No matter how creepy you make your Halloween costume, it doesn’t really frighten anyone over the age of five. For the real ghoulish deal, pack your bags for one of these bewitching breaks. But be prepared to be scared. The ghosts in these hotels apparate at the most unexpected times — and places. Luckily, meals are mostly spook-free, so you can dine in style, then settle down for a phantasmic night.
Rest in peace!
La Posada de Santa Fe: Santa Fe, New Mexico
Built in 1882 as a family home, La Posada was struck by tragedy when the seventh child, a son, died at a young age. His mother, Mrs. Julia Staab, was devastated and passed away by unknown causes a few years later at the age of 52. (Rumor had it she’d lost her mind.) The spirit of the grieving Julia is said to linger in La Posada de Santa Fe to this day.
To investigate the ghoulish goings-on, an episode of Unsolved Mysteries was filmed here, focusing on Julia’s former bedroom (now Room 100), where the most sightings of her have been reported. She’s also occasionally seen on the stairwell and once, frighteningly, staring back at a guest from his bathroom mirror! It’s said that she wears a long flowing dark gown with a hood, and has been known to move objects, such as candlesticks, around the room while guests are asleep.
Guests stay in the family’s former home, a beautiful pueblo-revival building, or its annexes, and can hit the nearby slopes for good skiing. Refuel with a meal at the hotel’s award-winning Fuego restaurant, although you might struggle to make a selection from the vast cheese cart, one of the region’s largest. But in a haunted hotel, there’s one cheese you must sample — the Muenster.
Hotel El Convento: Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
When Doña Ana’s husband died in battle in the 17th century, she was so distraught, she decided to devote her life — and her home — to god, turning the house into a convent. She petitioned the king to build a new, larger convent, and it was opened in 1651 with Doña Ana as the Mother Superior. Hundreds of nuns lived — and died (of natural causes) — in the convent over the centuries, and it finally closed down in 1903.
Now one of the city’s finest historic hotels, guests frequently report hearing the swishing of the ghostly nuns’ robes as they walk the corridors. Peeking out of their rooms, the noise stops and nobody is there. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/cogito ergo imago)
Even if there are no nuns on your visit, you’ll still love Hotel El Convento’s historic architecture and laid-back ambience. Pop on a sundress and sandals, and grab a table at the hotel’s El Picoteo restaurant, which overlooks the sunny specter-free patio, to share tapas, empanadas, and the island’s best paella.