12 Haunted Hotels that Are Home to Ghosts and Gastronomy Slideshow
October 12, 2012
The Fairmont Hotel (Vancouver)
When The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver was originally constructed, eight elevator shafts were built to accommodate guests, but budgetary restrictions led to only six elevators being installed. The hotel’s friendly spirit, The Lady in Red, is said to inhabit one of the empty elevator shafts. Porters, employees, and guests have come around the corner on the mezzanine level just in time to see the elevator door open and a lady in a brilliant red dress appear in one of the shafts with no actual elevator or door. On a practical level, the empty elevator shaft was used when it came time for the hotel to go high-tech, serving as the place to discreetly run the Internet wires to each guest floor. Overlooking the Vancouver Art Gallery, the hotel’s bistro Griffins is a must for its Canadian hospitality.
The Fairmont Empress (Victoria, British Columbia)
Upon looking up to the highest point of The Fairmont Empress in Victoria, British Columbia, guests will see three windows in the turret, which was completed in the 1920s and constructed without a door. During renovation of the hotel a few years ago, a roofer was stretching a 2-by-4 across to the eaves when he walked over and peeked inside the window. Inside the sealed room was a pillow and blanket, which remain there to this day. During your stay, debate what ghostly presence has taken over the room over traditional afternoon tea.
The Fairmont (San Francisco)
In 1926, John S. Drum, president of the American Trust Company, persuaded the owner of The Fairmont San Francisco to construct a grand residence atop the hotel, which Drum could lease for $1,000 per month. Arthur Upham Pope, America’s foremost scholar on Persian art and architecture, designed The Penthouse, and his exotic influence can be found in striking details throughout the one-of-a-kind suite, including secret passageways. In the Penthouse there are three secret passageways — a stairway that connects the gallery to the roof, a servant's corridor behind the Penthouse with doors that are flush to the wall that are barely visible, and a staircase from the Penthouse to the seventh floor, which is said to be haunted. Take a break from ghost hunting with a meal at one of the hotel’s three restaurants.
The Grove Park Inn (Asheville, N.C.)
The Grove Park Inn has had a ghost roaming its halls for more than half a century. She is referred to as the Pink Lady because of the flowing pink gown she wears. It is believed that this young woman was a guest in Room 545 in the 1920s and that she either jumped or was pushed to her death in the Main Inn’s Palm Court, five floors below. She is reportedly still seen on the property, especially by young children; some say they just see a pink mist, others a full apparition of a young long-haired beauty in a pink gown. Guests who visit can take in the sights of the Blue Ridge Mountain’s fall foliage from the Sunset Terrace, and guests can try the tasting menu at The Grove Park Inn’s Horizons restaurant, which serves contemporary American cuisine using fresh ingredients from local farmers.
Omni Mount Washington (Bretton Woods, N.H.)
Omni Mount Washington Resort hosts the ghost of Caroline Foster, the wife of railroad tycoon and the resort’s builder, Joseph Stickney. An elegant woman in Victorian dress is often spotted in the hallways of the hotel, but perhaps the most common sighting of the beloved Caroline is in room 314, where guests report seeing the vision of the woman sitting at the edge of their guest bed. This year, guests can get in on the scares with a new Haunted Canopy Tour offered Oct. 26 and Oct. 27 where you can zip line through the trees during the early evening hours and be spooked by ghouls and goblins. Guests can experience the fall harvest with the resort’s six-course Golden Sash Dinner, which is customized for each guest two weeks prior to their stay.
The Homestead (Hot Springs, Va.)
Built in 1766, The Homestead is one of the oldest resorts in America. As the story goes, in the early 1900s, a woman was set to be married at The Homestead but on the day of her wedding her husband-to-be ran out and never returned. The bride became so distraught that she took her own life. Now, her spirit supposedly roams the 14th floor of the resort asking guests and staff for the time, with hopes that her groom will return. Guests of The Homestead resort can enjoy the sweet smells of fall at breakfast with the resort's signature cinnamon donuts.
La Posada de Santa Fe (Santa Fe, N.M.)
La Posada de Santa Fe dates to 1882, when a Santa Fe Trail merchant, Abraham Staab, built it as a three-story Victorian mansion for his family. When Staab’s wife, Julia, died in 1896 at the age of 52, her presence continued to live on in the property. Today, the Staab House at La Posada de Santa Fe retains its original structure and is home to a cozy bar and Suite 100, which used to be Julia’s bedroom. To honor her, the hotel staff makes sure to invite her to parties held in the house and greet her when they enter her bedroom. The resort recently appointed a new executive chef Carmen Rodriguez, and his Nana’s Mexican Chocolate Mousse, a recipe passed on from his grandmother, is a must-try.
Jumby Bay (Jumby Bay Island, Saint John's, Antigua)
Jumby Bay, a Rosewood Resort located on the private island of Jumby Bay, takes its name from "jumbie," Antiguan colloquial for "playful spirit." In Antiguan culture, it is considered taboo to pass by graveyards at night for fear of becoming entrapped by jumbies, spirits of people who have become trapped in a state of limbo or purgatory who remain near their grave sites until they have served enough time to earn a place in heaven. The small island of Jumby Bay has an old graveyard near the main beach dating back to the 1700s. After avoiding ghost sightings (or seeking them out), visitors can feast at The Estate House, a Spanish Colonial plantation that was once the centerpiece of the island’s sugar plantation and now serves Mediterranean-inspired cuisine like a palm heart salad with garden greens, tomato, celery, and passion fruit dressing.
Otesaga Resort Hotel (Cooperstown, N.Y.)
For years, the 103-year-old Otesaga Resort Hotel was rumored to have paranormal activity. From 1920 to 1954, the hotel was the Knox School for Girls, a private girl’s school, and guests have reported hearing children playing and giggling in the third floor hallway. Voices have been heard in the Glimmerglass Room, apparitions have been seen walking hand-in-hand in period clothing, staff have heard their names being called from unseen sources, and a security officer has heard people walking above him on the fifth floor. After a visit from Syfy Channel’s Ghost Hunters, the stories were found to be true, as the crew confirmed that the historic hotel is indeed haunted with "friendly spirits." Guests should try chef Michael Gregory’s locally sourced fare at The Hawkeye Bar & Grill.
Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club (St. Petersburg, Fla.)
The 86-year-old Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club may add some "spirit" to the vacations of guests who request to stay in a room in the resort’s historical main tower built in 1925, which has reportedly been known to experience friendly paranormal activity. The hotel is getting ghoulish this Halloween with a Spirits Menu at Marchand’s Bar and Grill, the Promenade Lounge, and Alfresco’s, which features the Graveyard Brew ($10), Pumpkin Spook ($12), and the Ghost-tini ($12).
Esperanza Mansion (Keuka Park, N.Y.)
Esperanza Mansion is home to a resident lady-in-white ghost. Not too far from the mansion is Spook Hill, a hill where if guests park their car and put it in neutral it will start moving slowly uphill by itself. Some believe this to be an optical illusion, while others claim that a Native American ghost pushes the cars up the hill. While staying at the haunted hotel, guests can book the Dine Inn package (rates start at $219), which includes accommodations and a $100 gift card to use in the hotel’s Mediterranean Union Block restaurant. The hotel also offers a wine tour.
Jared Coffin House (Nantucket, Mass.)
Between the Quakers and all the captains and sailors that have been lost at sea, Nantucket is one spooky island. Jared Coffin House is said to be haunted by the ghost of the whaling captain for whom the house is named. The ghost of Jared Coffin is rumored to appear in room 223, and guests of room 609 have claimed to see an apparition of a little girl. Other ghosts are also believed to roam the halls and rooms of this historic property, including the ghost of an old man who sometimes sits near fireplaces when a fire is roaring. Guests get a 15 percent discount at the hotel’s restaurant, the Essex Room, Lounge & Terrace, which serves contemporary American cuisine.