Get Your Ghost On at These Spooky Cali Hotels: Last Minute Halloween Getaways
Are You Brave Enough to Spend the Night in One of These Haunted Hotels? Try a Last Minute Halloween Getaway
The Brown Lady by Captain Provand
Are you a skeptic? Thierry Roch, Executive Director of Historic Hotels of America, admits he’s a believer. “Yes, I’ve had my own otherworldly experiences in hotels. Also, working with 235 historic hotels we get a lot of stories: Spirits sleeping on the floor, toilet paper folded back into the neat triangle in the middle of the night, canopy beds shaking in a still room, moving chairs rocking,” says Roch, “One bartender almost got fired because he would lock the liquor cabinet at night and his boss would find it wide open every morning.” Now that’s my kind of ghoul!
Here’s where you can try to get cozy with the supernatural in California:
Hotel del Coronado, San Diego, California
As a National Historic Landmark, the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego has a rich and colorful heritage. From Marilyn Monroe to Charles Lindbergh, from state dinners to the ghost of Kate Morgan, the Del has 120 years of stories to tell.
Built in 1888 and renowned for its magnificent architecture, the Hotel del Coronado is equally well known for its legendary guests. Ten United States presidents have stayed at the resort, starting with Benjamin Harrison in 1891.
With its close proximity to Los Angeles, the Hotel del Coronado has attracted movie stars since 1901, when the first film was made in Coronado. In 1958, Some Like It Hot was filmed at the Del, starring Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis.
Although the resort has hosted many VIPs over the years, there is one guest—Kate Morgan—who some say has been here since 1892. Kate checked into the hotel broken-hearted and alone. Five days later, she was found dead on the beach, a gunshot wound to her head. Kate had apparently killed herself after a quarrel with her estranged husband. Since that time, resort guests, associates, and even paranormal researchers have attested that Kate’s former room is haunted by her spirit. Could it be that she is still waiting for her husband in room 3327?
The Queen Mary, Long Beach, California
Making her majestic debut on May 27, 1936, The Queen Mary sailed her maiden voyage for the Cunard Line and began over 30 illustrious years sailing the North Atlantic Ocean.
The awe-inspiring size, speed, and strength of The Queen Mary were prime reasons why she was turned into a troopship during the Second World War. The ship’s new gray color and her boundless speed earned her the nickname, the “Grey Ghost.” The Queen Mary succeeded as one of the fastest troopships sailing the open sea, often carrying up to 15,000 military personnel in a single voyage. Following the war, The Queen Mary transformed back into a luxurious passenger liner and for another 20 years this legendary ship continued to make transatlantic steamship history.
The Queen Mary officially retired from service in 1967, leaving the foggy shores of her English home and sailing to the endless sunshine of the port of Long Beach, California, where she transformed into the majestic attraction she is today. Now listed on the National Register for Historic Places, this ship serves an iconic attraction and stately hotel, featuring award-winning restaurants, a sea museum, educational tours, and 314 splendid guestrooms and suites.
People who work on the Queen Mary, guests and visitors have endless ghost stories to tell. The Los Angeles Paranormal Society called the Queen Mary, “The Queen Mary is one of the most haunted locations in the United States (or anywhere, for that matter) according to almost every source of information on the paranormal.”
A young seaman who died in the engine room has been seen and it’s been reported that the door to the engine room is sometimes hot to the touch or that mixed in with a ball of light is tendrils of smoke. In the pool area, a little girl died breaking her neck while sliding down a banister. She now wanders the pool area and nursery looking for her doll or mommy.
“I brought my daughter to visit the Queen Mary when she was four. We were walking around the engine room when my daughter suddenly tugged at my arm and said “Mommy! Mommy! Look at that man.” I turned to but saw nothing. The rest of the day, all she could talk about was the sad looking man who was following her. She said his name was John,” says Margaret from Los Angeles, “With her insistence that she did actually see a person in the engine room, I mentioned it to one of the employees of the ship. …he told me that they often receive reports of similar activity in that area and that records show a young engineer was killed during a drill on one of the ship’s crossings. His name was John.” Mu-ah-ah-ha!
You don’t have to stay on the Queen Mary to experience the paranormal – they offer a Halloween haunted “Dark Harbor” and ghost tours.
Napa River Inn, Napa, California
Built in 1886 as the Hatt Mill Building, a warehouse and feed store, it is now The Napa River Inn. The son of the building’s original owner, Captain Albert Hatt, seems to still be visiting. Albert Jr. married a woman named Margaret in 1889 and together they had five children. Margaret died in 1906. Within a few years Albert Jr., was overwhelmed with caring for his five children and in poor health. On April 1, 1912, Albert Jr. hung himself from a beam in the warehouse. It is the area now occupied by Sweetie Pies Bakery.
Nancy Lochmann, general manager of the hotel, says the first ghost sightings when the hotel opened were visions of a woman. “… in a white dress, who seems to be searching, looking for someone,” says Lochmann. “It might have been Margaret, so much in love with her husband, perhaps trying to stop him from taking his life.”
In another story occurring in the guest room above Sweetie Pies Bakery, a guest tells of hearing a heavy dress sway down the hall and the door opens in room 208 then shuts. The guest then heard what sounded like a man’s footsteps. A door at the other end of the hall in room 207 opened then closed with force. Next, the guest heard walking down the hallway toward room 208. The guest sees nothing. Could this be Margaret and Albert Jr.?
Next time you’re enjoying Napa Valley and California wine country, stay at Napa River Inn or grab a muffin at the bakery and see if you spy any specters.
Paso Robles Inn, Paso Robles, CA
In the mid-1800s, the Paso Robles region—known for its mineral hot springs—was a rest stop for travelers of the Camino Real trail who indulged in the area’s therapeutic watering hole. Today, the Paso Robles Inn carries on this tradition with 30 of its 100 guest rooms outfitted with hot spring spas. Gurgling up at a rate of two million gallons a day and reaching 124° F, the inn is building a new full-service health spa featuring an indoor/outdoor hot springs mineral water plunge bath.
Renowned architect Jacob Lenzen designed the El Paso de Robles Hotel, which was hailed as “absolutely fireproof” when it opened in 1891. That notion went up in flames when the hotel burned to the ground in 1940. Rebuilt and renamed the Paso Robles Inn in 1942, the mission-style hotel and its grand ballroom (the only structure to survive the fire) were restored to their original appearance in 2000.
In addition to the hot springs and nearby vineyards, guests at the inn might enjoy some celestial activity. The front desk of the inn seems to receive mysterious calls from Room 1007 on a regular basis. At first, the management wrote the calls off to a glitch in the phone system. Mike Childs, head of maintenance, even went to the room to inspect the phone line. While standing in the room, he witnessed the phone light up and call the front desk. When he tried calling the desk himself, the phone, which has two lines, cut him off and called the front desk on the second line. The spirit took matters into its own hands one night and placed a call to 911. When police arrived, they found the room unoccupied. Creeped out yet? General Manager Paul Wallace attributes the call to a story in a 1940 newspaper article. On December 19, 1940, night clerk J.H. Emsley discovered a fire on the second floor of the hotel. Emsley rushed downstairs, sounded the alarm and then died of a heart attack. Thanks to Emsley’s action, all of the hotel’s guests were evacuated, but Wallace thinks the spectral clerk might not know that.
Chateau Marmont, Hollywood, California
Modeled after an infamous royal residence in France’s Loire Valley, Chateau Marmont is a luxury hotel in the land of make believe. Guests are a highly discriminating, international clientele desiring an experience at once luxurious and unique. Many celebs past and present have called the hotel their home including: Greta Garbo, Howard Hughes, Rock Hudson, Montgomery Cliff, Lindsay Lohan and Keanu Reeves.
Chateau is the perfect co-conspirator; as Harry Cohn, founder of Columbia Pictures said in 1939, “If you must get in trouble, do it at the Chateau Marmont.” There are those in residence who are desperate to be seen and others who choose to remain anonymous. The eccentric history of the place, its luscious rich past and its tarnished patina are all part of the charm.
Guests and hotel employees have reported furniture moving, voices, noises, feelings of being watched when no one was there, even one ghost who climbs into female guests’ beds. They say that the bungalows are haunted by several ghosts including Rachmaninoff, Harpo Marx and John Belushi who died in Bungalow 3. One young guest of Bungalow 3 told his mom that “The funny man” kept him up all night being silly and telling jokes. Years later the boy saw a photo of Belushi and identified him as the funny man.
Rumor has it that room 79 is the most haunted place in the hotel as someone may have died in there. The hotel staff loathes going in that room and guests have reported hearing knocks on the door, and seeing lines of ghosts pushing on the door trying to get into the room. Furniture gets moved into strange positions. One woman reported a head floating outside of that window. Too much partying or poltergeists? You decide! Either way, you know the ghosts at Marmont are going to be decadently naughty.