Sleeping on vacation is overrated—if you prefer waking up to an invisible hand caressing your hair, we’ve got just the accommodations for you! These eerie estates, harrowing hotels, and shadowy inns are all sure to give you a probably-traumatic good time.
The Hawthorne Hotel: Salem, Massachusetts
Any list of haunts without at least one location in Salem, Massachusetts, is bogus. Due to the infamous 1692-1693 Salem Witch Trials and subsequent hanging of 20 innocent people accused of witchcraft, there’s no likelier place for spirit unrest.
Located on the historic Washington Square and named for the town’s most famous writer, Nathanial Hawthorne, the Hawthorne Hotel opened in 1925. In the 1970s, the classic TV show, Bewitched, even filmed several episodes here. Hey, if it’s witchy enough for Samantha, that’s good enough for us!
Reported activity includes furniture that moves by itself, and a female spirit who aimlessly wanders the halls. Other loud nighttime noises are attributed to rowdy Salem sea captains (who built most of the surrounding structures) returning home after a night of carousing.
Some guests have claimed to smell apples, only to find out later the land on which the hotel sits used to be an apple orchard owned by Bridget Bishop—one of the first victims of the Witch Trials.
Room 612 is purported to be the most haunted. The spectral woman who wanders the halls has been seen pausing in front of this door. Guests who stay in this room often report feeling “a presence.”
In Room 325, faucets and lights inexplicably turn on and off. People have additionally reported hearing a baby crying, and the sensation of being touched, only to turn and see no one.
The hotel has 93 rooms and six suites starting at $189 per night. Two restaurants are on-site: the award-winning, pub-style Tavern On the Green, and the more formal Nathanial’s. The hotel hosts a Halloween Ball every year, but it does sell out quickly, so book your tickets for 2020 now!
The Hollywood Roosevelt: Los Angeles
Located on Hollywood Boulevard, right by the historic Walk of Fame, this grande dame has the most famous ghosts of all. Chock-full of Hollywood history (the first Academy Awards were held here in 1929), the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel is also jammed with spirits of stars from decades past.
Marilyn Monroe has quite a busy afterlife in Hollywood—people claim to see her gorgeous ghost all over town. However, the star did stay at the Roosevelt often while her various homes were being renovated or redecorated. She also met third husband, Arthur Miller, in the Cinegrill bar at the hotel. In fact, Monroe’s first job as a professional model was at the Roosevelt’s pool. Guests have reported seeing a woman they believed to be Monroe striking poses in the pool area for a photographer only she can see.
When people look in the mirror that hangs in the lobby, some have claimed to see Monroe, primping and putting on makeup behind them. When they turn around, however, no one is there. Oddly enough (or not), the mirror used to hang in her suite.
Montgomery Clift is said to haunt the ninth floor. He stayed in Room 928 while filming From Here to Eternity. For his role, Clift had to learn to play the bugle and would often rehearse in his room. Guests in this room often report hearing someone playing the trumpet.
Another blonde bombshell, Carole Lombard, has been spotted around the hotel. She and her husband, Clark Gable, once lived in the three-floor penthouse. You can stay there, too, if you’re brave enough . . . to call for the rate.
Other spine-tingling apparitions include a man who plays the piano in the ballroom, and a little girl named Caroline, who plays and sings in the lobby.
Some guests have been locked out of their rooms and pushed into closets. And, if you try to film any of the phenomena, you might find that your electronics fail.
The hotel has 300 guest rooms and suites in the Tower and cabana rooms near the pool. Pricing starts at around $300 per night.
If the Roosevelt is booked, just head around the corner and check into The Biltmore—another hotel famous for housing departed glitterati.
The Stanley Hotel: Estes Park, Colorado
If you spend just one night at the Stanley Hotel, you’ll understand why it inspired one of the scariest books and movies of all time. The story of Stephen King’s stay in Room 217 (which became Room 237 in the book) is legendary. If the Master of Horror found this place unsettling, that’s good enough for us!
About an hour outside Denver in Estes Park, Colorado, the Stanley is surrounded by stunning views of the Rocky Mountains. When it comes to the more incorporeal guests, let’s just say a few never got the memo about sexual harassment. One Irish rogue the staff calls Lord Dunraven, likes to caress young ladies’ backsides. It even happens during tours when the guide talks about him. He doesn’t much care for men, though, and tends to steal their watches and jewelry. There’s also a cowboy who likes to kiss women on the forehead.
In addition to these pervy poltergeists, there are some helpful shades, as well. A spirit believed to be a former maid unpacks traveler’s suitcases and lines up their shoes at the end of their beds while they’re out. In Room 407, people have reported being “tucked in” after they’ve kicked off their covers at night. Perhaps they didn’t kick them off, though—it’s rumored that a mischievous little boy spirit likes to tug them off of sleeping guests.
The spirit of 13-year-old Lucy is most active in the concert hall. She flicks the lights and will answer questions and interact with ghosthunters.
Halloween is (obviously) one of the busiest times to visit The Stanley. Rooms start at around $209 per night. When you book, do make sure your room is in the hotel proper, and not the Aspire rooms or residences that are also on the property.
You’ll want to stop in the gift shop, where you can find countless items to help you get your Shine on (like we did).
A day tour recounts the history of the land and hotel, but the real fun starts after dark. Enjoy a fabulous dinner at the Cascades Restaurant and Lounge, grab your EMF meter, and then join the night tour. You’ll get the skinny on all the specters who wander the burgundy halls.
Afterward, stop in the gorgeous Whiskey Bar for a Redrum Punch if you need some liquid courage before heading to your probably (most definitely) haunted room.
But, hey—if you’re feeling uneasy, just see what’s on TV. Oh, it’s The Shining! The film is shown on several of the hotel’s channels, 24 hours a day. Sleep tight!
Hotel Provincial, New Orleans
You’re spoilt for choice if you’re up for some supernatural fun in New Orleans. Actually, it would be more difficult to find a location that isn’t haunted in the Crescent City. When it comes to phantom-infested accommodations, though, the Hotel Provincial doesn’t disappoint.
Nestled in the French Quarter, a mere block from the mighty Mississippi River, this quaint hotel somehow manages to offer its guests a secluded hideaway smack in the middle of a very lively city.
The more spectral guests seem to prefer Building Five, where an 18th-century military hospital once stood. Some of the Provincial’s other buildings served as a Civil War hospital. Given the history, it’s unsurprising many of the reported spirits are (were) in the armed forces.
The soldier in one room prefers rock music and will change the radio station if a guest switches it. One group of guests were sufficiently startled when the elevator doors opened on a gruesome hospital scene rather than their floor.
Others, including members of the housekeeping staff, have reported bloodstains that appear and disappear on bedding. Groans—most likely those of suffering soldiers—are reported regularly, too.
People have reported seeing apparitions next to their beds and feeling someone touch their shoulders while they sleep. One woman claims her bed started shaking like there was an earthquake. It got so bad, she had to jump in bed with her sleeping roommate.
At this writing, if you plan to stay more than one night, a room at the Hotel Provincial starts at $254 per night.
Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast/Museum: Fall River, Massachusetts
Way before Steven Avery, Michael Peterson, and O.J. Simpson, there was Lizzie Borden. The case remains one of the most famous in American history, and Lizzie, one of the most baffling suspects. Did this quiet, churchgoing young woman brutally murder her father and stepmother with a hatchet in 1892?
Well, someone did, and if you’re really morbid (and have $300), you can spend the night in the bedroom where poor Abby Borden met her ghastly end.
The Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast/Museum states on its website that few people last an entire night, and they don’t refund for early fleeing—er—departures.
A magnet for both history and paranormal lovers, the house is decorated the same way it was when the Bordens lived there. If knowing the grisly history of the place isn’t enough, the actual crime scene photos, as well as scattered hatchets and Ouija boards, add to the already-sinister ambiance.
The staff says the house is haunted not only by the Bordens, but also by several children who died across the street, and a cat.
The house has two suites and four double rooms, the cheapest of which is $250. For an additional $35, you can begin your stay with a night tour of the house.
17 Hundred 90 Inn and Restaurant: Savannah, Georgia
Savannah consistently (and quite correctly) appears in a prominent position on lists of the most haunted U.S. cities. Like New Orleans, you’d be hard-pressed to find a building here that isn’t the home of an apparition or two.
One such building is the 17 Hundred 90 Inn and Restaurant. Like most inns with guests who’ve “checked out” but never checked out, the staff is on a first-name basis with the spirits.
Anna, a young lady who jumped from the third floor of the Inn when her sailor lover didn’t return to her, is the most famous presence at the 17 Hundred 90. She’s most often in Room 204, which was her bedroom in the late 1700s/early 1800s.
People have witnessed the usual flickering lights and banging noises, but Anna is also known to turn on the fireplace in her room. She likes to steal ladies’ jewelry, too. One couple said they locked and chained the door before going to bed, only to find it completely unlocked and the chain off the next morning.
Located on E. President Street, between the historic Oglethorpe and Columbia Squares, the Inn has 14 guest rooms and a three-story guesthouse across the street. Rooms start at $154 per night.
Farnsworth House Inn: Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
The historic Farnsworth Inn is quite the TV star. It has appeared on countless shows on the History, Discovery, and Travel channels, just to name a few.
Located in the heart of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the site of the bloodiest Civil War battle, this house sheltered Confederate sharpshooters during the conflict (you can still see the bullet holes in the walls). Afterward, it served as a hospital for the wounded.
The Civil War-era décor in the guest rooms will make you feel like you’ve tumbled through a portal back in time. The waitstaff in the Meade and Lee Dining Rooms even dresses in period attire and serves period fare, like Game Pie and Grant’s Apple Bourbon Pork Chop.
Unsurprisingly, given the history of the house, most of the resident ghosts are soldiers. Guests have reported hearing music from a Jew’s harp coming from the attic, and the sound of pacing footsteps. Shadows and apparitions have been reported, as well as invisible beings sitting on beds.
A particularly corporeal spirit, believed to be the former matron of the house, is often mistaken for one of the living. Often seen in the kitchen and restaurant, she has been known to tug on the waitstaffs’ apron strings.
The Inn fully embraces its paranormal reputation, and ghost tours and walks are available daily.
The Inn has six rooms in the main house, and four Garden Rooms in the more modern building, starting at $139 per night. In addition to the Meade and Lee Dining Room, Sweney’s Tavern offers food and drinks, while the outdoor Beer Garden serves up drinks and live entertainment.
If you’re obsessed with history, fascinated by the macabre—or both—any of these delightfully ominous lodgings are sure to satisfy your fright fervor. But don’t say we didn’t warn you.