s Fresco Room where guests have reported the feeling of being watched and the sensation of icy breath. It is enough to send a shiver down the spine of even the most unflappable guest.

Hotel Burchianti, Via del Giglio, 8 - 50123 Firenze - Italy. For more information, visit, or email
Queen Mary, Los Angeles, U.S.

This grand old liner has taken its nickname the ‘Grey Ghost’ to heart. The luxury ship was bought by the city of Long Beach in 1967 and transformed into a permanently docked hotel where several guests have reported having their timbers well and truly shivered.

Ghostly sightings have been recorded across the ship, including the swimming pool, which is said to be haunted by the ghosts of two guests who drowned there.

A young woman in a white dress has been spotted in the Queen’s salon, a man in a 1930s suit spotted hanging out in the First Class Suites and so many disturbances have been reported in cabin B340 that it is no longer rented out.

Knocking and banging noises have also been heard from the engine room where a 17-year-old sailor was crushed to death trying to escape a fire and guests say they have heard screams coming from the kitchen where a cook was, well, cooked by a burning stove.

The ship is such a hive of paranormal activity it now has its own Paranormal Research Center as well as a ‘Ghosts & Legends show’ – a daily special effects display that dramatises paranormal activities including wet footprints that mysteriously appear by the pool as women in vintage bathing suits visit for dip.

1126, Queen’s Highway, Long Beach, CA 90802. Visit or email:

Crescent Hotel, Arkansas, U.S.

This hotel boldly claims to be the most haunted hotel in America. Located on the site of a former hospital ward, employees have reported spotting the spirits of former patients roaming the corridors, including a little boy who switches cutlery from the dining room to the kitchen.

Room 218 is said to be the most haunted room, home supposedly to the ghost of a stone-cutter who fell to his death there. The toilet is said to flush on its own, lights flash on and off and guests are woken in the middle of the night by a ghostly hand pushing into their backs.

If all this sounds like fun, the hotel is offering a Paranormal Pair package, which includes two nights at the hotel, plus ghost tour tickets, and the chance to spend a night in the former hospital morgue.

1886, Crescent Hotel & Spa, 75 Prospect Avenue, Eureka Springs AR 72632. Visit or email:
The Russell Hotel, Sydney, Australia

Anyone heading to Australia this Halloween who wants to take in the spooky side of Sydney should check in at the Russell Hotel.

The hotel, which was formerly a sailors' hostel and is situated in The Rocks, Sydney's oldest district, is thought to contain a seafaring guest who seems somewhat reluctant to check out.

Stories which date back to colonial times suggest that Room 8 is still the residence of a spectral seaman who has been known to stand and stare at guests.

The ocean-faring apparition also has a tendency to patrol the hotel at night, with staff and guests reporting the sounds of creaking floorboards only to find no-one there when they have gone to investigate the noise.

The Russell Hotel, 143a George Street, The Rocks, Sydney. For more information visit: or email:
Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Banff, Canada

The Russell Hotel in Sydney isn’t alone in having a particular hold over previous residents.

A former employee at The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, in Banff, Canada was so taken by his job that he continues to help out at the hotel even in the afterlife.

The ghost of Sam Macaulay, a former bellhop who died shortly after he was forced to retire in 1978, has been seen on numerous occasions wandering the hallways of the ski resort hotel to give guests a helping hand.

Some visitors have even attested to being let into their rooms by a helpful white-haired man after losing their keys, while others claim the bellhop also offered to carry their luggage.

405 Spray Avenue, Banff, Alberta, Canada, T1L1J4. For more information visit email:
Hollywood Roosevelt, Los Angeles, U.S.

If you like your ghouls to have a bit more glamour head for the Hollywood Roosevelt where, if rumours are to be believed, you could be sharing your room with none other than Marilyn Monroe, or rather the spirit of the glamorous star.

Guests and staff have reported seeing a blonde woman staring back at them in the mirror located in Monroe’s namesake suite, where she lived for two years while her modelling career took off.

Meanwhile, From Here To Eternity star Montgomery Clift, who stayed at the hotel during the making of the classic movie, is said to pace the hallway outside his former room on the 9th floor, rehearsing his lines and playing his bugle.

There have also been reports of a mystery man dressed in black skulking around the hotel’s ballroom where the first Oscars ceremony was held in 1929.

7000 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, CA 90028. Visit or email
The Rose Hall Great House, Montego Bay, Jamaica

Newlyweds planning a Caribbean holiday will probably want to avoid Jamaica’s Rose Hall, lest they fall foul of the Georgian Mansion’s most famous resident.

The great house, which was built in 1770 became the residence of one Annie Palmer, in 1820. The feisty wife of John Rose Palmer ruled with an iron fist and legend has it that the cunning mistress sent three of her husbands to the grave; poisoning her first, stabbing and pouring boiling oil into the ears of her second, and strangling the third.

People say that the former mistress has been seen wandering the halls of Rose House, possibly looking for her next victim...

Rose Hall P.O. Box 1 | St. James, Jamaica, W.I. | Tel 1-888-rosehal (767-3425) For more information visit:
Elvey Farm, Pluckley, Kent, UK

The Guinness Book of Records recognises Pluckley as the ‘most haunted village in England’, with more ghost sightings than any other, including the wraith of Red Lady Derring, which wanders the churchyard along with a phantom white dog.

Elvey Farm, which opened as a B&B in the 1980s, appears to be at the centre of many of these sightings and its dairy is home to the ghost of farmer Edward Brett, who shot himself there in 1900.

The ghost of Robert Du Bois, a highwaymen who stabbed himself to death, is said to haunt the guest lounge and other creepy apparitions include a strange old man who looks like Stalin and hangs out in the barn.

The village is such a hub of paranormal activity that a special ‘Paranormal Pluckley’ weekend is being planned to coincide with Halloween that will offer ghost hunters a sightseeing tour with a difference.

Elvey Lane, Pluckley, Kent, TN27 0SU. Visit or email:

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