Imagine feeling your arm gently being stroked, though no one is around. Or locking eyes with an apparition at the foot of your bed. Or being delivered by elevator to a forbidden, haunted basement, even though you pushed the button for a different floor.
These are just some of the incidents reported by guests at haunted hotels across America. While ideally suited for the kinds of people who favor Halloween and horror movies, these properties also boast intriguing stories and histories that many travelers should excite in. Plus, most come with luxury amenities and access to some of the country's most popular attractions.
Here, we’ve rounded up the most horrifying (in a fun way) hotels from coast to coast. Just make sure to bring the Holy Water.
The Stanley Hotel - Estes Park, Colorado
You know a hotel is haunted when it was the real-life inspiration for a Stephen King book. The author wrote "The Shining" after staying at The Stanley Hotel in 1974 when he stayed in Room 217. Since the 1970s, several reports of paranormal activity have been documented. The original owner of the hotel, Freelan Oscar Stanley, has been known to make appearances, as has his wife, Flora. Some guests theorize that the sound of music sometimes heard coming from the ballroom is Flora playing the piano. The two have also been seen in the Billiards Room.
The hotel doesn't deny the existence of supernatural occurrences. In fact, guests can take tours to learn about the history of the 100-plus-year-old hotel and its many ghost stories.
If you're up for playing ghost hunter for a night, the property also offers several rooms that are reportedly the most paranormally active. There's Stephen King's famous 217 suite, as well as Rooms 401, 407, 428 and 1302. As these as the most requested, be sure to book well in advance. And don't forget to bring a camera, flashlight and cellphone. You know ... in case of emergency ghost sightings.
The Stanley Hotel
Scary Thought: The Stanley Hotel in the winter may evoke memories of "The Shining."
Address: 333 E Wonderview Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517
Reservations Line: 1-970-577-4000
Room Rates: Starting at $159 per night
Hotel Highlights & Amenities: *Jacuzzi tubs (select rooms) *Whiskey bar and lounge *Colorado Cherry Co. gourmet coffee and desserts
Bourbon Orleans Hotel - New Orleans
What is now the grand Bourbon Orleans Hotel opened in 1827 as a ballroom. It was later acquired by the Sisters of the Holy Family, which used the property as a school, orphanage, convent and medical ward. At the time, there was a yellow fever epidemic that took the lives of many children. The spirits of those children, as well as those of the nuns, are now said to be haunting the hotel.
One of the most frequently repeated stories is that of a little girl rolling a ball and chasing it down the corridors of the sixth floor. Some have also reported hearing light footsteps in the hallways. Others have said they’ve seen and heard a Confederate soldier on the third and sixth floors, as well as a lonely ghost dancer and a person hiding behind the curtains in the Orleans Ballroom.
Want to find out if these spirits exist? Book a Haunted History tour at the hotel. Licensed tour guide and hotel concierge John Fitzpatrick leads guests on the spooky jaunt every Thursday night.
Bourbon Orleans Hotel
Scary Thought: Clearly not afraid of its ghostly reputation, the Bourbon Orleans used this image to celebrate the 200th anniversary of its ballroom.
Address: 717 Orleans St, New Orleans, LA 70116
Reservations Line: 1-504-523-2222
Room Rates: Starting at $152 per night
Hotel Highlights & Amenities: *Located in the heart of the bustling French Quarter *Fitness center *Outdoor heated saltwater pool
Moana Surfrider - Honolulu
You can’t really blame the deceased for haunting Honolulu — who wouldn’t want to hang out in this stunning island city for eternity?
One spirit who's stuck around is Jane Stanford, co-founder of Stanford University, who can be found at the historic Moana Surfrider. In 1905, Stanford was on vacation, staying at the Moana, when she died in her room of strychnine poisoning. But she refused to leave after death.
Both guests and staff have seen Stanford, wearing a white dressing gown, walking down hallways searching for her room. And while her death is somewhat of a mystery, the reason she chose to stay behind is quite obvious. The views of the ocean from the hotel are just that magnificent.
Scary Thought: Jane Stanford, pictured here shortly before her death in 1905, is known to frequent the Moana Surfrider still.
Address: 2365 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
Reservations Line: 1-808-922-3111
Room Rates: Starting at $279 per night
Hotel Highlights & Amenities: *Fresh flower or kukui nut lei greeting *Glass of Moana elixir upon arrival *Poolside food & beverage service *Daily Hawaiian entertainment
Concord’s Colonial Inn - Concord, Massachusetts
Colonial Inn dates all the way back to 1716, when what is now the Liberty Room served as a hospital during the Revolutionary War. The current Room 24 was an operating room, and Room 27 was a morgue. It was in Room 24 where several soldiers died during surgery — which might explain the stories of paranormal activity reported by guests who've stayed there.
One such account came in June of 1966, when a newlywed couple, M.P. and Judith Fellenz, were booked in Room 24. Judith had written a letter, found by the innkeeper, that described her experience at the inn. Judith discussed seeing a ghost, saying she was woken up in the middle of the night by a presence in the room. She saw a grayish figure about four feet away from the left side of her bed. She then said it floated to the foot of the bed before slowing melting away.
Historic Hotels of America reports that other guests have reported seeing flickering lights, hearing whispers coming from the closet and watching doors slamming shut. Some guests have said they felt someone gently tucking them into bed.
Concord's Colonial Inn
Scary Thought: Sure, this room looks nice. But it won't seem so nice when you awake to a ghost at the foot of the bed.
Address: 48 Monument Square, Concord, MA 01742
Reservations Line: 1-800-370-9200
Room Rates: Starting at $109 per night
Hotel Highlights & Amenities: *Two highly rated restaurants *Salon services *Guests can choose between the historic Main Inn, dating back to 1716, and the modern Prescott Wing
Omni Parker House - Boston
Opened by Harvey Parker in 1855, the Omni Parker House is one of the most haunted hotels in New England. Parker was heavily involved with the hotel's operations until his death in 1884. Since his passing, guests have reported seeing him. Some have even said that Parker has asked them about their stay at the hotel.
But what Omni Parker House is best known for when it comes to the supernatural is being the inspiration behind Stephen King's short story, "1408," which later became a movie starring John Cusack. That book details paranormal activity similar to what’s been reported about Room 303 at Omni Parker House, including strange shadows in the room and the bathtub water turning on randomly.
The third floor tends to be the main hub for paranormal happenings at the hotel, but a bearded gentleman has also been sighted on the ninth and 10th floors. Guests have also recounted seeing orbs of light down the hallways on the 10th floor.
If you're brave enough to stay at the hotel, keep in mind that many of the ghosts are still said to linger in the rooms and hallways. If you'd rather learn about haunted encounters without potentially experiencing them directly, you can also book a Boston ghost tour instead.
Omni Parker House
Scary Thought: Visit the Omni today, and you may encounter ghostly guests who remember it from the era of this photo, in the early 1900s.
Address: 60 School St, Boston, MA 02108
Reservations Line: 1-617-227-8600
Room Rates: Starting at $224 per night
Hotel Highlights & Amenities: *Located along the iconic Freedom Trail *Fitness center *The Last Hurrah, one of Boston's best whiskey bars
Crescent Hotel & Spa - Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Officially known as the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa, this property was built with the help of an Irish stonemason named Michael, who fell to his death in 1885. His spirit is one of the famous ghosts rumored to have a presence at the hotel. Then there's Theodora, a cancer patient from the late 1930s who can't find her room key. And the woman wearing Victorian lingerie who stands at the foot of the bed in Room 3500 watching guests sleep. And let's not forget about Morris the cat.
Hauntings at the hotel are so prevalent that it hosts nightly ghost tours. Keith Scales is a professional actor and manager of the Crescent Hotel ghost tours, where he leads a cast of actors who perform live theater, sharing the stories and events of Eureka Springs and the ghostly encounters. During the tour, guests gain exclusive access to some of the most common ghost-sighting spots.
Just beware: The amount of spooky stories and rumors has led the hotel to say it's the place where some "guests have checked out, but never really left."
Crescent Hotel & Spa
Scary Thought: Even the staircase at Crescent Hotel is rumored to be haunted.
Address: 75 Prospect Ave, Eureka Springs, AR 72632
Reservations Line: 1-855-725-5720
Room Rates: Starting at $160 per night
Hotel Highlights & Amenities: *New Moon Spa & Salon *Fine-dining Crystal Dining Room with wine cellar *Sky Bar Gourmet Pizza, offering views of the Arkansas Ozarks
Hotel Monteleone - New Orleans
Located in the French Quarter, the Hotel Monteleone, a New Orleans landmark since 1886, is only one block from the city's famous Bourbon Street. It is also among the most famously spooked properties in the country.
In 2003, the International Society of Paranormal Research spent several days at the property. During this time, more than a dozen encounters were documented by the team, including one with a friendly toddler named Maurice Begere. It is said that he died from a fever in the hotel while his parents were at the opera; after, his parents returned to the hotel often, hoping that he (in spirit form) might visit them. Guests have reported seeing him near the room where he died on the 14th floor.
Guests and members of hotel staff have also documented the restaurant door opening and closing while locked and an elevator stopping on the wrong floor, leading people to a hallway that houses the ghosts of playing children.
Oh, and you'll want to think twice before greeting the housekeeping crew. A maid known as "Mrs. Clean" reportedly haunts the hotel and once told paranormal researchers that she stays because she wants to ensure high standards when it comes to hotel cleanliness.
Scary Thought: On a foggy day, Hotel Monteleone takes on an appropriately spooky aura.
Address: 214 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70130
Reservations Line: 1.866.338.4684
Room Rates: Starting at $169 per night
Hotel Highlights & Amenities: *Full-service day spa *Pet-friendly packages *Heated pool
The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel - California
In 1927, The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel opened in Hollywood and quickly became a favored playground for L.A.’s stars and iconic figures. The ghost of one starlet, Marilyn Monroe, is rumored to make frequent appearances at the boutique hotel. It's been said that she can be seen in the full-length mirror from the poolside suite (Room 1200), where she used to stay.
The spirit of actor Montgomery Clift, meanwhile, supposedly frequents Room 928, where he stayed for three months during the filming of "From Here to Eternity." The Blossom Room, where the first Academy Awards were held, has been visited by two ghosts — a man in a tuxedo and a man in a white suit.
Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel
Scary Thought: The Blossom Ballroom at Hollywood Roosevelt has been haunted by two ghosts.
Address: 7000 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028
Reservations Line: 1-323-856-1970
Room Rates: Starting at $233 per night
Hotel Highlights & Amenities: *24/7 state-of-the-art fitness center *Outdoor pool *24/7 room service
Lord Baltimore Hotel
The 22-story French Renaissance Lord Baltimore Hotel is the largest in Maryland. It stands 289 feet tall and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. And while the downtown spot is convenient for business travelers, it's also known for its stories of ghosts and paranormal activity.
A young girl, Molly, has been seen wandering the 19th floor of the hotel as she bounces a red ball; her parents' spirits have been spotted dancing in the ballroom. It is rumored that the three jumped to their death after a party during the Great Depression, not long after the hotel opened in 1928.
There have also been reports of televisions turning on and off, remotes disappearing and an elevator making trips to the 19th floor even though no buttons have been pushed. Some people have reported being touched in the elevator by unseen hands and sensing the presence of people in their hotel rooms.
Lord Baltimore Hotel
Scary Thought: The Lord Baltimore has been hosting guests since this photo was taken in 1928. And it's still hosting guests from that time now.
Address: 20 W Baltimore St, Baltimore, MD 21201
Reservations Line: 1-410-539-8400
Room Rates: Starting at $93 per night
Hotel Highlights & Amenities: *4-floor, 3,000 square-feet penthouse suites with panoramic views of downtown *Contemporary coffee house *Rooftop bar & lounge (on the 19th floor)
Omni Mount Washington Resort - Bretton Woods, New Hampshire
In the early 1900s, railroad tycoon Joseph Stickney built the Omni Mount Washington Resort. According to staff and guests at the hotel, his late wife Caroline Foster has been making appearances in spirit form there since her death in 1939.
There have been reports of a woman in a Victorian dress roaming the hallways and spending time in Room 314. The woman has been seen sitting at the edge of a bed, the same custom-made bed Caroline shared with her husband. Others have heard light taps on doors when no one is outside and seen items suddenly disappear.
The hotel was built with accommodations just for Caroline, including an indoor swimming pool and a private dining room. Perhaps she doesn't like to share and is haunting the property to claim it as hers again.
Omni Mount Washington Resort
Scary Thought: It was a dark and stormy night at the Omni Mount Washington...
Address: 310 Mount Washington Hotel Rd, Bretton Woods, NH 03575
Reservations Line: 1-603-278-1000
Room Rates: Starting at $152 per night
Hotel Highlights & Amenities: *Full-service 25,000-square-foot spa and salon *18-hole golf course *Fine & casual dining options
Emily Morgan Hotel - San Antonio
USA Today ranked the Emily Morgan Hotel the third most haunted in the world. In particular, the seventh, 12th and 14th floors, as well as the basement, are said to be spooked by ghosts; previously, these spaces have served as a psych ward, surgery center and morgue.
And just what occurs on these floors? Staff at the hotel claim that the seventh floor is inhabited by a ghost bride who sometimes wakes guests up with her high-pitched shrieks. On the 12th floor, guests have seen bathroom doors opening and shutting and lights flashing, and heard the sound of trickling water. The 14th floor has given guests reason to believe they are going insane, as they have reportedly seen a hospital waiting area upon opening the doors to the hallway, only to have the scene disappear when they open the door again.
But perhaps the freakiest paranormal phenom is when the elevators bring guests down to the basement, which is completely roped off to visitors. Front desk employees have even received unlisted phone calls from the elevator phones...when no one was inside.
Emily Morgan Hotel
Scary Thought: Darkness awaits at the Emily Morgan.
Address: 705 E Houston St, San Antonio, TX 78205
Reservations Line: 1-210-225-8486
Room Rates: Starting at $134 per night
Hotel Highlights & Amenities: *Close to the Alamo, which is also visible from some rooms, and the popular River Walk *Oro restaurant is among area’s most acclaimed dining spots *Dates back to 1924
Hawthorne Hotel - Salem, Massachusetts
It’s only fitting that Hawthorne Hotel, one of the most haunted in the U.S., is located in Salem, site of the infamous 1692 witch trials.
Frank Poor founded the Hawthorne in 1925 as a "modern hotel for the business traveler." Little did he know that it would eventually become a favorite among ghosts. Two rooms at the hotel — Room 325 and Room 621 — have the most reported incidences of supernatural activity. (Not coincidentally, Room 325 is also one of the most requested.)
Guests staying in Room 325 have heard a baby crying, seen the bathroom faucet turning on and off, and felt someone pulling blankets off the bed. In Room 621, there have been reports of a young woman in a long white dress standing outside the door and roaming the hallway. Other guests have felt ice-cold hands touch their shoulders and tug on their hair.
Curious about the other haunted happenings at this hotel? Book a stay and discover the true "witching hour" of the spirits who live there.
Scary Thought: Old portraits, like this one hanging in the rooms of the Hawthorne, cast a spooky spell.
Address: 18 Washington Square W, Salem, MA 01970
Reservations Line: 1-978-744-4080
Room Rates: Starting at $131 per night
Hotel Highlights & Amenities:* *Hosts a famous Halloween party every year *”Witch Way Package” includes tickets to Salem Witch Museum *Two highly rated onsite restaurants
Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn - California
When Ellen Brill stayed in this property near California's stunning Big Sur coast, she heard footsteps and the door shut though no one was there. The clamor, she was told, was coming from the ghost of "Grandpa Deetjen," who built the hotel in the 1930s.
The experience has no doubt informed Brill's work; she's the set designer for "American Horror Story."
Nearby Point Sur Lighthouse is also known to be haunted, by seamen and sailors. Go in October to enjoy moonlight and ghost tours.
Deetjen's Big Sur Inn
Scary Thought: Welcome to Deetjen's, where spirits await.
Address: 48865 Highway One, Big Sur, CA 93920
Reservations Line: 831-667-2378
Room Rates: Starting at $114 per night
Hotel Highlights & Amenities: *Located on the National Register of Historic Places *Deetjen's Restaurant serves organic fare *Rooms look out into garden or redwood forest
La Fonda on the Plaza - Santa Fe, New Mexico
This Pueblo Revival-style landmark in the heart of Santa Fa officially dates back to 1922. But it's on the site of the city's first inn, from circa 1607, and reportedly continues to possess spirits from long ago.
One ghost in particular is a local celebrity. Back in 1867, the Honorable John P. Slough got into an argument with a member of the Territorial Legislature in the hotel's lobby, and was shot to death. Still today, guests report that they can see the judge roaming the property in his signature long black coat.
Scary Thought: Any hotel this historic is sure to have some guests who won't leave.
Address: 100 E. San Francisco St., Santa Fe, NM 87501
Reservations Line: 800-523-5002
Room Rates: Starting at $199 per night
Hotel Highlights & Amenities: *Onsite spa is among the best in Santa Fe *Pet-friendly, with dog-friendly rooms and proceeds from cleaning fee donated to local animal shelter *Artists-in-Residence program connects guests to local artists
The Red Lion Inn - Stockbridge, Massachusetts
If you book a stay at this classic property, which began as a tavern in 1773, and don't want to be visited by ghosts, just be sure to avoid the fourth floor. That's where, according to reports from guests and staff, a ghostly young girl holding flowers and a spirit in a jaunty top hat have been seen.
And definitely don't book guestroom 301, known to be the most haunted place in the hotel. Disturbances include unexplained knocks at the door.
Then again, if you want to be spooked, these are exactly the places you should book.
The Red Lion Inn
Scary Thought: Guests both alive and long-dead have been frequenting Red Lion for nearly 250 years.
Address: 30 Main St, Stockbridge, MA 01262
Reservations Line: 413-298-5545
Room Rates: Starting at $105
Hotel Highlights & Amenities: *Wine-focused restaurant offers 560 selections *Year-round heated pool available *Accommodations include historic former firehouse featured in a Norman Rockwell painting
The Sagamore Resort - Bolton Landing, New York
Situated along idyllic Lake George, The Sagamore is all about understated luxury, including at a celebrated fine-dining restaurant. If you're eating at the hotel, just be on the lookout for a silver-haired female ghost in a blue polka-dot dress who likes to visit diners. Other patrons have seen a fighting couple who fade away mid-struggle.
The resort's golf course, too, is known to welcome spirits, including that of a little boy reportedly hit by a car nearby in the 1950s.
Scary Thought: Some guests who checked into the Sagamore decades ago never checked out.
Address: 110 Sagamore Rd, Bolton Landing, NY
Reservations Line: 518-644-9400
Room Rates: Starting at $299
Hotel Highlights & Amenities: *Spa offers hydrotherapy services *Activities include fishing at the hotel dock *Four outdoor tennis courts on site
Green Park Inn - Blowing Rock, North Carolina
Green Park Inn, which dates back to 1891, is proud of its reputation for hauntings; it even keeps a "ghost log" for its guests to look through and, if they see something themselves, add to.
Most people comment on Room 318, home to the ghost of Laura Green, the daughter of the inn's founding family. She was left at the altar and visits the hotel, as does — occasionally — the would-be groom who dumped her.
Green Park Inn
Scary Thought: Never leave a bride at the altar or she may, like Laura Green, never leave the earthly realm.
Address: 9239 Valley Blvd, Blowing Rock, NC 28605
Reservations Line: 828-414-9230
Room Rates: Starting at $144
Hotel Highlights & Amenities: *Listed on the National Historic Register *Chestnut Grille serves North Carolina High Country favorites *Conveniently located near the Blue Ridge Parkway
Union Station Hotel - Nashville, Tennessee
The Union Station Hotel boasts a truly memorable setting: Nashville's former railway station hub, dating back to 1900. Preserved details from this distinguished past include a barrel-vaulted ceiling, century-old stained glass, high towers and turrets, crystal chandeliers — and a lovelorn spirit who greets guests.
As the story goes, a young woman named Abigal bid adieu to her beloved, a soldier heading off to France to fight during World War II, on the platform of the train station. When she returned to pick him up and learned he'd been killed in the line of duty, she threw herself from the platform. Ever since, she's been wandering the property in search of her lost love.
The room she most likes to frequent, 711, has appropriately been dubbed the Abigail Room.
Union Station Hotel
Scary Thought: In room 711, where the ghost of Abigail roams, a creepy photo adds to the spooky ambiance.
Address: 1001 Broadway, Nashville, TN 37203
Reservations Line: 615-726-1001
Room Rates: Starting at $296
Hotel Highlights & Amenities: *Carter’s Restaurant serves locally sourced spirits and cocktails *Decor provided by a collection of local artists *Regular live music in the lobby (this is Nashville, after all)
The Pfister Hotel - Milwaukee
This downtown Milwaukee stalwart that's been welcoming guests since 1893 is home to one particularly famous ghost. But don't be afraid: He's the property's original owner, Charles Pfister, and he just wants to make sure everyone is getting top-notch service.
Other ghosts, too, have been reported here. Notably, many baseball players staying at the hotel have shared stories of hauntings. In 2018, St. Louis Cardinals player Carlos Martinez said a free-floating apparition paid him a visit.
The Pfister Hotel
Scary Thought: The stately Pfister lobby sometimes welcomes the ghost of the hotel's original owner. Be on the lookout!
Address: 424 E Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53202
Reservations Line: 414-273-8222
Room Rates: Starting at $147
Hotel Highlights & Amenities: *Blu Bar and Lounge is on the 23rd floor, overlooking downtown and Lake Michigan *Spa includes Turkish baths *Afternoon tea served every Friday-Sunday
The Queen Mary - Long Beach, California
The Queen Mary, a cruise liner dating back to the 1930s, experienced a series of disasters and on-board deaths before it was docked permanently and transformed into a hotel and museum. Today, the ghosts of this past are keenly felt, with sightings reported frequently.
Want to see for yourself? The hotel offers after-hours paranormal investigations and even offers the chance to dine with spirits!
The Queen Mary
Scary Thought: This picture shows the ship's most haunted stateroom, B340. It's been featured on SYFY Channel’s "Ghost Hunters" and the British TV series "Most Haunted."
Address: 1126 Queens Hwy, Long Beach, CA 90802
Reservations Line: 877-342-0738
Room Rates: Starting at $99
Hotel Highlights & Amenities: *Guests can take a tour through the ship's boiler rooms *On-site museum includes an exhibit on Winston Churchill *Royal Sunday Brunch features 50 dishes from around the world