Alright, it’s not everybody’s cup of tea, but with Halloween on our doorstep, we delve into the spookiest, creepiest, most hair-raising resorts around the world where travellers are believed to have had ghostly experiences. Storytelling hotels are on the rise, and whether it’s scary, weird or a luxury experience, the point is to make a lasting impression.
Long Beach, USA – The Queen Mary Hotel
As a 1936 ocean liner, the RMS Queen Mary roamed the high seas until 1967, serving as both a luxury cruise boat to the world’s rich and famous crossing the Atlantic, in addition to a troopship during World War II. Nowadays, however, she functions as one of the most haunted hotels in the united states, located at Long Beach, 40 kilometres south-east of Downtown Los Angeles, California.
Just shy of 50 people died aboard the Queen Mary during her years of operation, and of those deaths, some spirits of the deceased have lingered.
One of the many reported instances of paranormal activity here was’a woman in white’, sightings of children who drowned in the ship’s pool along with a young seaman by the name of John Henry. After lying about his age to the board, John was crushed to death in 1966 – it is said you can still hear knocks and see bright lights around the engine rooms 13 where he met his death.
Latvia – Karosta Prison Hostel
Built around 1900 as an infirmary, Karosta Prison was mostly used during the 20th century as a Nazi and Soviet military prison, where hundreds of prisoners were murdered.
It was here that during World War II, the Nazis sentenced Latvian deserters to departure.
With so much terror has taken place within these walls, it is not surprising that there have been several reports of paranormal activity, so much so that the prison was turned into a boutique hotel for ghost-chasing travellers.
However, a night in the clink is not for the genteel – visitors need to sign a release form acknowledging they are registering for the ‘full prisoner experience’ in Communist-era conditions. This implies death threats, warning gunfire, verbal abuse and physical exercise; all for only $16 per night.
If this does not get your heart racing, numerous effects have not been orchestrated by employees, including light bulbs which allegedly screw out of the sockets, cell doors opening by themselves as well as the noise of chains heard echoing down the halls.
Chicago, USA – The Congress Plaza
Known as Chicago’s most haunted hotel, The Congress Plaza was constructed more than 100 years ago, initially to adapt The Chicago World’s Fair. It currently has 871 guest rooms and is among the most popular resorts in town, despite its spooky inhabitants.
Room 441 is apparently haunted with a shadowy female figure flanked by the bed, though a gloved hand has also been seen sticking out of the hotel wall, allegedly belonging to a worker buried under the resort.
The resort was rumoured to be the home of infamous gangster Al Capone for some time, and some claim he could nevertheless be heard by guests wandering the halls.
Australian star chef, Pete Evans, made international headlines when he became so overwhelmed with a spooky feeling while staying there which he left in the middle of the night.
Oxford, England – Malmaison Oxford Castle
Originally built by William the Conqueror in 1071, Malmaison Oxford Castle once housed England’s most infamous criminals.
Many tortured souls that met their end here at Malmaison Oxford Castle have allegedly been seen around the house, such as 31-year-old Mary Blandy who had been hanged for allegedly poisoning her father in 1752. Rumour has it her ghost can still be seen walking in the region where she’d have been hanged, nearly 300 years later.
A priest was allegedly called upon in the 1970s to carry out an exorcism of the building but failed to suppress the wandering spirits.
Canada – Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
While the Canadian Rockies are interchangeable with magnificent wilderness, they also conceal some ghostly stories at the expansive, castle-like Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel in Alberta.
Built over 125 years back by the Canadian Pacific Railway as a luxury stop-off stage for train travellers, it has witnessed some tragedies in its time.
One of them was a bride that allegedly fell down a sidewalk and broke her neck after panicking when her dress caught fire. Some say her apparition was seen on the stairs and dance in the ballroom.
Another was a family that was murdered in room 873, and visions of them have been seen to this day, often in the hallway outside the room.
But maybe the most popular of these reports is that of the former bellman, Sam Macauley. He served at the resort during the 60s and 70s, and it is said he can nevertheless be seen helping guests up to their rooms in his classic uniform, often turning on lights and opening locked doors.
Bangkok, Thailand – The Asia Hotel
While this 600-room hotel in central Bangkok is popular among travellers, its ample rooms aren’t all that it is known for.
One guy claimed to have heard crying noises in the bathroom, which he supposed to be his wife. But she was not there — when he went to check on her, the room was vacant.
Through the years other guests have reported seeing ghostly figures sitting on the couches, staring at them but evaporating shortly after.
Dubline, Ireland – The Shelbourne
Luxurious hotel The Shelbourne has gathered plenty of accolades through the years, such as being voted number one hotel in Dublin in Conde Nast’s 2011 Reader’s Choice Awards. It boasts a central location, elegant design, an indulgent spa and oh, that’s correct, ghosts.
Most notable is the ghost of a little girl called Mary Masters, who is believed to haunt the halls of the house and allegedly cries out for her sister Sophie.
Some have reasoned that Mary was among the group of kids living in the row of homes which once stood where the resort is currently, and died as a child in a cholera outbreak.
Actress Lily Collins (daughter of Phil Collins) allegedly had a run in with her while remaining on the fifth floor in 2013.
If you’re looking for the ultimate spooky experience locally, be sure to check out Hobart hotel packages during Dark Mofo. Immerse yourself in everything dark and mysterious at the festival.