The Most Haunted Hotels In The World To Book If You're Looking For A Good Scare

Outside of hostels and Airbnbs, hotels are an essential part of any vacation. It doesn't matter if you're taking a day trip to your local beach or journeying halfway across the world to Europe or Asia — it's important to have a place to hang up your hat at the end of the day and get some much-needed shuteye.

In many ways, hotels can be the highlight of any vacation — you might find comfy beds, luxurious rooms, opulent dining areas and main lobbies, or relaxing pools to wile away your idle vacation hours.

As enjoyable as these unique hotel features can be, some hotel guests might enjoy a bit more history with their stay at a hotel. In particular, these guests might like to hear about dark and macabre stories from a hotel's past — stories rooted in horror and the supernatural. These tales have the potential to scare away some guests, but for the hardcore ghost enthusiasts, these stories only enrich their hotel-going experience, steeping them in paranormal subjects beyond human comprehension. And amazingly, for all the dark legends surrounding these hotels, many of them are still open to the general public, allowing guests to book a room and stay there if they're feeling adventurous.

From bustling hotels in metropolitan areas like New York and London to hotels in the remote mountains of the Colorado Rockies, here are some of the most famously haunted hotels you can stay at.

The Stanley Hotel — Estes Park, Colorado

Quite possibly the most famous haunted hotel in America, the Stanley Hotel's reputation in the horror community is thanks in large part to its ties to beloved author, Stephen King. As King has related several times in the past, he and his family stayed at the hotel in 1974. With the Stanley about to close for the winter, King's family were among the only guests staying at the hotel, the isolation he felt gifting him the idea behind one of his most acclaimed novels: the 1977 best-seller, "The Shining."

Aside from its link to Stephen King, though, the Stanley Hotel has a rich history of paranormal activity dating all the way back to the hotel's earliest days. As an example, it's believed that the hotel's original owners, F.O. Stanley and his wife, Flora, haunt the hotel, with guests reportedly hearing the sound of Flora playing her vintage Steinway piano at odd times of the night.

Far from playing down its grim history, the Stanley has fully embraced the urban legends surrounding the hotel's alleged supernatural past. Today, you can find the hotel offering nightly tours detailing numerous ghost stories directly related to the Stanley, as well as a miniature hedge maze in the hotel's front lawn in homage to the 1980 adaptation of "The Shining." Guests can also book a stay in any one of the hotel's most haunted rooms — including the notorious Room 217 (the very room that would inspire King to write "The Shining" in the first place).

The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel — Los Angeles, California

With its rich basis in the world of film, it's easy to believe there are plenty of hotels in Los Angeles directly related to the Golden Age of Hollywood. Take the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, a hotel that first opened in the late 1920s and that has seen plenty of celebrities and silver-screen stars step through its doors. Along with its impressive history that include such milestones as hosting the inaugural Academy Awards in 1929, the Hollywood Roosevelt also has garnered a reputation as a hotspot for paranormal activity.

Most of the ghost stories surrounding the Hollywood Roosevelt assert that some of the hotel's most well-known guests continue to dwell within the hotel's walls. Among the hotel's ghostly haunts is Academy Award-nominated actor, Montgomery Clift, who stayed at the hotel for three months in 1952 during the filming of "From Here to Eternity," and whose spirit is now rumored to alternate between Room 928 and the ninth floor's hallway. Several guests have also claimed to have seen acting legend Marilyn Monroe (who lived at the hotel for two years before her career took off) during their stay, with many believing her spirit now occupies her former residence in Suite 1200.

Outside of established Hollywood actors, modern guests have also reported strange activity in several different areas of the hotel. Several people have claimed to see the ghost of Caroline, a five-year-old girl, playing in the hotel's hallways, as well as two mysterious tuxedo-clad men in the Blossom Ballroom.

The Hotel Chelsea — New York City, New York

In stark contrast to the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel's relevance to film history is its East Coast counterpart, the Hotel Chelsea. Built in the late 1880s, the Chelsea has seen dozens of well-known guests stay at the hotel over the years, having offered long-term residences to notable authors, poets, and musicians like Arthur C. Clarke and Allen Ginsberg. Interestingly, the hotel is also the site of several high-publicity deaths. In 1953, influential Beat poet Dylan Thomas became grievously ill while staying in Room 205, passing away several days later from pneumonia. Most notoriously, in 1978, Nancy Spungen — the girlfriend of the Sex Pistols' controversial bassist, Sid Vicious — was found stabbed to death in Room 100.

Given how long the Chelsea has stood in New York, plenty of ghost stories continue to circulate about the hotel. While it's alleged that the spirits of Thomas and Spungen continue to wander their former residences, several other specters have reportedly been seen inside the Chelsea. These include the ghost of Mary, a survivor of the R.M.S. Titanic who lost her husband when the ship sank in 1912. Struck by survivor's guilt and despondent over her spouse's death, Mary supposedly hanged herself in her fifth-floor room.

Another equally gruesome story involves the ghost of Nadia, a woman who supposedly jumped off the top of the Chelsea just 10 years after Mary's suicide. Like Mary, several people have claimed to see Nadia's ghost trying to again enter Chelsea from outside the hotel.

The 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa — Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Even before it was featured on the SyFy TV series, "Ghost Hunters," the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa had a well-established reputation for unexplained paranormal activity. Originally, this historic hotel was opened as an idyllic resort for wealthy patrons, eventually transitioning into a women's university run from 1908 to the early 1930s.

In 1934, broadcast radio DJ Norman J. Baker purchased the building and converted it into a hospital. Baker — a businessman masquerading as a medical professional — advertised the Crescent as a health sanctuary able to treat serious illnesses, even claiming that he had the cure for cancer to attract lucrative business opportunities. After Baker was arrested for mail fraud and his hospital shut down, the Crescent was converted into the lush hotel it currently operates as. However, guests who stay at the hotel report signs that some of Baker's former patients who died in his care still frequent the hotel, looking for justice against their former "doctor."

With its architecture firmly rooted in the Romanesque and French Renaissance style, there's no question that staying at the Crescent evokes a nostalgic feeling during your stay. Between its impressive design and disturbing history, it can also be a chilling experience spending a night in the hotel's confines. To capitalize off its notorious reputation in the ghost-hunting community, the hotel offers guests the opportunity to take a supernatural walking tour through the property, as well as toting photographs of ghosts allegedly seen in the hotel.

The Bourbon Orleans Hotel — New Orleans, Louisiana

The United States South is dotted with plenty of hotels dating back to the 1800s, many of which have a unique and storied history behind them. Take, for example, the Bourbon Orleans Hotel, a historic hotel that began its life as a Parisian-inspired opera house in the early 19th century. In 1881, the theater was purchased by a local convent of nuns and turned into an orphanage and female academy, operating as such until it was sold by the sisters and transformed into an upscale hotel in the 1960s.

Numerous stories abound about the Bourbon Orleans Hotel, several of which relate to its past as an orphanage and its local regional history. Some guests have reported seeing a mysterious figure dancing in the hotel's treasured Orleans Ballroom, with others alleging they've witnessed the ballroom's drapes moving — as though someone were hiding behind them. Others have claimed to see the ghost of a Confederate soldier, known ominously as "The Man" in the hotel, wandering between the third and sixth floors of the hotel.

Most disturbingly, past guests have also claimed to see ghostly children traveling around the hallways, their soft footsteps echoing throughout the hotel (almost certainly stemming from the hotel's past existence as an orphanage). Still other guests have detailed sightings of nuns and shadowy female figures, related to the hotel's time as a convent, an all-female school, and a medical ward in the decades past.

The Marshall House — Savannah, Georgia

As mentioned previously, the Southern United States has a variety of hotels housed in historic buildings. The oldest operating hotel in Savannah, the Marshall House's construction ended in 1851. For the next 10 years, the hotel acted as a thriving inn, welcoming any weary travelers who wished to stay in any of the house's elegant rooms.

The Marshall House's successful run as a hotel changed with the beginning of the Civil War. From 1864 to 1865, the house was occupied by Northern troops under General William Sherman, who used the house as a hospital to treat Union soldiers wounded during his famous March to the Sea. Years later, the hotel was again converted into a hospital, treating patients suffering from yellow fever on two separate occasions.

With its time as a medical ward, it's feasible that the Marshall House has a few spirits attached to it, even after the building was refurbished into the quaint hotel it is today. While it was being rebuilt in the 1990s, workers even uncovered human remains underneath the hotel's basement floorboards. Historians have since theorized these remains as belonging to Union soldiers, as the room was likely used by Civil War doctors to conduct surgeries. Unsurprisingly, guests have reported seeing ghosts of fallen soldiers and former yellow fever patients within the house, as well as unexplained noises — the sound of children running through the hallways or doorknobs turning by themselves, for example.

The Omni Parker House — Boston, Massachusetts

The Omni Parker House may be known as the birthplace of Boston cream pie, but the hotel is also considered a haven chock full of supernatural tales and ghost stories. Founded in 1855, the Omni Parker House was a regular meeting place reserved for literary giants in the famed Saturday Club, which included in its ranks figures like Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

The Omni Parker House's place in American and literary history cannot be overstated. During his five-month stay in the hotel in 1867 to 1868, Charles Dickens recited his immortal classic, "A Christmas Carol," to the members of the Saturday Club. In 1865, Shakespearean actor John Wilkes Booth spent three nights at the hotel just eight days before assassinating President Abraham Lincoln in Washington D.C.

Given the prominent role the Omni Parker House has played in housing hundreds of celebrities, politicians, writers, and public figures, it seems obvious that the hotel would have its fair share of ghosts. It's been said that the main ghost seen around the hotel is Harvey Parker, the building's first owner, who died in 1884. People also believe that Dickens' ghost can still be found within the hotel, with the elevator routinely being called to the third floor on its own (Dickens room was located on the third floor). Other guests even say that you might be able to see the iconic author of "Oliver Twist" in his suite's mirror if you look into it long enough.

The Hay-Adams Hotel — Washington D.C.

One of the finest hotels you'll find in America's capital city is the Hay-Adams, an illustrious hotel that's entertained hundreds of politicians since first opening in 1928. Before its construction, the land that now holds the Hay-Adams was the adjoining property of best friends John Hay (a politician who later became a member of the Lincoln Administration) and Henry Adams (an author and descendant of former U.S. presidents John Adams and his son, John Quincy). In 1927, the plot of land was purchased by a real estate developer, who demolished the former homes of Hay and Adams, laying the groundwork for the Hay-Adams Hotel a year later.

Some decades before the land lapsed into the developer's hands, Adams' wife, Marian Hooper Adams, committed suicide on the property. Marian supposedly fell into a deep depression prior to her death, possibly stemming from her husband's flirtatious advances to other women, leading to her losing all interest in her main hobby: photography. Early one morning, a house guest found Marian collapsed in her darkroom, having ingested a lethal dose of potassium cyanide, a chemical used to develop photographs at the time.

Because of this, guests who stay at the hotel have claimed to see Marian's ghost trekking through the halls of the Hay-Adams, especially on the fourth floor and more often in early December (the anniversary of her death). Guests who fail to see her actually materialize claim to catch a whiff of almonds, indicating her presence (potassium cyanide shares a distinctly similar scent to almonds).

Castello della Castelluccia — Rome, Italy

Heading across the Atlantic, you're likely to find a number of hotels dating back centuries throughout the continent. That being said, few hotels are as historic as Italy's Castello della Castelluccia, a picturesque hotel built off the remains of a medieval castle. Given its specific geographic location, dozens of ghost stories detailing the Castello della Castelluccia have come to light over the years, some of which correlate to the most infamous personages in Italian and Roman history.

While staying at the hotel, several guests have claimed to have seen the ghost of a local alchemist who died when the Castello's tower was struck by lightning sometime in the 17th century. Guests have also reported hearing the occasional sound of horses racing by at night — some people even report these ghostly mounts as they circle the hotel. As legend has it, these horses were sent by a lord staying at the Castello, meant as a way to settle some gambling debts. Upon arriving at their new owner's property, the horses promptly died, their spirits returning to the Italian countryside around the Castello's property.

Most notably, it's said that Emperor Nero can be spotted roaming around the Castello, having grown restless from his slumber in his nearby tomb in Rome. Perhaps you'll even see or hear him play the fiddle he maniacally played as he watched Rome burn in 64 AD.

The Langham Hotel — London, England

As you might expect from a five-star European hotel, the Langham Hotel in London has been open for some time. Having first opened to the public in 1865, the hotel has seen a virtually endless number of guests, from literary giant Oscar Wilde to historic political figures like Winston Churchill. With how many guests have stayed at the Langham, it's also a given that some of them have opted to linger around the hotel following their death.

Among the ghosts supposedly haunting this 19th century hotel is French Emperor Napoleon III, who — upon his 1871 exile from France after the Franco-Prussian War — spent his final years at the Langham before his death in 1873. Today, it's rumored that the last French emperor's spirit can be found in the hotel's basement. Alongside Napoleon, it's also been claimed that the spirit of a German nobleman (said to have thrown himself from his room) has been similarly spotted around the hotel.

Out of all the rooms in the Langham, Room 333 allegedly sees the most paranormal happenings. According to legend, it was in this room that a doctor and his wife were booked to spend their honeymoon, the night ending in terror when the doctor decided to murder his newlywed spouse before killing himself shortly afterward. Guests who have stayed in the room have since shared disturbing stories about their experience in Room 333, several of which relate to a man in Victorian apparel being seen inside the room.

Dragsholm Castle — Hørve, Denmark

Out of all the entries on this list, Denmark's Dragsholm Castle has what is easily the most terrifying history. Built in the early 13th century, it acted as a fortified castle throughout most of its early existence, fending off the armies of Count Christopher of Oldenburg during the Count's Feud. During the Reformation, the Castle became a prison meant to hold high-born nobles and enemies of the Catholic Church.

The most famous inmate the Castle saw was English lord James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell and third husband of Mary, Queen of Scots. Captured in 1568, Hepburn was imprisoned at Dragsholm Castle for 10 long years. As a result of the prolonged isolation, Hepburn is alleged to have gone mad before dying in his cell in 1578. Today, it's believed that Hepburn's ghost still haunts the site of his death, with some guests claiming to hear the sound of the Earl's galloping horses and a cart that indicates his presence.

Another ghost said to linger within Dragsholm Castle is far more mysterious, though just as bone-chilling. In the 1930s, a skeleton clothed in a white dress was found within Dragsholm's walls during an attempt to repair the hotel's plumbing system. This skeleton, dubbed the "White Lady" on account of her dress, is believed to be Celina Bovles, a nobleman's daughter who fell in love and became pregnant with a commoner's child. As punishment, the nobleman locked his daughter in Dragsholm, erecting a wall around her cell and leaving her to die.

Le Château de Marçay — Marçay, France

Located in the gorgeous French countryside, Le Château de Marçay is a hotel that seems straight out of a classic fairy tale. Built over the remains of a well-preserved 15th century castle, the Château offers some first-rate amenities and wonderful views of the area surrounding the hotel. As lovely as the Château is, it's also the site of some reportedly supernatural occurrences.

The standout urban legend related to the hotel has to do with an enigmatic spectral woman who's commonly seen by guests who spend the night at the Château. Supposedly, this woman was a local who frequented the castle before it was refurbished into a hotel in 1973. As the story goes, this woman was secretly a werewolf who prowled the farmlands surrounding the Château whenever a full moon swept over the Loire Valley. It was during these late-night transformations that a nearby farmer shot the woman, mistaking her for a wild animal. To escape punishment, the farmer buried the woman in an unmarked grave somewhere around the Château, her spirit still venturing the area in and around the Château.

Despite its heavy basis in local tall tales, the number of reported sightings of a woman in white have continued to persist throughout the years. While there haven't been altogether many signs of supposed werewolves loitering in the valley, the thought of seeing a ghostly woman adorned in white clothing is still a nightmarish idea in itself.

The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel — Mumbai, India

One of the major tourist attractions in Mumbai is the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, a breathtaking hotel located only a few short miles away from the scenic Gateway of India. Often considered one of the most luxurious hotels in the country, this Saracenic Revival-style hotel was constructed early on in the 20th century, first welcoming guests in 1903. Its meticulous and awe-inspiring design is perhaps the hotel's defining feature, with the building's architectural and supernatural significance closely tied together.

The Taj Mahal Palace serves as the masterpiece of British engineer W.A. Chambers, one of the main people responsible for the initial planning and layout of the hotel. As legend has it, Chambers departed from the construction site for a small trip to England. Upon his return, he was shocked to discover that a major error had been made relating to the hotel's construction — the entire building faced the opposite direction than Chambers had previously intended. Devastated over the error, the perfectionist Chambers supposedly threw himself from the hotel's fifth floor, killing him instantly.

Today, it's rumored that Chambers (his ghost, that is!) still makes rounds around the hotel, righting any mistakes he finds and ensuring the hotel is up to his strict standards. Unlike other entries on this list, Chambers' spirit is alleged to be a somewhat threatening one — some hotel guests even claim that Chambers' ghost physically harmed them. And, according to one story, Chambers once assaulted an employee trying to make away with an expensive hotel decoration.

Ballygally Castle — Ballygally, Northern Ireland

Ballygally Castle is unique among this list in that, while it's rumored to be haunted, the presence of the ghost supposedly inhabiting the hotel isn't nearly as threatening as most spirits highlighted thus far. Built in the early 17th century, the castle is a fairly small but incredibly homely hotel overlooking the sea in Northern Ireland. But like many European castles that have been around for generations, it also has a fascinating story behind it.

The castle's initial owners were Lord James Shaw and his wife, Lady Isabella. According to legends surrounding the castle, Lord Shaw impatiently yearned for a son. When his wife finally delivered the child, the tyrannical nobleman supposedly snatched the baby away from his mother, locking Lady Isabella in the castle's tower. While trying to escape, Lady Isabella fell to her death (although some versions of the story assert that she was pushed by either Lord Shaw or one of his servants).

Regardless of the circumstances surrounding her death, Lady Isabella is said to have dwelled within the castle for the past four centuries. Far from being a vengeful spirit seeking solace for her death, she's reputed to be a welcome presence who can routinely be spotted around Ballygally Castle, contributing to her nickname, "The Friendly Ghost on the Antrim Coast." The current owners of the castle have heartily embraced their reputation as a haunted hotel, offering guests the chance to stay in their "ghost room," the former room of Lady Isabella herself.