Fascinated by what goes bump in the night? We are, too. In the spirit of Halloween and exploring the darker side of travel, the team at CheapAir has hand-picked the following properties as ideal sites to experience paranormal activity, shiver-inducing apparitions and ghostly whispers. You get the idea.
Los Angeles – The Millenium Biltmore Hotel
The Millenium Biltmore Hotel, a luxury hotel located in downtown Los Angeles, opened more than 90 years ago. The hotel features frescoes, fountains, spiraling staircases and numerous mirrors – all lending to its elegant and mysterious aura. Throughout the Prohibition years, the hotel hosted a secret nightclub for those who wanted to indulge in a little bathtub gin. This likely helped the hotel remain successful throughout the depression. Throughout World War II, the Biltmore was a popular place to rest and socialize for soldiers on their way to and from the violence in the Pacific Theater. And true to Los Angeles, legendary celebrities such as Walt Disney, Katherine Hepburn and Mae West frequented the hotel in its heyday. In fact, the Biltmore was an early host of the Academy Awards ceremonies for the Oscars.
Guests of the hotel report feeling strange as they wander the hotel. There have been reports of beds shaking, voices, mysterious blue orbs hovering about, and faceless children in the halls. It’s also the last place Elizabeth Short, the infamous Black Dahlia and victim of an unsolved murder, was reportedly seen, speaking to someone on the phone in the lobby. Anxious to experience the spookiness for yourself? The tenth and eleventh floors are supposed to be where the creepiest action happens, and you can also take a tour of the hotel via the Los Angeles Conservancy.
Rooms from $167.
New Orleans – Bourbon Orleans Hotel
Some say New Orleans has more missing and dead residents than living ones, largely due to the fact that the city is cursed by having been built directly atop Native American burial grounds. No matter how you feel about ghosts, you have to agree that the folklore and tales surrounding New Orleans’ many haunted hotels is fascinating, if not a little unnerving.
The Bourbon Orleans Hotel is located in New Orleans’ famed French Quarter. It was originally built in 1817 as a ballroom where for more than 20 years city residents and visitors socialized and danced the night away. But in 1881, that same ballroom became a chapel when the entire establishment was converted into a convent. The building did not become a hotel until 1964 when a developer renovated it to reflect much of the property’s original opulence and glamour. Today some say there are nearly 20 ghosts that roam the hotel, ranging from a Confederate soldier to lonely dancer in the former ballroom to whispers from women and children in the halls.
Rooms from $127.
Portland – The Heathman Hotel
The Heathman Hotel’s ghost is a story of depression and suicide. Story has it that a man killed himself at the hotel many years ago by jumping out a window—and now his ghost haunts every single room that he passed on his way down to his death, namely – every room that ends in a “3”. Hotel guests have said they feel a presence with them in their rooms—in their beds even!—and they report that when they leave the hotel to explore the city, many times they return to find soiled towels, a messy bed and their personal effects out of place. Strange shadows lurk in room corners, and some have said they’ve awoken at night to a face staring back at them. Spooky!
The Heathman Hotel has been open since 1927 when construction on the building was completed. It’s located in the charm of downtown Portland. Besides ghosts, the hotel offers the Heathman Restaurant, known as one of the best restaurants in the city.
Rooms from $198.
Austin – The Driskill
In 1850 a cattle baron named Jesse Driskill invested everything he gained from serving in the Confederate Army into building his own hotel, the Driskill. It was the nicest hotel in Austin at the time—a room at the Driskill went for a steep $2.50 to $5.00 a night versus the average fifty-cents for other hotels. Unfortunately, Jesse Driskill eventually lost the hotel to his brother in a nasty game of poker, and he later died of a stroke in 1890. Today, the Driskill is still a fine place to stay, featured bridal suites, a gym, incredible service and a luxurious, timeless elegance.
But there’s more to the Driskill than beautiful rooms and fine dining. Guests tell stories of a woman screaming in the night and the sensation of being touched by an unseen person or thing. Surely the most haunted room at the Driskill is 525—where two young women committed suicide in separate events, 20 years apart. The story of Room 525 is so dark and disturbing that the space was closed down for many years. Other stories include sightings of a female apparition and spotting Jesse Driskill himself roaming the halls; many folks have experienced smelling his cigar and spotting his likeness in the lobby.
Rooms from $259.
Chicago – Congress Plaza Hotel
The Congress Plaza Hotel (“The Congress”) was built in 1893 as part of the Chicago World Fair efforts to place the city on the world stage. And it was around that time that some of the hotel’s earliest and most frightening tales took place, as Dr. Holmes—the serial killer who lured young women back to his pharmacy to work for him, only to torture and murder them—used the hotel lobby to recruit his victims.
Other notorious hotel visitors include Al Capone, who is said to have had a suite on the eighth floor. And on the sixth floor, the ghost of a boy is said to linger in the hallways, eager to play with hotel guests. Apparently his mother jumped from a window with h and his brother in arms to commit suicide—but only one of the boy’s bodies made it to the morgue. In the hotel ballrooms, guests say they have heard a soft female voice whisper in their ear—and later in the evening, security personnel say chairs and furniture move about without explanation. In room 441, a shadowy female figure is said to appear at the foot of the bed, waking guests in the middle of the night with an angry kick. And perhaps creepiest of all is the sealed off room 666, where supposedly it’s so haunted the hotel has simply shut it down for good.
Rooms from $80.
Atlanta – The Ellis Hotel
Formerly known as the Winecoff and located on Atlanta’s well known Peachtree Street, the Ellis Hotel’s history is a tragic one. In 1913 when the hotel was built, it was the largest hotel in the country at 15-stories high. But it was built with zero fire escapes, sprinklers or any fire alarm functionality! In 1946 the hotel was the site of a massive fire which killed 119 people, the deadliest hotel fire to date in the United States. Guests fell to their death, or were suffocated by smoke. Today’s guests say the fire tragedy lingers in the hallways and dark corners of the hotel. People have seen hazy faces, smelled smoke and been awakened at night to sounds of commotion and frightening chaos.
Rooms from $170.
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*Avg. nightly rates are for double occupancy per room unless otherwise stated and exclude tax recovery charges and service fees.