One of the reasons we love historic hotels is the urban legends they've inspired — and many of them come with a spooky twist. Even if you're not a fan of horror movies or haunted houses, the back stories of these could-be ghosts and their ties with these decades-old establishments are still fascinating to hear about.
With Halloween just over a month away, we've rounded up seven supposedly haunted hotels known around the world for their paranormal activities. There's a possessed bed and breakfast, an eerie castle, and even a hotel room murder fit for an Agatha Christie mystery novel. Be prepared to be utterly captivated — and slightly creeped out.
Photo: Courtesy of Hotel Windsor.
Hotel Windsor, Melbourne, Australia Dating back to 1893, this grand dame of a hotel has its fair share of spooky tales. Due to its proximity to the Princess Theater, a revolving door of notable figures in theater have lodged at the hotel, including Dame Nellie Melba, a legendary Australian soprano singer. (You might recall her guest appearance alongside the Dowager Countess in Downton Abbey) Rumor has it that the diva's spirit still roams the hallways of the hotel today, and her incredible vibratos can be heard from time to time.
Photo: Courtesy of Hotel Bela Vista.
Hotel Bela Vista, Portimão, Portugal Sitting on the beaches of the Algarve, this gem of a boutique hotel is said to be haunted by its former owner, who is said to have died in room 108 of the villa. The stately Victorian mansion was repurposed into a hotel in the 1930s, and guests over the years have reported sounds of moaning and footsteps in the vicinity of the room.
Photo: Courtesy of Bunchrew House.
Bunchrew House, Inverness, Scotland The U.K. is home to many fairytale-like castles with eerie ghost stories, but nowhere are they more embraced than at Bunchcrew House — a gorgeous 17th century castle in the Scottish highlands. The hotel even has a special page on the website dedicated to Isobel Mackenzie, the resident ghost known to make her way between the Drawing Room and the Sitting Room. The elderly spirit can be spotted in a portrait hanging in the the castle.
Photo: Courtesy of Salem Inn.
Salem Inn, Massachusetts, U.S. It's not entirely surprising that the location of the infamous Salem witch trials is also home to a creepy accommodation. The Salem Inn is converted from five historic homes dating back to the colonial times. Legend has it that a female ghost named Katherine frequently haunt the premises, and the spirit of a cat can be regularly spotted at the parlor.
Photo: Courtesy of The Savoy Hotel.
The Savoy Hotel, Mussoorie, India This Gothic-looking hotel opened to much fanfare at the turn of the century and was once a popular place to see and be seen among British aristocrats. In 1911, a 49-year-old Lady Frances Garnett was found poisoned in the hotel. Her murderer was never found, but the events gave Agatha Christie the inspiration for her first detective novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles. To this day, it's said that the ghost of Lady Garnett wanders from room to room in search of her killer.
Photo: Courtesy of Borgvattnets Spökprästgård.
Borgvattnets Vicarage, Sweden This remote village residence is one of the most haunted places in Sweden, and incidences of paranormal activity have been reported since the late 1920s. Things got so bad at one point that a priest actually stayed at the house, as an attempt to exorcize the property. It was apparently a fruitless attempt, as you'll still be able to find spooky videos of the vicarage all over Youtube. In fact, it has now been converted to an bed and breakfast that awards s pecial diplomas to ballsy patrons who managed to stay the whole night.
Photo: Courtesy of Majestic Hotel.
Majestic Hotel, Malacca, Malaysia Hotel Majestic is a beautiful hotel with lots of history to offer, but locals will dissuade you from staying there. The reason? The colonial mansion is a hot bed for paranormal activity. This building was formerly the family residence of a local tycoon with four wives, and, as legend, has it only the first wife and her children were allowed to enter the house from the front entrance. Another tidbit that gave us the heebie-jeebies: The hotel is situated right by a river, where many beheadings occurred during WWII.
Langham Hotel, London, United Kingdom The historic Langham Hotel is one of the most haunted hotels in all of London. According to folklore, the room 333 is ground zero for ghostly activity. The spirits you might encounter include a German prince who's committed suicide, a murdered Victorian woman, and the exiled Emperor Napoleon III.
Foxwood House, Johannesburg, South Africa This lovely historic mansion has a massive collection of antique furniture, vintage portraits, and apparently, spooky incidents as well. Guests have reported mysterious noises of people walking up and down the staircase in the middle of the night, as well as sightings of a ghostly woman with her child on the balcony.