Anyone who suffers from night-terrors, or the heebie-jeebies as my little boy calls them whenever he has a nightmare, would be well-advised to steer clear of these scary hotels. But for anyone with a thirst for thrills, particularly of the supernatural kind, then they may be just the kind of adventure you’re looking for. Just remember to lock the door and keep a torch next to the bed!
The New Refuge, Gervasutti
This hostel isn’t actually haunted, to my knowledge, but for my money it’s the scariest of them all. A large metal tube with space inside for 12 climbers, it was airlifted into its position 3000m above sea level on the Grandes Jorasses mountain in the Alps. Terrifyingly, half of the tube hangs over the edge of the mountain, the other half securely (I hope) bolted into the rock. Imagine feeling a rocking sensation as it gently sways in the howling winds outside! It opened in 2012 as a refuge for climbers, and costs around €30 a night for accommodation. Guests can enjoy incredible views over the Fribouze Glacier from the living-room, cook and eat in the kitchen and dining-room, and sleep in wooden bunks. Powered by solar panels, it’s impossible to deny that this is a beautifully-designed accommodation – if only it were somewhere a bit less deadly.
Lizzie Borden’s Bed & Breakfast, Massachusetts
One of America’s most celebrated unsolved murder cases, in 1892 Andrew and Abby Borden were killed with an axe as they slept. Andrew’s daughter Lizzie was suspected, tried and found not guilty, but doubts about her innocence have never disappeared. Their home, in Fall River, Massachusetts, is now a bed & breakfast which delights in playing on its gruesome history. Tours of the property give details on the ghostly sightings that have been reported. Guests will eat the same breakfast the Bordens ate on their last day, and can stay in the family’s old rooms. The hotel’s motto? Where everyone is treated like family. Gulp!
The Weekly Mansion, Akasaka
This Japanese apartment building is supposedly the most haunted hotel in Tokyo (Are there that many? Really?). Anyway, apparently guests have reported waking up in the middle of the night to find pale apparitions at the foot of the bed, light switches and air-conditioning turning on and off mysteriously, and mist flowing from air vents. Now, to me, all of these sound explainable – even the ghostly figure could have just been a maid in white giving a scare to a hungover guest with foggy vision. But then there is one case of a woman who said she had been dragged across the room by her hair. How do you explain that then eh? Answer: You can’t. Brrrrrr.
Stanley Hotel, Colorado
This one is quite well-known. It was apparently while staying in Room 217 of the almost-deserted Colorado hotel that Stephen King got the idea for The Shining. He had retreated there to get over writers’ block, and since the hotel was about to close for a long period, he was one of the only guests. A popular visit for lovers of all things spooky when taking tours of America, all manner of ghostly goings-on have been recorded but never proved. For me though, the scariest thing is that people still give Stephen King script approval on film adaptations of his books. Great novelist yes, but his ear for dialogue sees more wood get on screen than a documentary about the Forestry Commission.
Holiday Inn, Shanghai
There’s not normally anything scary about staying in a Holiday Inn provided you don’t eat the breakfast. But if you decide to take a dip in the pool at the Shanghai hotel, you’ll be swimming into nowhere. The glass-bottomed pool extends out above the streets 24 stories below! That’s 320 feet from the traffic, with all that’s separating you a piece of reinforced glass. “Oh sure Mr Architect, that sounds like a great idea! Hey why not throw an alligator in there too just to give it an extra frisson of excitement?”
After writing this article Rob Gerarld is pretty much scared of his own reflection and reconsidering his next travel plans.