Forget five star luxury and relaxation: at this time of year, thrill-seeking travellers are seeking out the supernatural in the numerous hotels around the world that report ghostly happenings in their rooms and hallways…

New Orleans, US

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The Hotel Maison de Ville is said to have an unseen visitor who turns the radio to the country music station whenever it has a chance!

No less than five ghosts are said to walk the halls of Le Pavillion, including a tearful teenager who reportedly bumps into guests in the hallways, and a wildly dressed hippie who rips the blankets off sleeping guests’ beds in the middle of the night! 

For the biggest thrill in the Big Easy though, you have to step into the Provincial Hotel. The land on which the five buildings of the Provincial Hotel sit has a history that pre-dates the hotel. Military hospitals, slave quarters and several homes seem to have left their mark on the area, and the spirits that once walked these places are rumoured to have happily taken up residence in the hotel. 

Only this can explain the sightings of soldiers from both the 18th and 19th century that visit guests in Building 500. It’s said that one soldier mourns the loss of his sweetheart and consoles himself by turning on the radio in the room.  He will calmly change the station if he doesn’t like the song.  Another soldier down the hall stares at guests until they make eye contact – and then vanishes.  In various rooms guests have reported disappearing bloodstains and unearthly moans of pain. Others report seeing a room full of wounded men and doctors. They vanish when the lights are turned on. 

California, US

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It’s said that Mary Curry Tressider was so pleased with how her stay the Ahwanhee Hotel in Yosemite National Park turned out that she decided to stay there after she died.  Her sixth floor apartment has been renovated into separate rooms, and guests report being startled by her unexpected presence.  In addition to the several unidentified spooks that seem to wander the halls, a rocking chair is often seen in motion on the third floor. Except that there is no rocking chair, when the lights are on…

In 1892, beautiful, young Kate Morgan checked in to the Hotel del Coronado. Five days later the unhappy woman was found on an exterior staircase, dead from a gunshot wound. The coroner determined that the wound was self-inflicted and that the lovely Kate had chosen to end her life – but not her stay at the hotel. 

Kate is said to be a sweet ghost who can be seen anywhere on the grounds or in her old rooms. Lovers should take heed, however. Kate was jilted by her own lover and has been known to abruptly awaken couples staying in her room.  Other spirits are said to rearrange things in rooms while guests are sleeping or throw glassware off the shelves in the gift shop.

The Queen Mary, which is docked at Long Beach, is so consistently spooky that ghost tours of the ship are as sought after as a night’s berth. 

While she was sailing the seas, her services ranged from being a luxury liner to a World War II transport vessel.  Now she spends her time as a hotel. Soldiers, sailors and the elite have all met their ends inside her hull and it’s said that they now have nowhere else to go. 

Young John Henry was sadly crushed while trying to escape a fire, and engine room 13 experiences loud noises, lights and even a smell of smoke. A little girl who suffered a broken neck stayed to play by the pool where she fell.  It’s said that two women who also died by the pool stay to keep her company. 

Feeling Peckish? Head down to the kitchens where it’s claimed that the screams of a cook who burned to death echo through the rooms. Or, when you’ve had enough ghost-hunting, settle down in a quiet area and it’s said that you’ll hear the pounding on the hulls as drowning victims beg the ship to rescue them.

Sydney, Australia

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The Rocks, which has some of the most historic buildings in the city, is said to be the haunted region of Sydney.  At the Russell Hotel, which was once a sailor’s hostel, patrons of room eight report a feeling of being stared at or awoken in the dark. Others have spoken of a spectral figure appearing before them at night and of the ghosts of prostitutes opening and closing doors. So don’t be surprised if you feel someone touching you – even if you thought you were alone in the room.

Banff, Canada

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Perhaps it’s the name of the hotel that is part of the problem.  After all, the Fairmont Hotel in Vancouver, BC, is said to be home to an elegant woman in red that haunts the 14th floor, and the Fairmont Algonquin Hotel in Saint Andrews-by-the-Sea, New Brunswick, boasts tales of a sobbing bride in room 473. Even Le Fairmont Château Frontenac in Quebec City is said to have spirits that flit through the rooms and hallways.

The regal Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel is said to be home to gracious and considerate ghosts, as one would expect from Canadian spirits. Sam McAuley was a bellman at the hotel that reportedly loved his work, and he promised to return after he retired.  Shortly after his death in 1976, people began reporting a bellman dressed in old-fashioned attire showing them to their rooms. Some say he is so real that they think nothing is amiss – until he vanishes as they hand him a tip. 

Another graceful ghost is that of a bride who whirls alone in the dining room. Sadly, she died on her wedding day when she fell down a staircase, and there she stays, still dancing to music that only she hears. Other fleeting spirits walk the halls and visit the rooms, much to the delight of guests who have to book well in advance to stay at this very popular hotel.

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