When you select a hotel room does whether the hotel has a reputation for being haunted come into the decision or not? Personally, I would like the idea of a spot of casual ghost spotting after seeing the sights of the city but I know for others, the idea of running into a real phantom after watching Phantom of the Opera is their idea of a nightmare. So these haunted hotels of New York City may be top or bottom of the list, depending on your position!
Hotel Chelsea is one of the most historic hotels in the city and has a long and illustrious past. Construction began in 1883 and the hotel is said to be of Queen Anne Revival style, also called Victorian Gothic. It was the tallest building in the city when it was finished but understandably, this record wasn’t retained for long. The hotel quickly gained a reputation as being the chosen hotel for many famous people and residents included Mark Twain, Dylan Thomas, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and even Madonna. Arthur C Clark even wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey while staying there.
Therefore, it isn’t surprising that the most commonly discussed ghosts of the hotel are also famous. One of these is a young woman named Nancy Spungen who became known for who she dated rather than anything she did – Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols. The pair came to live in the hotel in 1978 but by October that year, Nancy was dead and Sid had been arrested for her murder. He was released and was awaiting trial when he too died of a drug overdose. Their ghosts are seen in the hotel where they both died with Sid being seen in the first floor elevator and both around Room 100, where they lived. Raised voices and the sounds of loud music are also reported when no one is in the room.
Dylan Thomas also died in the hotel from complications made worse by his alcoholism. He arrived in 1953 and called a doctor as he was suffering from blackouts and respiratory problems. He died that night and since then has often been seen around the hotel, particularly in Room 206 where he stayed.
Other paranormal reports detail footsteps in an empty corridor outside Room 124 while the ghost of Thomas Wolfe is seen on the 8th floor. Three women reported that they had problems in the room ranging from lights going on and off, hearing a high-pitched woman’s scream and even strange bubbles rising from the drain.
The Algonquin Hotel was built in 1902 and stands near both Times Square and Broadway. Just after the end of the First World War, the hotel became the meeting place for a group of writers who were known as the Round Table. They included Harpo Marx, Dorothy Parker, Heywood Broun, Edna Ferber and Alexander Woollcott. A film was made in 1994 about them named Mrs Parker and starred Jennifer Jason Leigh. But it seems that the writers so enjoyed their time meeting in the hotel that they never left and they are often seen around the building, particularly in the lobby area at lunchtime where their famous round table once stood.
The Brittany Hotel is found on East 10th and Broadway and is now a New York University hall of residence. It was built back in 1929 and was once a speak-easy filled with wild guests. Today, phantom lights and music are still heard while footsteps can fill and empty corridor and people often report feeling watched in the building.
The Grosvenor Hotel on Fifth Avenue opened as a hotel in 1925 and remained as such until 1964 when the university bought it and renamed it Rubin Hall. One pair of former residents however refuse to leave and students report seeing them in the room they occupied before the sale. Another report tells of an Ouija session in Room 903 where a 1930s bootlegger named Al made contact and since the session, a strange habit of the bathroom door locking itself has stopped.
If you know of any more haunted hotels in New York, please get in touch!