Checking into a hotel with supernatural entities isn’t just a trope for horror films and TV series. If you’re a budding ghost hunter or a history buff, celebrate the fall by booking a stay at one of these iconic haunted hotels in Canada and the United States.
Fort Garry Hotel (Winnipeg, Manitoba)
Any building with this much history is bound to have a ghost or two. Room 202 and the entire second floor are hubs of supernatural activity, and there are two leading stories told by guests at the Fort Garry. In one, a spirit woman dressed in a white ball gown has been spotted. This is believed to be the ghost of Lady McMillan who stayed at the hotel for its grand opening in 1913. The other story is far more tragic, with the ghost of a bride who died by suicide shortly after her wedding. She had sent her new husband out for headache pills when he was tragically killed, and although the exact way she died was never confirmed, her ghost waits on the bed for her husband to return.
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The Stanley Hotel (Estes Park, Colorado)
Many guests have reported feeling the spirits of past guests as well as the founders of the hotel, Freelan Oscar and Flora Stanley, a couple who relocated from the East Coast to the Rocky Mountains when F.O. was struck with tuberculosis. Stephen King and his wife stayed in room 217, which became room 237 in his bestselling book. The hotel has fully embraced its spirited legacy, offering nighttime ghost tours of the property, and also hosting a horror film festival.
Related: Best places to see fall colours across Canada.
Fairmont Le Château Frontenac (Quebec City, Quebec)
The Hollywood Roosevelt (Los Angeles, California)
A couple of guests loved the hotel so much that they've been rumoured to be hanging around the property decades after their deaths. Hollywood legend Marilyn Monroe has been seen in her suite, #1200, where she is said to appear in the mirrors. Actor Montgomery Clift has been spotted in room 928 where guests have stated that he prevented them from moving while on the bed, or that they've seen him pacing the hallway outside the room. Other ghost sightings include 5-year old Caroline who is constantly looking for her mom, and a male spirit who loves to play the piano.
Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel (Banff, Alberta)
The Banff Springs has two famous ghosts. First is The Bride, a young woman who died in her gown on her wedding day, either when she fell down one of the marble staircases to her death, or her dress caught on fire when it brushed against a candle. Guests and staff have seen a veiled woman moving up and down the stairs or dancing in the ballroom. The second resident ghost is Sam the Bellman, aka Sam McCauley, the old Scotsman who was the head bellman during the 60s and 70s. Guests claim that he's helped them get into rooms when keys wouldn't work.
Hotel Parq Central (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
Rather than shy away from its history, the hotel has embraced the antique hospital aesthetic in its decor, complete with door hangers that read "Quarantine" instead of "Do Not Disturb" and "Nurse!" instead of "Housekeeping Please." I've actually stayed at the Parq Central, and while I didn't experience anything paranormal in my first floor room, I did hear guests at breakfast saying that something kept pulling their blankets off them in the middle of the night in their third floor room (which is the most reported activity). A female apparition has also been seen watching people in the hallways of the right wing's top floor.
The Algonquin Resort (St. Andrews, New Brunswick)
One of the Algonquin's most famous ghosts is a bride who was left at the altar. She's been seen in room 473, heartbroken and sobbing, or looking out the windows of the tower — an area that has been closed for years. Another is the older man who shows guests to their rooms while telling them about the history of the hotel, and disappears when the guests turn around to tip him. There's also a watchman who roams the halls while jingling his keys, a woman who rearranges table settings in the dining room, and a child who laughs and plays throughout the hotel.
See also: 19 secret places in Canada that locals don't want you to know about.
The Driskill (Austin, Texas)
One of the other famous ghosts is that of four-year-old Samantha Houston, the daughter of a US senator, who died when she tripped on the grand staircase while she was playing with a ball. Visitors have noted the sound of a girl's laughter and a bouncing ball, and a fourth floor painting that may be of Samantha has been reported to change facial expressions while others report feeling ill while looking at it. Another ghost is that of Mrs. Bridges, a front desk employee who was very dedicated to her job. She's often spotted in her Victorian garb, surrounded by the scent of roses, walking from the vault to the centre of the lobby.
Fairmont Hotel Vancouver (Vancouver, British Columbia)
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The Bowery Hotel (New York City, New York)
Prince of Wales Hotel (Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario)
Guests have shared stories of Room 207, including flickering lights, inexplicable footsteps, and the showerhead turning on and off by itself. Plus, right outside the hotel, a ghost horse and carriage has been seen on more than one occasion. End a day of touring the local wineries with a spooky tour and a stay at this Victorian hotel.