Hey Weekend! Haunted Hotels

These California hotels keep the Halloween spirit alive with a nod to lingering past residents.

Halloween is synonymous with festive costume parties, trick-or- treating, ghouls and goblins and, of course, bone-chilling ghost stories. But, as far as travel goes in the Golden State, it’s not uncommon to find properties serving as longtime dwellings for spirits past. From a retired ocean liner in Long Beach with a one of the most notoriously haunted staterooms, to a seaside hotel with a forlorn ghost roaming the grounds, here’s a look at a crop of hotels from San Diego to San Francisco with folklore and an otherworldly past.

One of the most infamous haunted California landmarks that also doubles as a floating hotel is The Queen Mary. Although temporarily closed due to the pandemic—the storied cruise ship that stretches approximately 1,019 feet long and retired from transatlantic voyages in 1967—has lured travelers from around the globe for its paranormal history. Aboard the Art deco-inspired vessel, guests can explore the Mayfair Room (formerly the ship’s beauty parlor); the Boiler Room; and Stateroom B340 where unusual occurrences have been reported including water running and lights turned while vacant.

Situated in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights neighborhood and a short walk from Union Square, the 48-room Queen Anne Hotel is dotted with wood-burning fireplaces, Victorian-era writing desks, four-poster beds, crystal chandeliers and a baby grand piano. Originally opened in the late 1800s as a girls’ boarding school, the hotel is thought to be inhabited by the ghost of headmistress Mary Lake whose office was room 410.

At the Hotel del Coronado, more commonly known as The Del, the most infamous ghost legend is that of Kate Morgan, who initially arrived at the hotel on November 24, 1892. In a tragic twist of events highlighted in the hotel’s tome, Beautiful Stranger: The Ghost of Kate Morgan and the Hotel del Coronado, Morgan allegedly took her own life while waiting on a suitor. Today, nearly 200 years later, guests have confirmed unexplained events and circumstances (most originating from the third-floor guestroom where she stayed) such as sounds of footsteps and voices, flickering lights, and a television that turns on and off on its own. One of the hotbeds of Morgan’s presence is the property’s gift shop, where items are sometimes found off shelves and on the floor unscathed. To pay homage to Morgan, the hotel has planned a series of events including pumpkin carving on the beach deck ($25); a fireside Ghost Rhost (October 16, 23 and 30 at 5:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.; $230 for a one-hour experience with s’mores and a la carte menu options); and a 45-minute Haunted Happenings Tour (offered at 7 p.m. nightly and at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday through November; $30 per person.) For a more immersive experience into Morgan’s life along with other spirits, opt for An Evening With Spirits complete with a Victorian-styled seance. (October 15 and 23, 7-9 p.m.; $125 per ticket.)

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