With Halloween fast approaching, we thought it fitting to cast our eyes over the most haunted hotels in the world. Often the locations of happy family holidays or romantic city breaks, hotels are the last place we’d expect to feel fear. Come with us on a frightening journey as we unveil the hotels where you’d unlikely want to rest your head, especially come the 31st October.
Stanley Hotel, Colorado, USA
The inspiration for Stephen King’s chilling masterpiece, The Shining, the Stanley Hotel is believed to be the most haunted hotel in America. King visited the hotel for one night in 1974, being forced to take solace in the Estes Park area due to the snowfall. King, his wife and toddler checked in to room 217; made famous by the novel and subsequent film adaption.
King and his family were the only guests that night in the Stanley hotel, which was being run on skeleton staff due to the off season. They dined in the restaurant – theirs being just the one table – and orchestral music echoed down the hallways. That night, King woke is a pool of sweat, having dreamt “my three-year-old son running through the corridors, looking back over his shoulder, eyes wide, screaming. He was being chased by a fire-hose. I woke up with a tremendous jerk, sweating all over, within an inch of falling out of bed. I got up, lit a cigarette, sat in a chair looking out the window at the Rockies.”
Disturbed by his stay at the Stanley Hotel, King went on to pen The Shining. Today, many are reluctant to visit the hotel, put off by the paranormal activity that is said to take place there.
The Mermaid Inn, Rye, England
Recently mentioned in The Best Places to Holiday in England is The Mermaid Inn. Located in the town of Rye, nestled in 1066 country, is the infamous black and white medieval hotel. Don’t be fooled by the historic charm of this quaint inn, the creaking staircase and sloping ceilings are said to be home to a number of spirits.
Guests who have stayed in the Elizabethan room have witnessed men duelling in the middle of the night and a maid, wondering the room aimlessly, who was killed by the Hawkhurst Gang smugglers for knowing too much about their antics.
An American guest in the Hawkhurst room had to flee to the adjacent room in the middle of the night and find solace behind a mattress when a ghost was sitting on the end of her bed. Similarly, in the Fleur de Lys room, a male spirit terrifies visitors by appearing through the bathroom wall.
Parts of The Mermaid Inn date back to 1156 and the current owners have painstakingly looked after the building, maintaining as much originality as time will allow. The inn and its rooms are true to its vibrant history and your eyes can play tricks on you as you envisage smugglers and pirates traipsing the hallways, ale in hand. Just wait until the sun goes down.
Karosta Prison Hotel, Latvia
Experience being an inmate at the ruthless Karosta Prison Hotel. During World War II, the prison was home to death row inmates and, today, visitors can pay to stay at the hotel and experience being an inmate. The full prisoner experience places guests in Communist-era conditions, including death threats and gun fire from guards, for $12 per night. On arrival, guests have to sign a release form in regard to the verbal and physical abuse they will receive.
The prison was built in 1900 and was originally used as an infirmary before it became a Nazi and Soviet military prison, where the majority of inmates were killed gruesomely by firing squad. Given the atrocities that the walls of the prison enveloped, it is no surprise that the premises are reported to be haunted by numerous spirits. Visitors have heard the sounds of screams and chains echoing down the hallways, and cell doors open and light bulbs shatter on their own. If you want to experience Karasota, just be prepared that you will not being doing it alone.
Langham Hotel, London, England
You would not expect one of London’s most luxurious five star hotels to strike fear into staff and guests. Whilst the Langham Hotel exudes luxury and is the original grand hotel of the capital, it is also thought to be the most haunted. Having been built in 1865, the 500 room hotel has had ample time to enchant guests and build up a healthy population of ghosts.
Loitering the corridors is a man with a gaping gash in his face and Napoleon III is said to reside in the basement. Other common apparitions include a butler who insists on attending to guests on the third floor and a German prince who gazes out of a window on the fourth floor of which he jumped out of during WWI.
However, the most common sighting is of a man in Victorian evening wear who resides in room 333 – the most haunted room in the entire hotel. The story goes that a doctor killed his new wife and then took his own life and now cannot leave. He is spotted most often in October, perhaps a link to Halloween?
James Gordon, a BBC journalist, stayed in room 333 in 1973. He awoke one night in October to see a man appear from a fluorescent ball of light, dressed in Victorian clothes. He reached for Gordon and, at this point, he fled to hotel reception.
The Russell Hotel, Sydney, Australia
This beautiful boutique hotel is a slice of Sydney’s history. The Russell Hotel is one of the oldest buildings in Australia and the sandstone maze-like hotel was first built in 1790 and restored in 1820. For much of its history, The Russell Hotel served as an inn for sailors who docked in Sydney Harbour. Once the bubonic plague hit the shores of Australia, the hotel became a hospital as medical facilities could not cope with a number of people falling ill. Rumours circulate that it did a brief stint as a brothel, before turning full circle and becoming a hotel once more.
Many who visit feel like they are stepping back in time, only adding to the eerie feel of the place. Guests most frequently come face to face with the ghost of a murdered sailor. Ladies who stay in room eight (considered the most haunted hotel room in the whole of Australia) say they awake in the early hours the find the scoundrel on their bed. Sweet dreams are a rarity in room eight, as duvets are ripped off of sleeping guests and room fittings shake ferociously.
Many guests, particularly those who are female, have fled in the middle of the night. Some had felt as if they were being watched, some felt chills, and some saw ghosts.