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Escaping from your normal plane of existence this Halloween? TPG Assistant Editor Melanie Wynne has compiled a list of U.S. hotels with frightful pasts and present day treats, like delightful amenities and, in most cases, availability during Halloween weekend and for points redemption.
Hotel Monteleone – New Orleans, Louisiana
The Hotel & the Haunting: Voodoo-steeped New Orleans prides itself on being America’s most haunted city. The famed Monteleone is known for its wedding-cake exterior and rotating Carousel Bar, but also the ghosts spotted in its rococco lobby, by its rooftop pool, and on its 14th floor, which is technically the 13th floor. This elegant, four-star and family-owned property first opened in 1886 in the heart of the French Quarter (one long block from the party scene on Bourbon Street), and its ghosts date as far back as the building itself. Reported paranormal sightings include two young boys who enjoy playing together, a late 19th-century train engineer named Red, and an unfortunate young woman who died amidst a semi-successful suicide pact with her star-crossed, surviving lover.
The Points Angle: Part of the Preferred Hotel Group’s iPrefer loyalty program, which generally offers one point for each on-property dollar spent, a special Preferred Bed & Breakfast rate of $459 per night at the Hotel Monteleone entitles members to earn double points and receive daily breakfast for two. For the holiday weekend, the best available (online only) rate is $389 a night, while standard rates start at $399 a night.
Halloween in New Orleans: If you’re headed to the Big Easy for Halloween, fall in line for the 19th annual Molly’s at the Market Halloween Parade, which starts at 6 p.m., wends its way through the French Quarter, and culminates in a costume contest.
The Algonquin Hotel – New York, New York
The Hotel & the Haunting: First opened in 1902, this Midtown landmark is best known for the literary crowd that gathered daily at its Round Table lounge in the 1920s – a lineup that included Dorothy Parker, George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber. Some guests still report a “cold spot” here, a chilling signifier of otherworldly activity, and various apparitions have been spotted throughout the palm-fringed lobby and dining room. In addition to its close proximity to Grand Central Station and most subway lines, this 156-room, 25-suite property remains a draw for its turn-of-the-century charm, old-school bar scene and resident felines – the present cat is a Ragdoll named Matilda.
The Points Angle: Following an extensive renovation in 2012, the Algonquin became part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, a group of 59 global properties that range from small, historic hotels to sprawling resorts and represent a more independent atmosphere than Marriott’s other hotel lines. Listed as a Category 8 property on the Marriott Rewards chart, The Algonquin requires 40,000 Marriott Rewards points for a free night. Marriott Rewards members earn 10 points for every 2 dollars spent at Autograph Collection properties, and can boost their points earnings with the Marriott Rewards Visa and its business version which comes with two free nights at Category 1-4 hotels, 3 points for every on-property dollar spent, and 1:1 for all other purchases. During Halloween weekend, standard rates here start at $404 per night.
Halloween in New York City: Set downtown in the West Village, the Village Halloween Parade is the Big Apple’s biggest event of the night. Don a costume, hop on the A-C-E at 42nd Street, and join the start of the parade at 6:30 p.m on the corner of Canal Street and Sixth Avenue.
Crowne Plaza Key West-La Concha – Key West, Florida
The Hotel & the Haunting: Originally opened in 1925, this seven-story, 160-room property is set on busy Duval Street just five blocks from Mallory Square and features a small outdoor swimming pool, free Wi-Fi, a modern, stylish wine bar and small plates restaurant – and also, several ghosts. Over the years, 13 people have leapt to their deaths from the rooftop observation deck, including a lawyer accused of embezzlement whose spirit can sometimes be seen here pacing back and forth as if contemplating his fate. A man who knocked back a glass of Chardonnay before his suicide now attempts to spirit-jerk guests’ Chardonnay glasses from their hands. The fifth floor and elevator sometimes echoes with the scream and crash of an unfortunate waiter who backed a cart full of dishes into an empty elevator shaft, and down in the hotel’s lobby gift shop, some guests have reported being tapped on the shoulder, only to turn around and find no one there.
The Points Angle: Part of the IHG Rewards program, Rewards Nights at the Crowne Plaza Key West-La Concha require either 45,000 points, 40,000 + $40, or 35,000 points + $70 per night, with room rates starting at about $200 a night. As of this writing, the hotel has availability for rooms during Halloween weekend, but unfortunately not for Rewards Nights, which are offered again after November 3, 2014. However, as an IHG Rewards member, booking here will you earn you 10 points per $1 spent, and as an IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card cardholder, you’ll be afforded automatic Platinum Elite status, a free night certificate, and many other benefits.
Halloween in Key West: Like a mash-up of Mardi Gras and Halloween, the epic, annual Fantasy Fest includes 10 days of masquerade balls, costume contests, parties and uninhibited escapades, all culminating in a grand parade on Saturday, October 26. On Halloween itself, tour company Ghosts and Gravestones invites you aboard its Trolley of the Damned for a 90-minute tour of the (much) darker side of town.
The Heathman Hotel – Portland, Oregon
The Hotel & the Haunting: Open since 1927, ghostly activity at this local landmark tends to be contained to rooms 703, 803 and 1003. Reports of cold spots, strange sounds and objects moving on their own have been reported in all three guest rooms. Guests in 703 sometimes report a hazy face hovering in midair at night, and their towels being used while they’re out. An investigative psychic’s findings suggest that a hotel guest committed suicide by jumping from 1003 and continues to haunt all the rooms on the way down to this day. The entire property isn’t a fright, however: great for culture lovers, this 150-room 1920s Art Deco landmark is set beside the Portland Center for the Performing Arts and the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, and is furnished with dark hardwoods, rich velvets, an elegant afternoon tea room and a big, bright street-side restaurant that’s popular for its hearty breakfasts.
The Points Angle: Also part of Preferred iPrefer, which generally offers one point for each on-property dollar spent, a special Preferred Bed & Breakfast rate of $459 per night at the Heathman entitles members to earn double points and receive daily breakfast for two. For the holiday weekend, the best available (online only) rate is $389 a night, while standard rates start at $399 a night.
Halloween in Portland: Open every night between October 3-November 1, 2014, the annual FrightTown features three genuinely scary (yet only simulated) haunted houses – The Madness and Baron Von Goolo’s Museum of Horrors, both just remodeled, and the brand new Witch House. Located in Portland’s Northeast, across the Willamette River via the Broadway Bridge, FrightTown is found in the Exhibit Hall just below the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in the Rose Quarter, about 10-15 minutes from the Heathman.
Omni Parker House – Boston, Massachusetts
The Hotel & the Haunting: Famous for more than its restaurant’s invention of buttery Parker House Rolls and rich Boston Cream Pie, it also employed former baker/future leader of Vietnam Ho Chi Minh and one-time busboy Malcolm X. This 551-room historic property was opened in 1855 near Boston Common and across the street from the spooky 17th-century Granary Burying Ground and remains renowned for ghostly sightings and sounds. On the hotel’s 10th floor, the creak of a rocking chair has been reported (though there are no rocking chairs at the property), as have floating orbs of light that move down the main hallway and then disappear. Elevators routinely head to the third floor without being summoned, and in the oldest section of the hotel, some employees and guests have seen the shadow of a tall man in a stovepipe hat.
The Points Angle: Standard rates here start at $251 a night for the holiday weekend, and for members of the Omni Select Guest program, a stay here will count toward the 20-night total needed for a free night.
Halloween in Boston: Catch either the 7:30 or 9:30 p.m. performances of ImprovBoston’s annual costumed horror-comedy show, GOREFEST, enter the costume contest and dance the night away at the Halloween Ball at Fenway’s Landsdowne Pub, or hop on a bus to take Viator’s Salem Witch City Day Tour, a seven-hour roundtrip jaunt to the site of the Salem Witch Trials.
The Brown Palace Hotel & Spa – Denver, Colorado
The Hotel & the Haunting: Opened in 1892, this is still the most lavish hotel in Denver, featuring cast-iron grillwork, a vintage carousel oven, an artesian well that feeds its faucets, an eight-story atrium – and also several ghosts. When a local historian began giving tours here that included tales of a lovelorn Denver socialite who lived in room 904 from 1940 to 1955, the hotel’s switchboard began to receive calls from the unfortunate lady’s room – despite the fact that it was undergoing renovation at the time and had no telephone lines. In a scene straight out of The Shining, a stunned hotel employee saw the ghosts of a string quartet playing a tune in the hotel’s main dining room, but when he spluttered that the musicians shouldn’t be there, the ghosts answered, “Oh, don’t worry about us. We live here.” Outside of what used to be the hotel’s railroad ticket office, another employee saw the figure of a man dressed in an old-fashioned train conductor’s uniform disappear through a wall. Guests frequently report seeing a vintage-uniformed waiter in the service elevator and smiling children skipping through the hallways, as well as hearing a baby crying in the boiler room.
The Points Angle: During the holiday weekend, available rates here start at $404 per night. Part of Marriott’s <href=”http://www.autograph-hotels.marriott.com/” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”>Autograph Collection, the Brown Palace is listed as a Category 7 property on the <href=”http://www.marriott.com/rewards/pointsGridPopUp.mi?awardType=Standard” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”>Marriott Rewards chart and requires 35,000 Marriott Rewards points for a free night. Marriott Rewards members earn 10 points for every 2 dollars spent at Autograph Collection properties, and can boost their points earnings with the Marriott Rewards Visa and its business version.
Halloween in Denver: A huge annual costume party and contest held at the City Hall Amphitheater, Coloween is the city’s hottest Halloween event, with DJs, surprise performers, VIP bottle service, and four separate rooms, each with a different haunted theme.
The Equinox – Manchester Village, Vermont
The Hotel & the Haunting: The five-star Equinox features 195 rooms and suites spread across five buildings, and now hosts a par-71, 6,423-yard golf course, a lavish spa and a Land Rover driving experience. But it used to host President Abraham Lincoln and his family, and is still haunted by his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, and one of their sons. However, members of the former First Family aren’t the only spectres at this historic property, which dates back to 1769. On the third and fourth floors of the resort’s south wing, guests and employees have reported hearing voices speaking in a whisper, glimpses of full figures, cold spots and a feeling of dread. Some guests return to their rooms to find their personal items have been moved to different places, and others have experienced the lights flipping on by themselves in the middle of the night.
The Points Angle: During the holiday weekend, standard rooms at this Category 5 Starwood property start at $331 or 12,000 Starpoints per night, and the Starwood Amex (either personal or <href=”http://thepointsguy.com/apply-now/starwood-preferred-guest-business-credit-card-from-american-express/” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”>business) will earn 5 Starpoints for every dollar spent at this Luxury Collection resort.
Halloween in Manchester: October 31 kicks off SoVT Restaurant Week with special menus and prices at area eateries, but the big Halloween event in town happens on November 1 at 8 p.m., when Lost Nation Theater presents The Poe Spooktacular, a combination costume party, stage show and big band concert with a full spread of Halloween-themed desserts.
The Driskill – Austin, Texas
The Hotel & the Haunting: Sprawling ornately along most of a city block in downtown Austin, this four-story, 189-room Romanesque Revival property is said to be haunted by several spirits, including that of Colonel Jesse Driskill, the inveterate gambler who opened the hotel in 1886, only to lose it in a high-stakes poker game the following year. Driskill occasionally leaves a ghostly trail of cigar smoke in the lobby, and in keeping with his reputation as a lothario, appears most often to female guests. Some guests have seen the “suicide brides” of room 525, two young women who were on their honeymoons there 20 years apart, both took their lives in the room’s bathroom, and now seem to haunt it, sometimes appearing in their wedding dresses. On the fourth floor, others have seen the figure and heard the whispers and crying of a woman who committed suicide there – even when no guests are staying on the floor. Some report seeing the ghost of young Samantha Houston, the senator’s daughter who died in 1887 by stumbling down the hotel’s grand staircase while chasing a ball. Less scary events here include dinner at the popular Driskill Grill steakhouse and hearing local musicians perform in the lobby bar.
The Points Angle: This Category 5 Hyatt hotel has availability for Halloween weekend starting at $945 or 20,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points per night. For advice on using a credit card at the Driskill, see What is the Best Credit Card for Hyatt Stays?
Halloween in Austin: Held annually at the Scottish Rite Theater, Austin Social Affair’s Halloween Ball takes places on October 31 from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., and will include a casino, burlesque show, DJs, live music, cocktails, dancing and a photo booth.
We hope you enjoy the “suite hereafter” of your Halloween travels, and would love to hear your own tales of haunted hotels. Please share your stories in the comments below! While this premium card has one of the highest annual fees on the market, it has several valuable perks that could make it worthwhile, depending on your travel patterns. These include a $200 annual airline rebate, lounge access, free Hilton Gold status and free Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status.
While this premium card has one of the highest annual fees on the market, it has several valuable perks that could make it worthwhile, depending on your travel patterns. These include a $200 annual airline rebate, lounge access, free Hilton Gold status and free Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status.