From gothic castles to hotels that inspired iconic horror novels, uncover the bloodthirsty histories and resident ghosts of these supernatural hotels – bookable for the brave, on Culture Trip.
If you love urban legends that start with, ‘Rumour has it…’ or ‘Some people say’ – well, you’re in the right place. A stay at one of these spots may well end with a goosebump-inducing encounter or a rude awakening by things that go bump in the night. Still up for it? Then take a look at these spooky spots, from Melbourne to Los Angeles, and stay with the guests who never checked out…
At first glance, there’s nothing creepy about this high-altitude grand hotel near the entrance of the Rocky Mountains National Park in Colorado, USA. But a chance visit by Stephen King secured the hotel a top spot in most-haunted lists, after it inspired his bestselling novel The Shining (King stayed in room 217, if you want to request the same one – but be prepared to experience the same spooky happenings as the author). The hotel leans into its supernatural reputation with 24-hour looped film showings of The Shining, plus a resident psychic named Madam Vera and a Night Spirit tour that explores the hotel’s ‘dark edges’ and ‘active phenomena’. Ooh-err.
Lumley Castle (in County Durham, England) has everything you’d expect a 600-year-old English castle to be kitted out with: four-poster beds, roll-top baths, grand fireplaces and its very own ghost. Poor Lily was thrown down a well, so the story goes, after refusing to convert to Catholicism and her restless spirit has allegedly haunted the castle ever since. While some hotels are quick to downplay their ghostly visitors, Lumley Castle embraces its apparition, with a Lily of Lumley themed Escape Room on the premises. That’s if you’re brave enough to lock yourself in a room with a ghost…
Castle Leslie, in County Monaghan, is one of the last Irish castles still owned by its founding family. And not even death can stop some of those family members from hanging around. Sightings include a ghostly monk and the sounds of children crying, but the ominously named Red Room takes the most haunted top spot after a visitation by a spectral soldier in 1914. Ghosts aside, the Red Room promises a sumptuous stay with a wood-panelled bath, eccentric throne toilet, and picturesque lake views – perfect for anyone who doesn’t mind sharing with some uninvited extras.
A swish, modern building, the Grand Hyatt Taipei has all the luxuries you’d expect of its cosmopolitan location in the Taiwanese capital. On the surface, there’s nothing eerie about this place at all. Yet urban legend claims it was built on the site of a prisoner-of-war camp, which has led to ghostly happenings. Local historians have disproved this theory, but it hasn’t stopped the stories of mysterious knocking and flushing toilets at night, including the time martial arts star Jackie Chan fled the building at 3am after a spooky encounter.
A favourite among LA’s Golden Era actors and the big-name stars of today, The Hollywood Roosevelt is even haunted by celebrity ghosts. There are several resident spectres: the most famous being a certain blonde-haired starlet who appears in the mirror behind unsuspecting guests. If you’re open to being assailed by gorgeous ghosts, book a stay in her namesake Marilyn Monroe Suite, then while away your day by the David Hockney-painted pool, where Marilyn shot her first ever ad.
During the day, this luxury spa hotel in Kent, UK, looks like something from a period drama – complete with traditional afternoon teas and a croquet lawn. However, come nightfall, you may well spot a mysterious lady in a white gown. She’s regularly glimpsed by staff members and held responsible for the noises and footsteps emanating from empty rooms. But she’s not the only ghost to make a regular appearance; there’s also a horseman from the nearby hamlet of Eastwell, who is said to ride past the house and straight into the lake.
Predating both the Savoy in London and the Ritz in Paris, the Hotel Windsor in Melbourne, Australia has had its fair share of guests over time, including some who decided to make its corridors their eternal resting place. Famous soprano Dame Nellie Melba used the hotel to rendezvous with her secret lovers. It’s said that her singing can still be heard echoing along the corridors, so think twice before belting out your favourite hits in the shower at night, lest you give your fellow guests a scare.
The sunny facade of the Dalen Hotel looks like the setting of a Disney movie – but you won’t hear any fairy tales at this haunted Norweigan hotel. Instead, a morbid story from the 19th century hails from here. In it, an English woman named Miss Greenfield gave birth in the now infamous room 17. When staff finally broke down the barricaded door, they discovered a dead child. Miss Greenfield took her own life before her trial and apparently, her ghost still haunts the hotel – in particular, disturbing male guests who sleep in her old room.
For such a stunning mountainous location, Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Canada, has seen more than its fair share of murders and tragedies. One of the hotel’s most famous apparitions is the Ghost Bride, a young woman who tripped and fell to her untimely death on a marble staircase. You’ll find her in her white veil and gown, twirling on the dancefloor. A decidedly less creepy ghost is the helpful old bellman, Sam, who’s most likely to appear from beyond the grave to help with your bags.
Overlooking Spain’s Andalusian countryside, this Arab fortress plays home to two notable spirits. The first dates back to a time when the fortress housed prisoners instead of paying guests, where a ghost nicknamed ‘Terrible Lizard’ starved to death. Another ghost was discovered in room 22, when a guest woke in the middle of the night to the sound of crying. The psychics who investigated confirmed the spectre was a woman who died of heartbreak many centuries ago.
Originally a private home, Hotel Meson de Jobito has had many iterations – including a market and stable – before becoming a hotel. Today, guests check in to experience the harmless paranormal occurrences. Stay up listening to the eerie sounds of footsteps, children laughing and neighing horses. And if you still happen to be awake at 4am, you might catch a glimpse of original owner Don Jobito who died in room 107 and has been spotted standing in the window.