Real-Life Haunted Hotels You Can Book Right Now (If You Dare)
If you think the unwashed bedspreads at some hotels can be horrifying, just wait until you visit one of these real-life haunted hotels, where guests have reported everything from odd smells to full-on apparitions. Several of these lodgings-of-the-damned even offer ghost tours led by experienced guides, who will fill you in on the true haunted stories behind the spooky sightings. Here's our rundown of some of the most haunted hotels in America—all of which can be booked on our website.
The Congress Plaza Hotel in Chicago, IL
Built to accommodate tourists during the 1893 World's Fair, the Congress Plaza Hotel is one of the most haunted hotels in Chicago.
Most Famous Apparition: Staff have been called to room 441 more than any other, and always for the same reason: the shadowy outline of a woman standing at the foot of the bed.
Notorious Guests: Al Capone and America's first serial killer, H.H. Holmes, used to spend time at the hotel; some say their ghosts are still present.
Sixth-Floor Horror: In the 1930s, a distraught mother threw her two children out of a sixth-floor window before jumping after them. Only one child's body made it to the morgue. Not coincidentally, guests on the sixth floor have reported seeing a little boy who vanishes.
Best Earthly Reason to Stay: Its location on Michigan Avenue, which is a stone's throw from Grant Park, Cloud Gate (nicknamed the 'Bean'), and the Magnificent Mile.
The Flamingo Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV
When it opened back in 1947, The Flamingo was the first and only luxury hotel on the Vegas strip, and it's star-studded opening ceremony was attended by such celebs as Lana Turner, Sammy Davis Jr., and Lena Horne. Today, it's still beloved by top gamblers... and ghost hunters.
Most Famous Apparition: Famed gangster (and the hotel's developer), Bugsy Siegel, who was murdered by mob bosses barely a year after the hotel opened its doors.
Presidential Suite Scares: While Siegel's ghost has been spotted throughout the hotel, including in its garden and wedding chapel, the highest number of Bugsy sightings happen in the hotel's Presidential suite, which boasts the same gold faucets and fixtures used in mobster's private apartment on the hotel grounds.
Gambling Ghosts: In addition to Siegel's ghost, a number of unnamed apparitions are said to also haunt the hotel's halls. Speculation is that they're the souls of those who lost everything—including their lives—on a bet.
The 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa in Eureka Springs, AR
This landmark Victorian hotel is the setting of hundreds of inexplicable stories, videos, and photos from guests and paranormal experts. Ghost tours run nightly, and every story about the Crescent Hotel ghosts told on the tours has been verified.
Most Famous Apparition: A handsome stonecutter named Michael fell to his death outside of Room 218. A known flirt when he was alive, he's still said to play tricks on female guests.
First Runner-Up: You may smell the occasional waft of tobacco smoke near the elevator. It could be from the ghost of Dr. John Freemont Ellis, the hotel's Victorian-era, pipe-smoking physician, who's been caught on tape in a suit and top hat.
What's in the Basement?: There's a morgue complete with an old autopsy table and secret passages from when the hotel was turned into a cancer hospital back in the 1930s.
Best Earthly Reason to Stay: Two elegant restaurants, an onsite cafe, and a full-service salon and spa ensure visits on this side of the spectral void are more than worthwhile.
Hotel del Coronado in Coronado, CA
The Hotel del Coronado has been around for more than 125 years and was a filming location for the classic Marilyn Monroe comedy Some Like It Hot.
Most Famous Apparition: Kate Morgan—who was found dead with a gunshot wound to the head on a staircase leading to the beach in 1892—is known to send odd breezes through the room in which she stayed.
More Otherworldly Mischief: Kate is also known to jealously target gift-shop memorabilia related to Marilyn Monroe, as well as tinker with things in her old room. A businessman once awoke to find all the pillows in the room arranged in a pyramid on his computer.
How to Recover: Savor a gourmet meal made with herbs from the hotel's beachfront garden while soaking in views of the Pacific at 1500 Ocean.
Best Earthly Reason to Stay: Coronado was recently named the #1 best beach in America by the director of Florida International University's Laboratory for Coastal Research.
The Hollywood Roosevelt in Hollywood, CA
This elegant Spanish Colonial Revival hotel is about as Hollywood as you can get. The first two Academy Awards ceremonies were held in its famed banquet room, and it was once a home away from home for up-and-coming MGM stars.
Most Famous Apparition: That would be the ghost of an actress named Marilyn Monroe. Perhaps you've heard of her? She lived at the hotel for two years long before she became the most famous woman in the world, during the beginning of her modeling career. Some say it was the happiest time in her life.
Other A-List Entities: Guests have reported encountering the ghost of actor Montgomery Clift, plus other ghosts dressed in tuxedos and fine gowns—possibly the spirits of up-and-coming actors who never quite made it.
Weird Feelings: In addition to running into actual ghosts, guests of the Hollywood Roosevelt have also reported cold spots, floating orbs, and mysterious late night phone calls.
Best Earthly Reason to Stay: Besides feeling like a perfectly-preserved part of Tinsel-Town's heyday, the hotel is now home to many popular night clubs and bars, and boasts luxurious amenities such as babysitting, 24-hour room service, and massages.
The Omni Parker House Hotel in Boston, MA
Built in 1855, the Omni Parker House is the oldest continually operating hotel in the United States, so it's probably no surprise that it's also considered one of the most haunted.
Most Famous Apparition: It's practically a toss-up, since believers have reported bumping into the spirits dressed in Colonial garb, as well as the ghostly forms of Charles Dickens, John Wilkes Booth, and Charlotte Cushman—a famous Victorian-era stage actress who also happened to die at the Parker House. The most frequently sighted hotel spirit, however, is that of founder Harvey Parker, who still wanders the halls making sure his guest's every need is attended to.
Wrong Floor?: One of the hotel's elevators is known for bringing guests to the third floor, unprompted. Which wouldn't be so spooky if the third floor wasn't notorious for being the most haunted floor in the entire hotel.
A True Horror Story: Rumor has it that famed horror writer Stephen King based his short story 1408 on the Parker House's most haunted room: suite 303. Allegedly, a traveling liquor salesman died in the room and, ever since, guests have reported strange occurences such as shadowy apparitions, eerie laughter, and faucets that turn themselves on and off. Many also reported waking in the middle of the night to the smell of cigar smoke and brandy.
Best Earthly Reason to Stay: Boston cream pie was invented at the Parker House hotel (check out the story here), so you'll want to snag a slice while dining in Parker's Restaurant—preferably at table 40, which is where John F. Kennedy popped the question to Jacqueline Bouvier.
Le Pavillon Hotel in New Orleans, LA
Various paranormal investigators have identified anywhere from 4 to 100 ghosts at the elegant Le Pavillon Hotel, which boasts 226 rooms decked out with flat-screen TVs, pillowtop beds, and free Wi-Fi.
Most Famous Apparition: Guests of the hotel have awoken to see shadowy figures at the foot of their beds.
Creepiest Way to Wake Up: One guest woke to the sight of an old woman sitting beside him, reporting that he could feel her weight on the mattress and the cold of her hands as she stroked his head and said, "I will never let you go."
What's With That Weird Painting?: In the hotel's Crystal Room hangs a portrait of a royal Frenchwoman, acquired with three stipulations: that the woman's identity would never be revealed, that the portrait would never leave New Orleans, and that no other woman's portrait would hang in the same room.
Best Earthly Reason to Stay: The classy, chandelier-clad lounge, which boasts a classic dark wood accents and an ornate mirror fixture behind the bar. Plus, all guests are invited to partake in a complimentary PB&J sandwich bar from 10-11 p.m. every night.
The Marshall House in Savannah, GA
Human remains have been found during renovations of The Marshall House in Savannah, which served as a hospital for soldiers during the Civil War and two yellow-fever epidemics.
Most Famous Apparition: Multiple guests have reported seeing a young man holding his own severed arm and wandering around, looking for someone to reattach it.
You May Also See: men wandering around the hotel in Civil War uniforms.
What Was That?!: It's not uncommon for doorknobs to rattle for no reason, faucets to turn on by themselves, and the sounds of playing children to reverberate when no children are present.
Best Earthly Reason to Stay: Savannah's historic River Street and the open-air City Market are both just a few minutes walk from the haunted hotel.
The RMS Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA
The RMS Queen Mary was originally a posh ocean liner that toted guests across the Atlantic in the mid-20th century. It was also where a 17-year-old sailor was crushed to death in the engine room while trying to escape a fire. Today, the boat is a stylish—and according to rumor, extraordinarily haunted—landlocked hotel and museum in Long Beach.
Where You May Have Seen It: the TV series "Ghost Hunters"
Most Famous Apparitions: A "lady in white" has been spotted repeatedly near the front desk, and Cabin B340 is said to contain the spirit of a man murdered there.
Child's Play: Guests have reported hearing children playing in the nursery, which is no longer operational. The (closed) indoor pool is also said to be haunted by the ghost of a young girl who persistently asks her mother for her doll.
Best Earthly Reason to Stay: Get a massage at the Queen Mary Spa or take the free audio tour included with every stay.
Miami Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, FL
This list has seen hotels haunted by dead gangsters and hotels haunted by the spirits of dead soldiers. This glamorous 1920s hotel has them both.
Most Famous Apparition: Gangster Fatty Walsh died during a gambling dispute on the hotel's 13th floor back in 1929, and rumor has it his spirit never ever checked out. The hotel elevator has been known to drop guests off at the 13th floor unprompted, even though that floor is supposed to require a special card key for access.
Um... Nurse: In the 1940s, the Biltmore was repurposed as a military hospital, and guests often report encounters with ghostly men in army uniforms.
Wrong Channel: One of the Biltmore's more amusing spiritual anecdotes involves a haunted television that refused to broadcast sporting events for President Clinton during his stay at the hotel.
Best Earthly Reason to Stay: Besides being known for its five-star service, the Biltmore boasts a championship golf course and a lavish pool that was once the largest hotel pool in the world.
This article was originally published in 2014. It has since been updated by our editors.