10 Most Haunted Hotels in the World

From the famous Stanley Hotel of "Shining" fame to a lesser-known inn in Norfolk, England, these hotels are filled with ghosts.

Taj Mahal Palace Hotel under an ominous sky

Jason Edwards / Getty Images

Whether it's an abandoned 20th-century hotel balancing precariously on the edge of a cliff in Colombia or a boutique property in Los Angeles with all kinds of bustling nightlife, these accommodations have one thing in common: They're purportedly occupied by ghosts, making them the most haunted hotels in the world.

Take the Langham Hotel in London, for example. Since it first opened in 1865, the grand dame has acquired an impressive collection of spirits, including butlers and footmen who just can't stop serving, Napoleon III (who stayed here during his exile), and an unfortunate chap with a grotesque wound on his face.

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, a clutch of celebrities refuses to leave the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, which was built to impress the jet set. Since a 1984 renovation, the otherworldly inhabitants have become rather protective of their hangout, making their presence known by taking phones off the hook and typing on typewriters. Actor Montgomery Clift, specifically, is known for rehearsing his lines and practicing his trumpet in his old room, No. 928.

While most of these hotel ghosts are the friendly Casper type, a few seem to get their eternal kicks from scaring the life out of the living guests. Others, like the founders of The Stanley Hotel, Freelan Oscar Stanley and his wife, Flora, simply want to make sure their beloved properties are well-maintained. Their chambermaid stayed behind, too, to help guests unpack their belongings.

If you're looking for a good spook or scare, consider bedding down at one of these 10 most haunted hotels in the world.

01 of 10

The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado

World's Greatest Dream Trips: Stanley Hotel, Colorado

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Under the shadows cast by the Rocky Mountains is this famous 20th-century hotel, best known for inspiring Stephen King's novel, "The Shining." When a 1911 explosion in Room 217 injured the hotel's chief maid, a paranormal mark was made. Although she recovered, it's believed that once she died, her soul returned to live at the place she once tended, along with the spirits of the Stanley Hotel's owners, Flora and F.O. Stanley. You may hear Flora playing the antique Steinway, snap a photo of F.O. overseeing a game of billiards, or find your belongings mysteriously unpacked.

02 of 10

Hotel Chelsea, New York City, New York

The Most Haunted Hotels in the World: Hotel Chelsea, New York City
Yevgenia Gorbulsky / Alamy Stock Photo

The historic Hotel Chelsea has long attracted the spirits of famous musicians and artists, in both life and death. Poet Dylan Thomas died while living at the hotel, and decades later, Nancy Spungen (girlfriend of the Sex Pistols' Sid Vicious), was stabbed to death in Room 100 — possibly by Vicious himself. It's been said that all of those tortured ghosts remain at the iconic hotel.

03 of 10

The Langham Hotel, London, England

The Most Haunted Hotels in the World: Langham Hotel, London
Courtesy of The Langham London

Many consider the Langham, built in 1865, to be the most haunted hotel in London, and most of the paranormal buzz comes from Room 333. Only the bravest (living) souls check in here, and they have seen everything from the Victorian-era doctor who allegedly killed his wife and himself while on their honeymoon to the German prince who jumped from fourth floor and still dons his military-style jacket in death. Emperor Napoleon III, a shoeless butler, and a footman in a powdered wig have also made ghostly appearances.

04 of 10

Russell Hotel, Sydney, Australia

The Most Haunted Hotels in the World: Russell Hotel, Sydney, Australia
Courtesy of The Russell Hotel

Sydney's Russell Hotel sits in a part of town known simply as The Rocks. One of the spirits said to roam its halls is a colonial-era sailor who never made it back out to sea. Today, he lurks in some rooms — he's particularly fond of Room 8, it seems — paying special attention to the female guests, according to the Russell Hotel patrons who claimed to have seen him.

05 of 10

Dragsholm Castle, Hørve, Denmark

The Most Haunted Hotels in the World: Dragsholm Castle, Hørve, Denmark
Courtesy of Dragsholm Slot

When James Hepburn, the Earl of Bothwell, was captured by the Norwegians (who ruled what was then Denmark-Norway) in the mid 1500s, he was imprisoned at Dragsholm Castle. The isolation drove him mad, and he was ultimately tied to a pillar and left to die. To this day, he's still unable to leave the Danish estate. Guests sometimes see him on horseback, riding through the grounds at night. He is kept company by the White Lady, who is said to roam the corridors after dark — in the 1930s, a skeleton in a white dress was found inside the castle's walls.

06 of 10

Nottingham Road Hotel, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa

The Most Haunted Hotels in the World: Nottingham Road Hotel, South Africa
Courtesy of Nottingham Road Hotel

Rumor has it that Charlotte, a sex worker who frequented Nottingham Road Hotel at the turn of the century, fell deeply for a soldier passing through town. When she learned that her love was gone — either unrequited or killed in battle — she threw herself from the balcony of Room 10. Now, she passes her afterlife by rearranging flowers, moving mirrors to catch her best angle, and folding guests' clothes.

07 of 10

The Bell, Norfolk, England

The Most Haunted Hotels in the World: The Bell, Norfolk, UK
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This modest inn, which sits on the main square of a small village, is anything but sleepy. It's not uncommon to catch a glimpse of a hooded monk or the former landlady Betty Radcliffe. After more than six centuries in business, it's no wonder that the tavern has a mysterious energy.

08 of 10

Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, Los Angeles, California

The Most Haunted Hotels in the World: Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, Los Angeles, CA
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Marilyn Monroe was a frequent guest at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, and she was especially fond of the poolside Suite 1200 and its full-length mirror. Now, guests gaze into the mirror for a glimpse of the superstar, whose reflection has been known to appear time and again. Like Monroe, a number of actors and performers who frequented the hotel in life have chosen to make it their eternal residence. Carole Lombard, Errol Flynn, and Montgomery Clift are among those spectral stars.

09 of 10

Hotel del Salto, San Antonio del Tequendama, Colombia

The Most Haunted Hotels in the World: Hotel del Salto, San Antonio del Tequendama, Colombia
"Museo Salto del Tequendama" by Petruss - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons

Hotel del Salto, no longer a hotel but a museum of biodiversity and culture, is still best known for its role as a luxury destination for Colombia's elite. From its perch on the edge of a cliff, guests had an unimpeded view of the over-400-foot-high Tequendama Falls. When the hotel was abandoned in the 1990s, it acquired a haunted reputation, due in part to the noxious aroma from the Bogota River surging through the gorge below, the treacherous, winding roads leading to the property, and the property's history of suicides (countless individuals have thrown themselves into the ravine).

10 of 10

Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Mumbai, India

The Most Haunted Hotels in the World: Taj Mahal Hotel, Mumbai, India
Courtesy of Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces

W.A. Chambers was one of the masterminds behind the design of India's opulent Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. He drafted up intricate blueprints, left for a trip to England, and returned to find that ideas hadn't been carried out as planned. Legend goes that Chambers — perhaps enraged over the changes — flung himself from the fifth floor to his death. He can be seen, to this day, wandering about the hotel, making certain things are as much to his liking as possible.

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