Looking for a spooky place to spend Halloween or do you just want as little sleep as possible during your vacation? Either way, we’ve rounded up 10 of the most haunted hotels in the world for you to check into if you want to see which spirits, specters, and souls haven’t checked out.
1. The Riccarton Racecourse Hotel, Christchurch, New Zealand
Let’s kick this list off with a haunted hotel that houses an unsolved mystery. In 1933, a man named Donald Fraser was shot to death in the Riccarton Racecourse Hotel. At the time, it was a most in-depth police investigation in the country’s history and remains unsolved to this day. Perhaps you can get some answers if you visit the hotel and see the ghost of Fraser. Guests claim his disembodied ghost roams the hallways, making it one of the most haunted buildings in New Zealand.
2. The Hollywood Roosevelt, California, USA
Hollywood royalty hung out at the Hollywood Roosevelt in Los Angeles circa the mid-1900s, particularly the Blonde Bombshell. The iconic Marilyn Monroe actually lived in the hotel for two years. In the 1980s, the hotel underwent renovations and the Hollywood heroes of yesterday apparently didn’t dig the new decor.
Marilyn Monroe, Montgomery Clift, and a number of other unknown ghosts have been seen dancing in the Blossom Ballroom, hanging by the pool, wandering the hallways, and spending the night in Clift’s room 928.
Plan a party: The best US cities to celebrate Halloween in
3. The Maldron Hotel, Cork, Ireland
You can pretty much bet that whenever a hotel was formerly a hospital, there’s bound to be at least one ghost who won’t get out. That much can be said about The Maldron Hotel in Cork, Ireland. The former hospital opened in 1720 and closed relatively recently in 1987. Not all of the souls made it out before the doors locked.
Planning to use the gym during your visit? Fair warning: it was once the mortuary and equipment tends to malfunction. Some rooms have TVs that turn on by themselves, others like room 325 are sealed off permanently due to spooky shenanigans. And if you see a woman begging for help in the hallway? Well, she might not be “all there” in every sense of the phrase.
See for yourself: 11 European cities to celebrate Halloween in
4. 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa, Akansas, USA
Regularly regarded as the most haunted hotel in the United States (and as good of a reason as any to visit Arkansas) the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa is also considered the symbol of the state’s hospitality.
Tell that to the ghosts.
Depending on what you consider hospitable, the hotel truly welcomes all guests, including the variety of ghosts that allegedly haunt the space. Room 218 is one of the most paranormally active in the hotel, seeing as a stone mason is said to have died there.
Room 419 is lively with the dead as well; the hotel was once an experimental cancer hospital and 419’s Theodora and Dr. Baker has been seen. Employees also regularly report seeing Victorian-era ghosts in the common spaces. There are seriously too many ghost stories to go over in a single article which is why the hotel gladly gives ghost tours.
5. The Nottingham Road Hotel, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa
With a cute name like the Notties, you’d think few naughty deeds could go down at South Africa’s Nottingham Road Hotel. As a matter of fact, the ghost that haunts these KZN halls is sometimes referred to as Miss Nottie. The fable behind Charlotte, a so-called friendly ghost, is that she might have been a chambermaid or just a guest who was a little too friendly.
Presumably, a man did not appreciate her friendliness and that’s where you need to finish the story. One version says the jilted woman threw herself over her room’s balcony. Another version suggests there might have been another literal hand at play. Perhaps you can ask ol’ Nottie Lotte herself when you stay.
6. Himeji Castle, Hyogo, Japan
We rarely envision castles in Japan, though film buffs and cult horror fans will already know why Himeji Castle is notable. Hyogo’s “White Heron” has a dark legend, one which went on to inspire the movie, The Ring. Built in the 1300s, Himeji Castle started as a rom-com when the samurai who owned it fell in love with his servant. The servant did not reciprocate the feelings and that’s where this tale takes a sinister turn. The samurai accused her of theft, a crime punishable by death, blackmailing her into accepting his advances. She refused, so he threw her down a well. An end so tragic it’ll make your heart sink, the castle today (and many moviegoer’s nightmares) is haunted by the woman returning from the well.
7. Château de Brissac, Brissac-Loire-Aubance, France
Château de Brissac, or Brissac Castle, has sat in the Loire Valley of France since the 11th century so you’d better believe that it’s seen its share of souls sticking around. Its most famous revenant, however, didn’t begin roaming the castle until the 1400s. Visit Brissac Castle and you’ll hear a ghost story about the Green Lady. Charlotte of France was married to the heir of the castle, Jacques de Breze. Jacques found out that Charlotte was more of a charlatan when he caught her and a huntsman committing not so noble acts in the bedroom. Jacques murdered them both; Charlotte, in her green dress, is said to still wander the castle’s Chapel Tower.
Save for next time: 7 haunted castles you have to visit this Halloween
8. Fairmont Banff Springs, Banff, Alberta, Canada
Banff is such a stunning part of Alberta that you’d think even the most tragic of phantoms could find peace amongst the evergreens. It seems the ghosts allegedly haunting the Fairmont Banff Springs didn’t get the memo. Apparently things that start with a ‘b’ go boo and bump in the night: babies, bellhops, and brides are the most common sightings.
A century ago, a bride-to-be stumbled down the hotel stairs to her death on her wedding day. A one-time bellhop of the hotel still shows up from time to time to assist guests, despite being off life’s payroll for decades. One writer’s colleague even claims that a crying ghost baby appeared in the hallway during a visit.
9. Gran Hotel Bolivar, Lima, Peru
Right on Plaza San Martin, the Gran Hotel Bolivar is one of the most elegant and charming hotels in Lima. Just look at its guestlist for proof: John Wayne, the Rolling Stones, and Ernest Hemmingway have caught their z’s here.
But it’s also one of the most haunted hotels in Peru.
There are multiple reports of guests seeing different female ghosts of overnighters and employees who died in the hotel (one was said to have taken a shortcut to the lobby via a window). The hotel has also closed the 5th and 6th floors due to some spooky activity. The Gran Hotel Bolivar turns 100 years old in 2024 so who knows which celebrities or specters will turn up.
We think you’ll like: The spookiest Halloween festivals around the world
10. The Stanley Hotel, Colorado, USA
The Stanley Hotel is now an iconic sight thanks to Stanley Kubrick. Used as the fictional Overlook Hotel in The Shining, the property is a real hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, just outside of Rocky Mountain National Park. You can spend the night and take a Shining-themed film tour, but The Stanley Night Tour takes you into the hotel’s real-life haunted history. Stephen King, author of The Shining, actually stayed there and had a few paranormal encounters of his own. Even before his arrival, guests as far back as 1911 have claimed the see ghosts of owner Mr. Stanley and his wife, a chambermaid named Elizabeth, cowboys, children, and more.
Feeling brave enough to explore the world’s most haunted destinations or simply enjoy the spooky silliness involved when traveling during Halloween? Don’t be afraid to browse Trafalgar’s award-winning tours, some which feature adventures to some of the most haunted hotels and towns in the world.
Have you ever stayed in a haunted hotel? Tell us about it in the comments below