America's Most Notorious Hotel Ghosts

Some guests check into hotels … and never check out. Introducing the most famous hotel ghosts in America, notorious for causing decades-long paranormal activity: From an abandoned bride at the Hotel del Coronado to the late comedian John Belushi at the Chateau Marmont, these ghosts are not looking to leave their haunted "homes" anytime soon -- and mortals who’ve encountered them can attest to that. Luckily, about the most that hotel guests will experience are tingling touches, unusual shadows, whispers ... and maybe a joke or two. So no need to call in the exorcist … yet.

Hotel del Coronado
Hotel del Coronado

Hotel del Coronado

San Diego

The most famous ghost in San Diego is at Hotel del Coronado, a historic hotel (now managed by KSL Resorts) that opened in 1888. Kate Morgan has haunted the hotel since 1892, the year she checked in and awaited the arrival of her husband. The 2 were traveling con artists. Not surprisingly, her husband never showed up and, 4 days later, the despondent (and pregnant) Kate was found dead at the bottom of an outdoor staircase leading to Coronado Beach, with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Her ghost is often seen both in the hotel and on the beach.

In case you’re curious where Kate stayed, check out Room 3327 (formerly Room 3312). That’s not the only creepy spot. So is Room 3519 (formerly Room 3502): Once a maid’s room, it’s been the site of numerous paranormal occurrences, such as objects moving around by themselves. Allegedly, the mistress of the hotel owner committed suicide in the room when she found out she was pregnant.

1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa
1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa

1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Once a cancer-curing hospital (in the 1930s), the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa is touted by paranormal investigators as one of the most haunted hotels in the world. Visitors have experienced chilling, tingling touches, unusual shadows and whispers throughout the entire hotel. The hotel also hosts annual conferences on the paranormal, curated by the hotel’s “Director of Ghosts,” with keynote speakers like Larry Flaxman of Arkansas Paranormal & Anomalous Studies Team.

Common ghost sightings include Michael, an Irish stonemason who fell to his death (near what is now Room 218) when building the hotel, and more recently, Irene Castle, a dancer who died of natural causes in 1969. Irene didn’t pass away on the property but she did spend her final years in Eureka Springs, AR, just a few blocks from the Crescent. Other ghost sightings include Theodora, a cancer patient who fumbles for her keys outside Room 419.

City Hotel, Columbia, California
City Hotel

City Hotel

Columbia, California

Should you inquire, City Hotel staff will be quick to tell you about Elizabeth, a woman who died in childbirth, interestingly, not at the hotel but on a bed that was formerly at a private estate. The bed was brought to the hotel (Room 1) in the 1970s -- and seemed to have brought Elizabeth’s ghost with it. Guests can hear Elizabeth crying at night, often in pain. Doors are inexplicably slammed shut and unusual scents like lavender arise out of nowhere within the room.

Some 200 yards away, at the sister property Fallon Hotel, (which was also built in 1857), 2 mischievous young boys (Jimmy and Abraham) move objects around, smear caramel syrup on the walls in the ice cream parlor and tug on skirts. They were both sons of the original owners; Abraham is believed to have died in a fire in the building in the early 1900s, while Jimmy died much later yet returned to the hotel to reunite with his brother.

Provincial Hotel
Ann Christin Karlen Gramming, flickr

Hotel Provincial

New Orleans

In one of the most haunted cities in the world, Provincial has a long, dark history. It served as a hospital for Confederate soldiers, then later burned down in 1874. The grounds were finally transformed into a hotel in 1961. Many of the land’s longtime residents still appear, including a Confederate soldier who refuses to leave. He's been seen in his grey uniform, and is often heard saying things like "She doesn't love me anymore."

Check into Building 500 (one of the hotel’s 5 building units), which stands on the spot where the hotel lived through various businesses and is supposedly the most haunted. Trudy, a staff member who has been with the company for 20 years, says: “What haunts us is a young woman who wears a long, lacey white dress. Two room attendants were making a room in the back and one attendant saw the woman make the other bed. They think she was the daughter or wife of someone who died in the hospital.” Guests also report lightbulbs are unscrewed in lamps during the night, and the safety locks have locked themselves in vacant rooms.

Chateau Marmont, West Hollywood
Sarah Ackerman, flickr

Chateau Marmont

Los Angeles

Haunted hotels are no laughing matter -- unless you're staying at Chateau Marmont in West Hollywood. Known for wild parties and a history of A-list celebrity guests (from Marilyn Monroe to, more recently, Lindsay Lohan), Chateau Marmont has served as the choice crash pad for the famous since 1927. One celebrity who stayed and never left is comedian John Belushi, who died at the hotel from a heroin and cocaine overdose in 1982. Belushi was later discovered dead in Bungalow 3, which remains the site of many strange occurrences.

The most notorious incident occurred in 1999, when a family temporarily moved into Bungalow 3 while their house was being renovated. The family’s 2-year old son was often found laughing and giggling by himself. When asked what he was laughing at, he would respond, "The funny man." When his mother was leafing through a book of celebrity guests of Chateau Marmont, the boy pointed to John Belushi and exclaimed, "The funny man!"

About the Author

Jimmy Im is NYC-based travel writer, TV host and instructor, as well as the cofounder of OutEscapes.com. As an avid traveler, Jimmy has trekked the globe for exciting adventures, from taking a cargo vessel to the Marquesa Islands to bullfighting in Spain (seriously!). If he's not discovering new territory, Jimmy can be found in the comfort of his Lower East Side neighborhood.