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Chills and Thrills: 6 Haunted Hotels Across the United States

Oct. 25, 2018

Just in time for Halloween, a list of the spookiest stays, featuring haunted hotels and bed and breakfasts with eerie pasts.

“Any big hotels have got scandals. Just like every big hotel has got a ghost. … Hotels are superstitious places.”

These famous lines from novelist Stephen King set off visions of old hotels with long, abandoned corridors, flickering lights, spooky shadows and bursts of unexplained cold air. They also inspired us to round up a list of spooky stays that we think are worth the chills and thrills each claim to provide.

Just in time for Halloween, our list of haunted hotels features overnight stays from coast to coast, each one teeming with stories of spirits to keep you company during your stay. Whether you’re a fan of fright or a modern-day ghost hunter, we advise you to enter at your own risk when it comes to making a reservation with any of our picks below.

Ghost Ship

Haunted hotels come in many shapes and sizes.

Docked off the port of Long Beach, CA, the RMS Queen Mary is a luxury ocean liner that, during the 1930s, transported people including Winston Churchill and Clark Gable across the Atlantic. Now serving as a floating hotel, the Travel Channel states that it’s haunted by as many as 150 different spirits, including a crew member who was crushed to death and a woman in all-white who dances by herself. The ship’s 1,001 transatlantic crossings were home to 49 recorded deaths, giving some merit to the haunting reports.

B Deck is where guests can make a reservation among 347 staterooms and suites. Hallways on B Deck feature authentic wood paneling and burgundy carpet - a classic matchup that somehow always ends up giving off eerie vibes to historic spaces. Rooms on Queen Mary feature operable portholes that offer ocean views, 1930s artwork and an art deco decor that gives guests a glimpse into the past.

If brave enough, ask for Stateroom B340, the most haunted on the ship for thrill seekers. It has a large volume of recorded paranormal activity, with reports dating as far back as 1967. Amenities include a Ouija board, tarot cards and a crystal ball to amplify your stay.

Crescent Hotel & Spa

Featured nationally on Ghost Hunters and the Travel Channel, the Crescent Hotel & Spa in Eureka Springs, AR, has been dubbed by some as America’s Most Haunted Hotel. Built in 1886, the historic hotel lives in the Ozark Mountains and has quite the background - what started out as a hotel that featured a handsome stable full of horses eventually turned into a women’s college, then a hospital that was ran by a fraudulent “doctor” and back to a hotel.

Its spooky haunts include reports of flickering lights, pounding on the walls, sounds of a man falling into the ceiling and even hands coming out of the bathroom mirror - no thanks.

A $5 million renovation in September 2002 fully restored the hotel to its former glory, incorporating Victorian interior design with modern convenience. When making a reservation in one of the building’s 72 guest rooms and 12 luxury suites, ask for Michael’s room, as it’s the hotel’s most requested (and most haunted). And, if you’re already looking to make plans in 2019, the hotel hosts an annual Eureka Springs Paranormal weekend early January.

Can't take any more haunted hotels? Enjoy a quiet stay with Hotel Acoustics

Bewitched Bed and Breakfasts

Lizzie Borden House

The Lizzie Borden murder mystery puts this above many other haunted hotels.

Located 50 miles south of Boston nestled in Fall River, MA, lays the Lizzie Borden House. Built in the late 1800s, the Greek Revival house belonged to Andrew and Abby Borden, along with Borden’s grown daughters, Lizzie and Emma. On Aug. 4, 1892, Andrew and Abby were brutally murdered. Lizzie having been the only other person in the home at the time was accused of murder, however there was no conclusive proof that she was the one who committed the crime.

More than 125 years later, people still try to crack the case and the Borden home remains open to the public as a bed and breakfast and museum. Its eight rooms are named after family members and those involved with the case, the room where Abby’s murder took place is the most requested. You can book individual rooms, the entire second or third floor, or the entire house for up to 20 people.

The Lemp Mansion

A classic mansion transformed into a haunted hotel.

What was once a stately mansion and brewery office to the Lemp family in St. Louis, is now a bed and breakfast that features a dinner theater and restaurant. Built in the 1860s, the original structure was a 33-bedroom house that underwent several renovations and expansions, making it a striking Victorian home.

Its owners, various members of the Lemp family, dominated the St. Louis beer market before the Prohibition era. Many say it’s haunted by members of the Lemp family, four of whom committed suicide within its walls.

Several of the original details still remain in the bed and breakfast, including iron gates, a decorative mantle made of Italian marble in the former brewery office, and a parlor featuring a hand-painted ceiling and intricately carved mantles of African mahogany. You can book one of the four available rooms any night of the week.

Beyond Haunted Hotels ► Printsburgh Wallpaper Finds Beauty in Imperfections

Classics with a Spirited History

Room 217, Please

Does this haunted hotel look familiar?

Overlooking Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park, CO, the Stanley Hotel is a familiar sight those who enjoy classic horror. Made famous by Stephen King’s The Shining, the Stanley Hotel is famous for both its world charm and creepy haunts. The 142-room structure opened July 4, 1909, and still runs strong today. Its features include a restaurant, spa, and bed and breakfast.

Following the publication and later film adaption of The Shining, the Stanley Hotel gained a reputation of being haunted. Stories include children running the halls, lights turning on and off, and mysterious piano music played late at night.

Originally built as a Colonial Revival style, the current Stanley Hotel features historic hotel rooms, updated boutique rooms, apartment-style rooms and fully equipped condominium residences. While room 217 is the most iconic suite, other ghost hunter favorites include rooms 401, 407 and 428.

A High-Profile Haunt

Located in New York City, Hotel Chelsea - or simply the Chelsea - was primarily known for its high-profile guests throughout its prime years. Built in the 1880s, the Chelsea’s doors welcomed numerous artists, actors, musicians and writers throughout its 250 units, but high-profile guests led to high profile scandals.

The hotel has been the site of infamous celebrity deaths such as that of poet/writer Dylan Thomas and musician Sid Vicious’ girlfriend Nancy Spungen. Along with seeing their ghosts, guests claim to have personal items moved, feel random cold and hot spots, and hear untouched drawers and windows open.

The hotel closed in 2011 to begin extensive renovations and is expected to open in early 2019. It will consist of 125 to 130 rooms, including hotel rooms, 30 new one- and two-bedroom rentals and 50 apartments for current tenants. It will also feature a restaurant, greenhouse, various artwork, rooftop gym and spa.

Click here ► More Spooky (and Normal) Design Coverage

About the Author

Adrian Schley | Associate Editor

Adrian Schley is an Associate Editor for i+s, where she has been covering the commercial interior design industry since 2018. Her work can also be found in BUILDINGS and Meetings Today. 

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