When selecting a hotel, a meeting planner looks for elegant design, comfortable rooms and plenty of meeting space. But for those attendees who like their travel to include a bit of the spooky and supernatural, planners might also want to consider the haunted history of a property. Here are five hotels that offer all the essentials any meeting planner could ask for — plus a few local spirits for some macabre entertainment.
- 333 Wonderview Avenue Estes Park, Colo. 80517
- Meeting space: 41,000 square feet
- Year opened: 1909
No list of haunted properties is complete without this 142-room hotel, which also happened to be the inspiration for the ultimate haunted hotel story, The Shining. Author Stephen King spent a night here in 1974, and the hotel's grandeur, its remote location set against the stunning backdrop of the Rocky Mountains and its historic details gave him plenty of spooky inspiration. (The hotel’s bartender was even named Grady). The Stanley is reputed to have its share of spirits and supernatural occurrences, from the sound of giggling children near the old servants' quartersd, to recent reports of appearances by former owner F.O. Stanley, who died in 1940.
The property has embraced its spine-tingling reputation. Offering visitors nighttime ghost tours and a theatrical séance hosted by the property’s “resident illusionist” Claire Voyant. Whether they believe in ghosts or not, attendees will find plenty to like about the Stanley’s meeting offerings, with 41,000 square feet of event space including the Pavilion (offering views of Rocky Mountain National Park), the 2,640-square-foot Concert Hall, and the historic Music Room, with historic details such as arched Palladian windows… and the unexplained tinkling of piano keys even when the room is empty.
- 1600 17th St, Denver, Colo. 80202
- Meeting space: 8,000 square feet
- Year opened: 1891
Denver’s oldest boutique hotel, The Oxford has seen plenty of ghosts in its more than 125-year history. Two classic tales: A woman named Florence Montague killed her lover and herself there in 1898 and ever since, single male guests staying in Room 320 have reported that their sheets were ripped from the bed and they felt their arms pinned by something unseen. In the hotel’s stunning art deco-style Cruise Room, bartenders claim they’ve seen a man dressed as a postal worker order a beer, mutter about having to get gifts for his children and leave, his beer apparently untouched even though the bartenders saw him drinking from it.
Incidentally, the Cruise Room is just one of many top-notch event spaces in the property, including an expansive Grand Ballroom, the historic Oxford Theater and more.
- 321 17th St, Denver, Colo. 80202
- Meeting space: 20,000 square feet
- Year opened: 1892
Another of Denver’s haunts, this luxurious property has welcomed presidents, celebrities and plenty of other VIPs over its 127 years. It’s also home to several prominent spirits, including a Denver socialite who took up residence in Room 904 in 1940 -- and according to some, has never left, making calls to the hotel switchboard years after she died in 1955. Ellyngton’s, the property’s beloved breakfast and lunch spot with huge windows and even larger spreads of food during brunch, was once the San Marco Room, where big bands played and guests congregated for entertainment. Employees still report hearing the sound of string quartets coming from the space, with a few claiming to have spotted elegantly dressed musicians -- who vanished the moment the witness turned back around.
History infuses the hotel’s many event spaces, including the 3,080-square-foot Brown Palace Club (former campaign headquarters for Dwight D. Eisenhower), the 365-square-foot Boettcher Board Room (named for the three generations Boettchers who owned the property beginning in 1922 — and some say continue to haunt it) and a 5,800-square-foot ballroom.
- 526 Pine St., Glenwood Springs, Colo. 81601
- Meeting space: 10,000 square feet
- Year opened: 1893
This historic property, just steps from the Glenwood Hot Sprints and surrounded by the White River National Forest, has long attracted fans of the outdoors. But indoors, there is plenty to delight fans of more supernatural surroundings. Room 661 is said to be haunted by a woman in a floral dress who appears and opens the window or stands over those lying in bed. On the main floor, a jealous lover killed a nurse named Bobbie, who looked after soldiers here during the Second World War (when the hotel served as a naval hospital); she apparently still roams about, or at least a whiff of her Gardenia perfume can still be detected on certain nights.
Today, groups holding events there can incorporate the property’s history into their gatherings, whether their groups number five or 250 attendees.
- 330 E Main St, Aspen, Colo. 81611
- Meeting space: 14,000 square feet
- Year opened: 1889
This property offers a wide range of event spaces, from the outdoor Jerome Courtyard to the intimate Library, and it also offers visitors a rich history filled with spooky subplots. Legend has it that in 1936, a young boy drowned in the hotel pool and the 10-year-old’s ghost still appears on occasion, shivering and seeking a place to dry off and get warm. Another has it that a man who’d become rich in mining died there, broken hearted after his sweetheart refused to marry him because her father forbade it; the beau’s sobbing can still be heard occasionally in the hotel’s halls.
- 420 E 11th Ave, Denver, Colo. 80203
- Total meeting rooms: 2
- Year opened: 1891
Formerly the Croke Patterson Mansion, Patterson Inn is now a 9-guest room bed and breakfast known for its ghostly apparitions, whispering voices and peculiar odors and strange encounters with the "other side".
The famed haunted history of Paterson Inn is documented in the film "The Castle Project". Despite the mansion's construction in the late 1800s, it wasn't until the 1970s that people began to experience strange occurrences. During property renovations, construction crews allegedly began to notice work they had done the day prior would be in disarray the following day. Thinking this the work of vandals, they left a pair of guard dogs to monitor the property overnight. When the workers returned the following day, both dogs were found dead on the sidewalk, having jumped from the third-floor window.
The presence of paranormal activity stills remain within the walls of the bed and breakfast today. Guests might want to think twice before taking a tour of the lodging's basement level -- some say that the spirit that haunts the building is that of a little girl who is buried deep in the basement floor.