Top 10 Haunted Hotels in Canada and the US

by GO GlobeHopper

It doesn’t matter whether it’s Halloween, a sleepover, or roasting marshmallows around the fire during a camping trip, people are always intrigued by scary stories and tales of haunted buildings. From strange noises and voices to inexplicable incidents to actual ghost sightings, there is a multitude of stories that circulate among the travel industry.  So we’ll tell you about the Top 10 Haunted Hotels in Canada and the US.


In Canada:

Algonquin Resort – St. Andrews, New Brunswick

Algonquin Resort – Photo Courtesy of Algonquin Resort

This medievally inspired hotel opened in 1889 and is said to be the home of several ghosts, the most prominent of which is a jilted bride.  As the story goes, she checked into the Algonquin Resort in Room 473 on her wedding day, expecting to ready herself for the nuptials later that day in a nearby church. Sadly, however, the groom to be left her at the altar and she died shortly thereafter, presumably of a broken heart. They say her spirit returned to The Algonquin where she began grieving and continues to mourn to this day.  Her ghost supposedly has been seen several times in Room 473 as well as aimlessly wandering the hotel grounds.

In addition to the bereaved bride, there are also stories of a bellhop that helps guests to their rooms and immediately disappears into thin air again, almost like he was never there. Also common are reports of doors opening and closing, doorknobs rattling, and items disappearing only to show up later in a completely different area of the hotel.


Chateau Laurier – Ottawa, Ontario

Chateau Laurier – Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

This castle-like hotel that sits alongside the Rideau Canal in Canada’s Capital City, was once owned by railway tycoon Charles Melville Hays. Named after Canada’s Prime Minister, Laurier, the hotel was set to undergo its grand opening on April 25 of 1912.  Just 2 weeks prior to the opening, however, business associate J Bruce Ismay invited Hays to join him on the maiden voyage of the Titanic.  The ill-fated and now infamous journey met with tragedy on April 14, 1912, when the ship struck an iceberg and sank. Hays is said to have helped many women and children onto life rafts, but he himself vanished, presumably having gone down with the ship.

Since then, Chateau Laurier is said to have incurred ongoing paranormal activity that employees believe to be Hays continuing to oversee the hotel, which was his passion.  Allegedly, his ghost has been seen walking down hallways and has been known to open and slam doors as well as break things, according to staff and guests.  Folklore suggests he only breaks items that he is not particularly fond of and doesn’t want in the hotel.


Fairmont Banff Springs – Banff, Alberta

Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel – Photo Courtesy of Panoramio

Completed in 1888, this historic hotel has circulated stories of paranormal activity almost since the very beginning.  Though hotel management is naturally hesitant to reveal actual room numbers, it is said that some are more active than others.  Specifically, there was one room in which an entire family was murdered, according to rumors.  Although the room is no longer accessible, it was reported that guests were being awakened by screams and saw bloody handprints on the mirror.   In other rooms, guests have noted being shoved from the beds or having the pillows yanked from under their heads.  We can only assume the message from these spirits is, “If we can’t rest in peace, you can’t either“.

Like the Algonquin Resort in New Brunswick, The Fairmont Banff Springs also has the restless spirit of a bride. However, this one was not left at the altar.  Instead, this 192o’s story says the bride was descending the hotel’s marble staircase when she suddenly stumbled and caught the heel of her shoe in the delicate train of her wedding gown, causing her to slip and fall and sustain such severe injury that she died then and there on the stairs.  A veiled apparition has since been reported by several guests over the years who claim to see the bride dancing in the ballroom as she laments the dance she never had with her husband, and she appears from time to time on the staircase.


Fort Garry Hotel – Winnipeg, Manitoba

Fort Garry Hotel – Photo Courtesy of Robert Linsdell at WikiMediaCommons

This hotel has been the subject of numerous reports of a female haunting the property, supposedly a woman who learned of her husband’s death in a car accident and reacted to the tragic news by committing suicide in Room 202.

People have gone on record as seeing blood dripping from the walls and have spoken of sensations of someone climbing into bed with them.  There also have been accounts of people waking up to see the ghost standing at the foot of their bed.

However, this woman allegedly is not the only ghost to haunt Fort Garry Hotel.  As the story goes, there is a lesser-known entity that can be seen orbiting the lounge or crying in the corner of it.


In the US:

Biltmore Hotel – Coral Gables, Florida

Biltmore Hotel – Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

Located in Southern Florida, the luxurious Biltmore Hotel became a hotspot for celebrities and dignitaries in the ’20s and ’30s. However, despite its reputation as a vacation hotspot in paradise, the building originally was a military hospital that saw much suffering and several deaths. And, after opening as a hotel, it incurred yet another death when gangster Thomas “Fatty” Walsh was murdered there.  Both of these facts have long contributed to rumors of the property being haunted.

The long list of ghostly tales from the Biltmore includes people walking around the hotel but with their feet several inches from the floor as if floating.  It also includes apparitions of army men, sounds of babies crying, party noises despite zero parties happening, and people being touched or tapped on the shoulder.  Another story claims some Catholic girls were walking past the Biltmore one day on their way home from school when they allegedly saw a woman waving from the tower, whereas the front desk clerk tells stories of a man that came to the desk for help and then instantly vanished into thin air.

Then there is the theory of gangster Fatty Walsh haunting the 13th floor – the floor on which he was murdered.  To that point, the hotel notes that their one and only elevator sometimes rises to the 13th floor all on its own, despite that it requires a key card to operate. Psychics have even been consulted about the property, most of whom agree that issues are arising from ghosts with unfinished business.


Dauphine Hotel – New Orleans, Louisiana

Dauphine Hotel – Photo Courtesy of Dauphine Orleans Public Facebook Profile

New Orleans is said to be one of the most haunted cities in North America.  It is steeped in folklore, with voodoo culture and an abundance of historic buildings known to be haunted.  Among these are several hotels.  But the one that holds the title of most tormented is the Dauphine Hotel, which is located in the French Quarter with a portion of the building dating back as far as 1775.

Haunting stories from the Dauphine Hotel widely vary from soldiers of the Civil War to ‘ladies of the evening’.  With respect to the latter, May Baily’s was an infamous bordello in the late 1800s/early 1900s when prostitution was legal.  It just so happens that May Baily’s place now acts as the bar at Dauphine, where staff and guests alike often report ghostly sightings. One presence is believed to be a soldier who was also a former client of the bordello.  The other is a woman thought to be a prostitute who became an alcoholic.

Most visitors describe a feeling of being watched. Others speak of moaning noises, doors locking from the inside, and seeing foggy figures.


Hay Adams Hotel – Washington D.C.

Hay Adams Hotel – Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

It could easily be said that all of Washington is haunted, if not by actual ghosts than by all the backroom politics and nastiness that have taken place over the years.  When it comes to hotels specifically, the Hay Adams Hotel is often mentioned as it is believed to be haunted by the spirit of Clover Adams, the wife of the original owner, Henry Adams.

According to reports, Clover committed suicide in the hotel sometime in 1885, where she has stayed and continues to wander and haunt the fourth floor.  Nevertheless, there are conflicting reports that say she was murdered.  Either way, she is not known to be a danger and presents herself more as depressed.  As such, some visitors claim to have heard her crying in various rooms and stairwells.  Some people report hearing her ask ‘what do you want’ if they are alone in their rooms and some housekeeping staff claim that she hugs them when they come to clean the fourth-floor rooms.

Other bizarre activity includes doors locking or opening and closing by themselves, and clock radios turning on and off.  Some say paranormal activity ramps up in the month of December, which just happens to align with the month in which Clover died.


Hollywood Roosevelt – Los Angeles, California

Hotel Roosevelt – Photo Courtesy of The Hollywood Roosevelt

In 1927, in the midst of Hollywood’s heyday, Hotel Roosevelt opened for business and immediately incurred a star-studded guest list.  With its Spanish Colonial architecture, it was considered a place of luxury and glamour, which was furthered by the premiere after-parties that were held there.  It also hosted the very first Oscar awards.


According to reports, the very stars that initially stayed there are the very stars that continue to haunt the place, with the ghost of actress Carol Lombard supposedly seen on the higher floors, and Montgomery Clift said to be the apparition that pats guests and housekeeping staff on the shoulders when they enter Room 928, which is where he stayed throughout the filming of From Here to Eternity.  And then there’s Marilyn Monroe who allegedly haunts her old room and has been seen around the hotel pool as well.  Additional spirits include two unidentified ghosts, one of whom wears a tuxedo, the other wearing a white suit, both of which are sometimes spotted in the Blossom Room where the first Oscar Awards were held.


The Queen Mary – Long Beach

RMS Queen Mary – Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

The RMS Queen Mary, which sailed primarily on the North Atlantic Ocean from 1936 to 1967, is a British ocean liner with the Cunard Cruise Line.  However, for a time, when WWII commenced in 1939, the Queen Mary temporarily was renamed The Grey Ghost and became a transport ship for allied troops.  In 1942, while transporting 10,000 troops, it smashed into an escort ship called the HMS Curacoa, essentially slicing the ship in half.  However, due to positioning in enemy territory and the need for a quick exit, The Grey Ghost was forced to carry on, leaving the Curacoa to sink and, sadly, its 239 crew members along with it.

After the war, the ship returned to cruising as the Queen Mary but as air travel became more popular its voyages grew fewer. The ship spent 30 years at sea before docking permanently in Long Beach, California, and during that span logged more than 50 onboard deaths.

Upon mooring for the last time, stories circulated almost immediately that the ship was haunted, in particular, a stateroom (B340) where a passenger was known to have been murdered. Other stories of paranormal activity are found within the ship’s logs and include screams from the boiler room where a sailor was severed in half by a heavy door, as well as faucets turning on and off on their own, and a woman in a white gown dancing in the salon area. Instead of shying away from the stories that surround the cruise liner, it has instead embraced them and now hosts a Haunted Encounters Tour.  It has even opened the ship on occasion for overnight guests who wanted to stay in the haunted staterooms.


The Stanley Hotel – Estes Park

The Stanley Hotel – Estes Park. Colorado

The Stanley Hotel – Photo Courtesy of Renoman58 at WikiMedia Commons

The most infamous on this list is Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. This is mainly because it was thrust into the limelight by horror author Stephen King, who stayed in Room 217 and based his novel, The Shining, on the hotel.  Even if you’ve never read the novel, chances are you know about the movie adaptation starring Jack Nicholson.

The hotel (which is also featured in the lead photo) was built in 1909 and began reporting and investigating paranormal activity around the mid-70s. Some people believe the ghosts are former owners F.O. Stanley and his wife Flora, whose apparitions have been seen in the Billiards Room and have been said to play the piano on occasion.

These days, the hotel plays up its reputation by offering nightly ghost tours and allowing select TVs to play The Shining on an infinite loop. They’ve even gone so far as to create a tree maze on the property to honor the film. The hotel is open for business and guests can request to stay in one of several rooms reported to be haunted.


Photo Credits:
Algonquin Resort via Algonquin Resort
Chateau Laurier via Wikipedia by D. Gordon E. Robertson License CC ShareAlike 3.0 Unported
Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel via Panoramio
Fort Garry Hotel via Wikimedia by Robert Linsdell License CC Attribution 2.0 Generic
Biltmore Hotel via Wikipedia by Ebyabe  License CC ShareAlike 3.0 Unported
Dauphine Hotel via Dauphine Hotel
Hay Adams Hotel via Wikipedia by Cliff License CC Attribution 2.0 Generic
Hotel Roosevelt via Hotel Roosevelt
Queen Mary via Wikipedia by David Jones License CC Attribution 2.0 Generic
The Stanley Hotel via Wikimedia by Renoman58 License CC ShareAlike 3.0 Unported


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