Stay overnight at one of Arizona’s 9 most haunted hotels (if you dare)

Stay overnight at one of Arizona’s 9 most haunted hotels (if you dare)

Photo courtesy of Jmbates020 via CC BY-SA 3.0.

By Trinity Murchie

June 24, 2024

If you’ve ever considered picking up haunted hotel hopping as your hobby of choice, check out this list of 9 haunted hotels in Arizona (and then check in for a spooky stay).

When someone mentions a haunted house, you may picture people in sheets with eye cutouts jumping from corners with the intention of giving a fright! However, the concept of hauntings goes much deeper than that.

One theory is that when tragedy strikes an area, a memory of anyone who passed during the tragedy gets trapped on replay; this is known as “stone tape theory.” Another theory is that we are all energy and when we pass on from this life, our energy can get stuck between worlds and result in what is called a spirit with unfinished business. Some people also insist that our imaginations simply make up spooky occurrences based on information we have consumed via the media.

If you buy into one of the first two theories, it is easy to believe what a host of spiritual activity Arizona could have; we are in the historic Wild West, after all! Tales of bootlegging, shootouts, ladies of the night, weary travelers, and the like lend to tales of tragedy. Or maybe we want to believe that this could all be true because it is just so fascinating to consider. Whatever the case, there are several hotels in Arizona that offer haunted stays for the spiritualists, paranormal investigators, sensitives, and skeptics alike.

From a young age, my family, friends, and I have all explored historically haunted hotels together as a fun pastime. Some places were the real deal; some not so much. Arriving in Arizona has earned me the opportunity to explore even more haunted hotels, a task most exciting. I even hosted my wedding in one earlier this year!

Below is a list of the nine most haunted hotels in Arizona that you can actually stay in, complete with brief lore, history, and insight into how authentic the claims may be. While many of these places have common tropes of the lady in white, cold spots, photo apparitions, and more, nothing is quite as thrilling as experiencing it for yourself.

 

1. Jerome Grand Hotel

To start this listicle off right, we need to talk about Jerome. As a fan of the progressive metal band Tool, I was filled with delight to find that the lead singer stays in the notoriously haunted town of Jerome! Arriving with promise, I left with the understanding that sometimes a place is built with hype to bring life to a town, even if that hype promotes an afterlife that likely isn’t there.

The Jerome Grand Hotel sits at the top of historic Hill Street, overlooking the ominous mining town of Jerome. Originally a hospital, the hotel would naturally host a slough of ghosts with unfinished business. The hospital ran for about 30 years before becoming a mine operations building in the 50s, yet the only hospital ghost was a nurse seen during renovations during the 90s who disappeared after a simple furniture rearrangement.

When the current owner bought the rundown building in 1993 from the mine operations, renovations led to an antiquated look when paint reacted unexpectedly to limestone. This added to an already ominous aesthetic of the town that had little to no tourism.

With some marketing, this quickly became a positive, as the town began to promote the spook as a reason to visit. In 2003 the hotel added a restaurant as a nod to both the history of the hotel and the creepiness claimed by the town. Today, “The Asylum” attracts locals and tourists alike looking for a good meal, and claims to be located in the most haunted part of the building. Some ghosts that have been reported by guests: an elderly miner, a ghost that messes with the elevator, and a lady in white.

If you are looking to explore more in this area, there are two other hotels that claim hauntings: Ghost City Inn and The Connor Hotel. If you’re like me and just don’t sense the spook of this town, you can still appreciate the aesthetic, sip some local wine, and watch an obscure adults-only puppet show run by Maynard of Tool.

Address: 200 Hill St. Jerome
Year Built: 1926
Average Rate: $450

Stay overnight at one of Arizona’s 9 most haunted hotels (if you dare)

Photo courtesy of Finetooth via CC BY-SA 3.0.

2. Hotel Monte Vista

Flagstaff has a haunted history and offers ghost tours year-round. With many settlers traversing to Flag in the early stages of Arizona, this hotspot surely hosts a slough of spiritual activity. A single step downtown can confirm that the spook is there simply by the undeniable and eerie sensations.

Although the haunted Weatherford Hotel was built first, Hotel Monte Vista is boasted as “the most haunted place in Flagstaff.” The notorious hauntings could be due to the crazy history: Despite its establishment during prohibition, this hotel boasted tunnels that led to a hidden speakeasy, attracting all types of sordid characters. The hauntings could also be from the fact that this is the only hotel built entirely from taxes (the ghosts are roaming the halls in attempts to retrieve their tax dollars’ worth of stay here, hardy har har).

Between the history, bootlegging, slot machines, and the John Wayne movies filmed here, this hotel has seen its share of happenings. In the mid-century, bank robbers entered the bar to celebrate a successful heist, clearly underestimating a gunshot wound of their compadre—he passed before he could finish his drink! His apparition still roams the bar room, tapping guests on the shoulders.

Not too long after his crossing, two ladies of the night were murdered in room 306. You can still hear the fights in the room, feel cold spots, or occasionally see two scantily clad apparitions hanging around the pool hall, waiting to meet their johns. Guests in room 210 should expect a middle-of-the-night wake-up call from a ghostly bellboy offering room service—just don’t expect actual room service as no one will be there. Other reports indicate a moving rocking chair in room 305, ringing telephones to deadlines, various items flying off the shelves, and band music blasting from an empty second-floor lobby.

While hauntings are not guaranteed, this is a great start to Arizona haunted hotel hopping if you wish to be spooked. 

Address: 100 N San Francisco St, Flagstaff
Year Built: 1927
Average Rate: $130

 

3. Hassayampa Inn 

The stunning architecture and delectable farm-fresh produce of Prescott beholds a history of settlement not often discussed. While many were busy settling in the larger cities of Tucson and Phoenix during the prospecting years, others were looking for ways to escape the higher temperatures of the more settled areas. Prescott became a destination for our early Arizonans who didn’t love the heat, complete with both life and death.

Whether or not this leads to a haunted area is for you to ultimately decide. I will say that my family (husband, stepkids, and mom included) and I all swore we saw people walking by us only to turn and see no one there.

The Hassayampa Inn was built in place of another hotel that had burned to the ground. The challenge was to build a hotel that could withstand the frequent fires of the area, and El Paso architect Henry Trost met the challenge by designing a beautiful brick building decked with decadent Southwest charm. The hotel is named after a river about 100 miles north of Prescott, Hassayampa, which roughly translates to “the river that loses itself.” A perfect name for a hotel focused on rejuvenation, as well as one that may make you feel a little lost with fright.

Although there are a handful of ghosts commonly reported by patrons, the standout is a woman who was named Faith. She arrived at the Hassayampa with her groom, a man much older than herself. Legend has it that he went out for cigarettes the night after their wedding and never returned. After 3 days of waiting, grief-stricken, Faith was found hanging from the ceiling in the balcony sweet of room 426. Her spirit never left the room though, as guests have claimed to hear a woman sobbing in the middle of the night, to have the TV and radio both turn on while they were asleep, and to wake to see a woman at the end of their bed just standing and staring. Employees claim to chatter about Faith only to have coffee knocked onto them or to see all of the kitchen burners turn on at once.

Other notable ghosts include a phantom doorman still trying to do his job, an apparition that roams the Peacock room, and a young boy running through the halls, playing and presumably looking for his parents who were rumored to have once worked there. 

Address: 122 E Gurley St., Prescott
Year Built: 1927
Average Rate: $150

Stay overnight at one of Arizona’s 9 most haunted hotels (if you dare)

Photo courtesy of Marine 69-71 via CC BY-SA 4.0.

4. Hotel Congress

Tucson is an interesting city. It was established by the Spanish and was taken into American territory at the last minute when the American government realized there may be some value to it. Therefore, it acted as the state capital before Phoenix filled that position. Tucson is a city rich with stories of wild abandon, bloodshed, and all that defines the meaning of the Wild West.

Hotel Congress was built on the main road of Tucson for its time and came complete with a taproom that only legally operated for a few months before Prohibition. The hotel originally consisted of 80 rooms before it caught fire in 1934, the same year that John Dillinger was caught hiding out in the hotel. Rebuilt six years later, Hotel Congress now boasts a total of 40 rooms, all of which are noisy thanks to a happening modern-day nightclub.

The hotel is not too shy to mention the ghosts, as the current room map shows which rooms are the noisiest, which boast garden views, and which offer ghostly delights. If you choose to stay in rooms 214 or 242, you may encounter some stuck spirits of suicide. Other rooms hold victims of the Spanish flu, where you may hear coughing and wheezing. And groaning. The lobby staircase hosts a female spirit who leaves behind the scent of roses, and random cold spots will materialize in various rooms, alongside shadows from seemingly nowhere.

Whether or not you experience a haunting at this hotel, you are bound to find yourself immersed in important state history. 

Address: 311 E Congress St, Tucson
Year Built: 1919
Average Rate: $130

Stay overnight at one of Arizona’s 9 most haunted hotels (if you dare)

Photo courtesy of Marine 69-71 via CC BY-SA 4.0.

5. Gadsden Hotel

Sitting at the Arizona-Mexico border, Douglas is a town that was once run by the likes of Wyatt Earp, Geronimo, and Pancho Villa. Lawless and wild, entrenched in history, Douglass sounds like a town full of stone tape memory. Its haunted status is left to be discovered by you and sits high on my list of places to explore. Maybe we’ll run into each other there—be sure to say hi!

The Gadsden Hotel is another Henry Trost design (you may recognize this name from earlier in this article) that was meant for grandeur, and it remains the tallest building in Douglas. Unfortunately, the original building was not designed with fire in mind, like the Prescott one, as it caught fire 20 years later, leaving only the elevator cabin, marble columns, and marble staircase standing. Trost was able to redeem himself and instead built an even grander hotel that included rooms with private bathrooms—one of the first hotels to do such a thing. Between the grandiosity, the fire, and the location of the hotel, spiritual activity quickly began brewing.

Room 333 is known as the room with the highest activity; management frequently responds to calls about a TV that turns on and off on its own and must reassure guests after they feel someone lying beside them in bed, only to see no one there (though, I’d be more afraid to see a surprise stranger lay beside me!).

Regardless of where you go in the hotel, be sure to use the camera on your phone as photos frequently reveal images of people and apparitions that were not there to begin with, proven by multiple witnesses and hotel cameras. This hotel sounds like one to check out for quite the fright.

Address: 1046 N G Ave, Douglas
Year Built: 1907
Average Rate: $115

Stay overnight at one of Arizona’s 9 most haunted hotels (if you dare)

Photo courtesy of Tillman via CC BY 2.0.

6. Hotel San Carlos

Downtown Phoenix is known to host a few businesses reckoning with a haunted past. As part of the Santa Fe Railway and a common stop for those traveling between the Southern states and California, it just adds up that Phoenix had dealings that led to unfinished business in the afterlife.

Hotel San Carlos is part of the colorful Phoenix past and even proclaims its aesthetic to be “Haunted History.” The location itself is enough to lend to the haunted nature—thanks to movies like “The Exorcist,” it’s become common knowledge that building on sacred Native land leads to major complications for the developers and guests of the development.

The land that Hotel San Carlos sits on originally was home to Native worshiping grounds before it became “The Little Adobe Schoolhouse,” a native schoolhouse. Wiped out for the first air-conditioned highrise hotel of Phoenix, it only makes sense that guests commonly see a woman in white at the foot of their bed or hear children running around the halls. If you’re a sensitive, beware that you may enter this hotel for rest but leave feeling drained.

Address: 202 N Central Ave, Phoenix
Year Built: 1928
Average Rate: $150

7. El Tovar Hotel

One of the seven natural wonders of the world, the Grand Canyon has always been a dream-worthy destination, and this was especially true for the elite in the early 20th century. The El Tovar Hotel was designed by one of the architects of the Santa Fe Railway and was built from local Limestone and Oregon pine, concocting an opulent masterpiece of a hotel for the era.

If you’ve ever been to the Grand Canyon, you may recognize that the awe of the canyon inspires a spiritual energy that is simply hard to explain. Complete with a grave in the parking lot, El Tovar Hotel shares this spiritual energy, just in a more shocking way.

Many people have made reports of a helpful gentleman ushering them towards a holiday party, only to learn that there was no such man designated. When described, the man matches pictures of an old owner long since passed on. Several patrons have seen a reflection of a bearded man in their television screens while sitting alone in the room. A cowboy has been spotted roaming the halls, and a woman on numerous occasions has been seen tugging sheets from the end of guests’ beds.

Truth or fiction, the hotels of the Grand Canyon are sure to host guests who are unwilling to leave, even after their life’s expiration.

Address: 1 El Tovar Road, Grand Canyon National Park
Year Built: 1905
Average Rate: $450

Stay overnight at one of Arizona’s 9 most haunted hotels (if you dare)

Photo courtesy of Mario Roberto Durán Ortiz via CC BY-SA 4.0.

8. The Red Garter Inn

Williams is located between Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon, two spiritual hotspots of Arizona. Geographically, it fits with the claims of hauntings and the trails match with the sordid history of the wild west.

The Red Garter Inn—a bed, breakfast, and bakery—was originally a saloon and bordello built to make fortunes as the Grand Canyon Railway inched its way toward the building. However, the railway went bankrupt, leaving the building to run as a saloon and bordello, with an opium den in the back, until prohibition outlawed the saloon. A few patrons vanished while debauching in the opium den, never to be found again.

Despite a law making prostitution illegal, the bordello ran until the 1940s, when a murder took place on the stairs between the saloon and the bordello. Due to the conspicuous investigation, the police shut the entire place down, where it sat as a warehouse until it was bought in the 80s and converted into the modern-day bed, breakfast, and bakery.

The ghostly hauntings appear as footsteps up the stairs, beds shaking in the middle of the night, and an apparition of a female in several photographs taken by guests.

Address: 137 W Railroad Ave, Williams
Year Built: 1897
Average Rate: $175

9. The Copper Queen Hotel

The Copper Queen is Arizona’s oldest operating hotel and sits at the heart of the old mining-turned-artist town of Bisbee. Something about the layout and history of this town makes the whole place haunted, with several ghost tours to choose from. While you can opt to stay in just about any of the other hotels for a spooky experience, I am partial to the Copper Queen Hotel and can say from personal experience, as well as that of my wedding guests’, that this place is definitely haunted.

As part of the mining history, this hotel housed several miners and ladies of the night who served those miners, among them the infamous Julia Lowell. According to the current manager, Julia Lowell was actually the daughter of one of the hotel managers and was given the room at the back of the hotel near an emergency exit where her johns could appreciate privacy while going to Julia’s room seeking her service. Legend has it that she fell in love with one of her regulars, and when he refused to leave his wife for her, she hanged herself on the rafters outside of her room.

We chose to stay in her room for our wedding night, where my husband felt something grab his leg while he was on the other side of the room as I heard the words “Hello handsome.” Turns out it is pretty common for Julia to hit on male guests, and I suppose it checks out that she would hit on the man who chose to marry his lady.

Another commonly sensed ghost, seen by the children of my wedding party, is a little boy named Billy. He has his own room, too, and is said to have been the son of one of the workers, but met a tragic end when he drowned in the nearby San Pedro River. The first time I brought my husband to the hotel, we went to Billy’s room to investigate, picked up a diecast toy plane, and gasped as it began wheeling its way out of his hand! Other guests hear laughter and running through the halls of the third and fourth floors, the floors that Billy had stayed on when he was alive.

Julia and Billy are just two of the common ghosts of the hotel. If you opt to stay on the third or fourth floors, you’re almost guaranteed to have a haunting time. Be warned about room 411, though. Guests have sensed being watched in the shower, hands touching their backs, and chills as cold spots manifest out of nowhere. Room 310 has a bathroom with heart-wrenching energy and tales of a woman murdered when she was found pregnant with a baby that did not belong to her husband. A dead-end room on the second floor will have you dizzy as the energy of a grief-stricken man, the most recent death and suicide at the hotel, lingers in the room.

Between the miners, sex workers, and tragic endings at the Copper Queen, this is one hotel that is without a doubt the real haunted deal. Join one of the ghost tours if you’re not familiar with finding ghosts on your own! 

Address: 11 Howell Ave, Bisbee
Year Built: 1902
Average Rate: $120

Stay overnight at one of Arizona’s 9 most haunted hotels (if you dare)

Photo courtesy of Clay Gilliland via CC BY-SA 2.0.

Closing Thoughts

Whether or not you are a believer in the afterlife or the stone tape theory, staying in a haunted hotel is a worthwhile adventure. Not only do you get to soak in the history and the opulence of yesteryear, but you may have an experience that is simply unexplainable!

If you decide to pick up the hobby of haunted hotel hopping, you may begin to wonder why so many Southwest stays are haunted. My theory? The ghosts of the Wild West are just too tough to truly die. 

This article first appeared on Good Info News Wire and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.Stay overnight at one of Arizona’s 9 most haunted hotels (if you dare)Stay overnight at one of Arizona’s 9 most haunted hotels (if you dare)

 

READ MORE: 8 affordable and fun family road trip destinations in Arizona

Author

  • Trinity Murchie

    Teacher, writer, and traveler, Trinity lives in a small town and enjoys gardening, cooking, and exploring all things bizarre. Catch her at local ruins exploring haunted histories, in quaint towns with creatives, or at the farmers markets hunting for unique ingredients. Wherever you catch her, be sure to say hi; she’ll want to hear your story, too.

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