10 of the world’s most haunted hotels
When you check into a hotel, there are some basic things you expect: a comfortable bed, a hot shower and a decent breakfast, to name a few. But in some places, you get a lot more than you bargained for…
There are tales of spooky goings-on in hotels all across the world, from little girl ghosts and wailing spirits to objects moving by themselves and cold chills in dark hallways.
So if you’re a fan of things that go bump in the night, there’s nowhere better to stay on your travels than in one of these top ten haunted hotels.
Tip: You can book all of the hotels below via Norwegian Reward and earn CashPoints on your stay. Plus, you can fly to these fabulous destinations with Norwegian (and rent a car through Norwegian Reward to get to those that aren’t so central) and pick up even more points!
Note: Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the availability of the hotels could be affected. Remember to check current travel restrictions before booking travel.
1. Dragsholm Slot, Zealand, Denmark
This elegant countryside hotel is in Zealand, just a short hop from Copenhagen.
Widely regarded as being one of the most haunted hotels in Europe, it’s reportedly home to 100 supernatural guests.
If you stay at Dragsholm Slot, you’re most likely to bump into the White Lady – the ghost of a girl whose father promised her hand in marriage to a nobleman friend.
The girl, however, had other ideas. She had fallen in love with a commoner and found herself pregnant. When her father discovered the news, he was furious. He ordered servants to entomb her inside the castle walls.
For many years, few took the story seriously. But when structural renovations were made to the castle in 1910, the skeletal remains of a woman in a white dress were found in the walls.
It’s said that to this day, the White Lady walks about the castle looking for her lover.
On a happier note, the hotel has a Michelin star restaurant that serves up delicious Scandinavian dishes.
2. The Georgian House Hotel, London, England
This stylish, London-based hotel is as popular with holidaymakers as it is with the undead.
A short stroll from the trendy Victoria area, tales of the supernatural date back to 1989, when the hotel manager was showing guests around the property. He became irritated by some loud and unruly children on an upper floor and asked the receptionist to speak to their parents, only to be told that no children were staying there.
These same kids have been seen on the upper floors of the Georgian House Hotel, but no-one’s entirely sure who they are.
3. Hotel Bilan, Karlstad, Sweden
This hotel’s haunted reputation starts with an eerie tale from the mid 1860’s. Clarion Collection Hotel Bilan in Karlstad, was once a prison. One of the inmates, a priest, was sentenced to death for poisoning his congregation with arsenic-laced communion wine. He never made it to his execution date however, as he hung himself in his cell.
Apparently, he wasn’t ready to leave this world completely, though. Today, his cell forms part of a prison museum in the hotel basement. And he’s said to haunt it.
Legend has it that one night, when a member of hotel staff was locking up, she was blocked by an invisible force as she descended the staircase to the museum and had to turn back. She tried again, but the same thing happened. Was it the priest playing tricks?
Brave a night at Hotel Bilan and your prayers will be answered: It’s family friendly, close to the airport, and evening meals are included in the price.
4. The Shelbourne, Dublin, Ireland
The Shelbourne in Dublin is the epitome of luxury. Over the years, it’s welcomed many famous faces, including British actress Lily Collins. In 2013, she claimed to have been visited by a ‘presence’ while staying at the hotel. She told TV host Jimmy Fallon, “I opened my eyes and heard a giggle. Then I felt a rush of cold air across my body.”
Lily mentioned the incident to hotel staff the next morning, who casually said she’d met their resident ghost, Mary Masters, a seven-year-old girl who died of cholera in the hotel in 1846.
Other hotel guests at The Shelbourne have reported taps and showers turning on by themselves, and wardrobe doors opening and closing.
If you can stomach an encounter with Mary, you’re in for a treat. This stunning hotel combines Irish charm with a healthy dose of luxury. But maybe sleep with one eye open!
Tip: If you’re not freaked out after a night in The Shelbourne, we dare you to visit Dracula’s birthplace, St. Michan’s Church. Find out more about this creepy Dublin crypt in our post on the spookiest places in Europe.
5. Dalhousie Castle Hotel, Edinburgh, Scotland
This majestic 13th-century castle sits on the bank of the River Esk in Edinburgh. Popular with honeymooners, it’s the perfect place for a romantic stay – if you don’t mind ghosts.
The most sighted spectre at Dalhousie Castle Hotel is Lady Catherine, aka the Grey Lady. At the age of 16, she’s said to have locked herself in the castle and starved to death after her parents forbade her to see the man she was in love with. Listen out for her wailing late at night.
If you book a stay, be sure to dine at the Dungeon Restaurant. The beef carpaccio is out of this world. A side of spirits with your steak anyone?
6. Asia Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand
Asia Hotel in Bangkok is said to be one of the most haunted hotels in Thailand. Guests have complained about hearing strange noises, such as crying, coming from the bathrooms.
They have also reported being touched while sleeping and waking up to see ghostly figures staring at them or walking around.
7. Congress Plaza Hotel, Chicago, USA
The swanky Congress Hotel in Chicago was once a hangout for the notorious gangster, Al Capone. He used to hold his ‘business meetings’ in the bar, which he’s now said to haunt.
But Al Capone is not the only ghostly resident. If you find yourself spending the night in the South Tower, you might run into ‘Peg Leg Johnny,’ the spirit of a man who was murdered in the alley behind the hotel. Who exactly he was and the circumstances of his death remain a mystery, but he’s said to be mischievous, moving objects around in rooms and turning lights and appliances on and off.
8. Castello della Castelluccia, Rome, Italy
This beautiful 10th-century castle with its romantic terrace, is just outside of Rome, but it’s close enough (and haunted enough) to earn a spot on our list.
The ghostly residents of Castello della Castelluccia hotel aren’t your typical undead pranksters, though. It’s said that you can experience the presence of an alchemist who was struck by lightning in the castle’s tower, some horses that died after being traded to repay gambling debts, and even Rome’s infamous Emperor Nero, who’s buried near the castle and apparently prefers a warm bed to his cold grave.
That said, this is one gorgeous place to stay while visiting Italy’s capital. And if you’re into living like royalty, take a look at our top recommendations for castle hotels around the world.
9. Toftaholm Herrgård, Vittaryd, Sweden
Are you brave enough to stay at the idyllic Toftaholm Herrgård on the shores of southern Sweden’s Lake Vidostern? Guests at this former 14th-century country manor have experienced all sorts of inexplicable incidents, from strange noises in the night to doors and windows shutting by themselves.
The hotel is thought to be haunted by a peasant boy who fell in love with the daughter of the baron who owned the manor. But she was forced into an arranged marriage with a man chosen by her father. The boy hanged himself in room 324 on the morning of the wedding and it’s believed his spirit has remained there ever since.
If you can cope with a little ghostly activity, the fantastic hotel facilities and scenic Småland countryside setting will be well worth it.
10. Hotel Cecil, Los Angeles, USA
This is one of the most notorious hotels in Los Angeles for unexplained events. Although it’s closed now, and undergoing a major redevelopment, we couldn’t resist adding The Cecil, also known as Stay on Main, to our list of haunted hotels.
Built in 1924, this Downtown hotel was supposed to be a top place to stay for businessmen and the social elite, but thanks to the Great Depression, The Cecil soon became home to runaways, criminals, death and violence. By 1931 the hotel had seen its first suicide, and since then it’s had at least 10 more.
But The Cecil’s turbulent past doesn’t end there. It has served as a temporary home to its fair share of serial killers, including Richard Ramirez (aka the Night Stalker), who lived in the hotel during much of his horrific, mid-80s killing spree which saw the deaths of 13 people. He even used the hotel’s dumpster to dispose of his bloody clothes.
Right up until it’s recent closure, countless other creepy tales and tragic stories have come from The Cecil Hotel, including unsolved murders and paranormal activity.
Perhaps the most disturbing of all is the case of a guest who went missing in 2013 and was found almost three weeks later, in the hotel’s rooftop water tank.
Chilling video surveillance footage from inside the hotel’s elevator shows the 21-year-old student before her disappearance acting strangely. It’s said that the guest suffered from mental health issues, and her shocking death was ultimately ruled an accident, but the means by which her body ended up in the tank remains a mystery since access to the roof was secured with a lock. Her harrowing tale is said to have inspired an episode of pop culture show American Horror Story.
Test your nerve with a night in a haunted hotel. Earn CashPoints on all your hotel bookings with Norwegian and put them towards your next hair-raising adventure!