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While your spouse cowers during the scary movie “The Shining,” are you most horrified by watching Jack Nicholson chop apart such a charming country inn? Does your idea of the perfect overnight have less to do with “heavenly beds” and more in common with “A Nightmare on Elm Street”?
Well, you’re weird. But we love you anyway. And we get it.
And that’s why we’re pumped to share one of the most frighteningly fantastic overnights we’ve encountered: the Great Horror Campout, an immersive experience that puts the guests in the middle of a “Friday the 13th” flick. The Campout’s “Summer Tour,” which runs from July 11-August 2, will bring it to wooded areas of San Francisco, Sacramento, Seattle and Portland, where gluttons for goose bumps will pitch a tent and be subjected to a 12-hour evening of interrupted sleep, creepy noises, and masked psychos crashing your marshmallow-roasting party. You know, all the stuff that would normally cause you to complain to the front desk in the morning, but is, when you sign up for it — really freaking (freaky) fun.
Most of the hotel ghosts that we hear about here are pretty harmless. They are more poltergeisty rather than in-your-face frightening. But at the Cecil Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles, there's clearly something that is at best, haunting and at worst, downright evil at play.
You may remember this hotel from earlier in the year when a young woman was found dead in the hotel's water tank. As if that wasn't tragic enough, her body had been in there for two weeks. It was only until guests and residents at the Skid Row hotel noticed the water had a black color and a foul odor. You're already creeped out. But now VigilantCitizen.com has found something even more disturbing--a video surveilance tape that shows the young woman, Elisa Lam, in the elevator shortly before she lost her life.
If you watch the video, you will see that Lam was not in her right mind. She entered the elevator and pushed all the buttons. Then when the doors wouldn't close, she peeked around the corner to see if someone was coming but yet she also hid herself and acted afraid that someone might see her.
Things get weirder still. She steps out of the elevator and begins waving her hands in a strange fashion and they appear to be a little warped. Finally, she walks away from the elevator and out of the camera's sight. The elevator then closes its doors and takes off.
Later, she somehow found a way into the gated water tank area, that's also protected by an alarm system and into the water tank where she drowned. Her death was ruled by the coroner's office as an accidental drowning but no drugs or alcohol were found in her system.
Deals: you want 'em, and surprisingly, everyone has 'em. Take a look at some of the latest hotel deals going around the internet today from booking sites, social media sites, flash sale sites and more. Don't forget to scroll down to see the HotelChatter-approved deal either. Who knows? You might just find what you're looking for. (But don't forget to tell us about your stay!)
DEALS, DEALS, DEALS*
· HOTEL GALVEZ, GALVESTON ISLAND, TEX. : This National Trust Historic Hotel of America (which also happens to be a Wyndham Grand), is offering its annual Ghosts of Galvez tour where guests can even use ghost hunting tools and even ghost smartphone apps to tract paranormal activity in the beachfront hotel. Afterwards, everyone can compare notes at dinner at the Galvez Bar & Grill, which is also a bit haunted. The package is offered on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays and starts at $229 per night, based on double occupancy. That includes includes the ghost tour, dinner and valet parking. Go here to book and use rate code PKGGHO.
· THE MUSE HOTEL, NYC: Kimpton's Times Square hotel, The Muse, has a light-hearted take on Halloween this year with their Spook & Shiver package. That includes two Halloween "Spookly Lych-Eye" martinis and a "spooky" appetizer at the NIOS restaurant, as well as a special candy turndown. Oh, and two tickets to the crazy freaky scary Black Out Haunted House at The Vortex Theater on 23rd Street and 11th Avenue. (You have to be 18 and older to attend.) Rates start at $499 a night. Go here to book and use promo code RIP.
· HERMOSA INN, PARADISE VALLEY, ARIZ.: This desert retreat is offering its own guided Hermosa Hauntings ghost tour where guests can brave a ghostly cowboy reflection in the mirror, glimpse a mystery lady in pink who walks by the pool and the ghost Lon, who likes closing all the doors to the casitas (a maid supposedly quit because of him). THe Hermosa Hauntings package includes two welcome creepy cocktails, a guided ghost tour and 10%off our best available rate. We found rates for $291. 60 a night for a Rancho room the weekend before Halloween. A larger Casita (which may be inhabited by Lon) starts at $345.60 for the same weekend. Go here to book and use promo code haunting to book.
· DOWNTOWN DISNEY RESORTS, DISNEY WORLD: Disney World is usually the most magical place on earth but it also gets a little spooky for Halloween too thanks to "Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party". Six Downtown Disney Resorts are offering their Fall Value Rates which start as low as $72 a night from now through November 30th. Participating hotels include the Best Western Lake Buena Vista Resort Hotel (from $69 a night), the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton ($99 a night) and the Holiday Inn Lake Buena Vista Downtown ($99 a night.) Go here to book.
The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, sealed its fate as a spooky hotel when it served as the site of the creepy movie, "The Shining", based on Stephen King's novel. But now it may be a ghoulish place to go for another reason..
Apparently, a pet cemetery is located on the property and the hotel wants to move the pet graves elsewhere to make way for a wedding and corporate retreat pavilion. Right. Because everyone wants to say "I Do" and "Go Team!" over a bunch of former animal graves.
The hotel has said they will hire a local cemetery to "appropriately" move the graves but the news is pretty unsettling. One psychic weighed in on the matter, telling the Fort Collins Coloradoan:
Construction accidents, delays and burst pipes could plague the project if spirits stuck "between this world and the other world" are disturbed, said Rosemary McArthur, known as "The Celtic Lady," who lives in Estes Park and was featured as a dog psychic on Animal Planet's "Pit Boss."
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The hotel, originally built in 1923, has seen plenty of stars through out the years; it was where Hollywood's movers and shakers stayed while visiting the Texas city. It has seen everyone from Elvis Presley, Judy Garland and Katharine Hepburn in its glory days, to Jessica Simpson and Lebron James more recently after a 2008 refurb.
The new owners, HEI Hotels, plan to update the lobby-bar with modern furniture and take advantage of the unique courtyard to attract Dallas' social-set to the Uptown area hotel. Already, the landmark Beaux-Arts building has changed the restaurant name to T/X, and serving up revamped Latin-American cuisine. We do appreciate when hotels give their properties a little love and spruce things up a bit, even when they're historical legends.
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Halloween got upstaged by Mother Nature who spooked the hell out of us in the form of Hurricane Sandy. We’ve been rattled so much that we'd like to circle back to what we wanted to show you--one of the freakiest "hotel" ideas we've ever heard--not counting the Japanese toilet one (that's just strange, and we've seen a few).
I doubt it’s by accident that Australian businessman Hadyn Pearce coordinated his most recent announcement with the end of October: He is hoping to convert a former mortuary in southern Tasmania into a hotel, concrete deathbeds and all. The original surgical equipment and a stainless steel bathtub once used to wash bodies would also highlight the dark décor.
Republican Senator Rob Portman, whose family owns Lebanon, Ohio's 200-year old Golden Lamb Inn, recently gave a tour of the state's oldest (and some say haunted due to three deaths) hotel to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney during a stop along his campaign trail.
According to a local news source, there was a bit of gentle teasing on the Inn's rates.
“He calls it The Golden Lamb. But I think when you look at the prices, you'll determine it's the golden fleece,” Romney quipped. “Careful,” Portman responded, with a smile. Romney clarified, “Actually it's modest, it's a modest price point. I mean this is like $130 a night... for history!”
While walking around the Inn, which 12 presidents (including George W. Bush and John Quincy Adams) have visited, Sen. Portman's wife said “This is great. We can't wait to have a Mitt Romney room.”
There's a funny about a binder full of presidents, right? Right?
New hotels abound in Australia's largest city. Sydney has seen an influx of new hotels, spruced-up stand-bys and complete rebrandings. M Gallery has officially thrown their Akubra hat in the ring with their newest property, the Harbour Rocks Hotel.
Sitting on the grounds of the city's very first hospital, the complete renovation has kept a good portion of the past while still creating a comfortable modern living space. Melding old and new by using the original sandstone facade and the adjacent workers cottages to keep with the look and feel of the neighborhood that's dripping with historical relevance. With plenty of vintage buildings housing boutiques, restaurants and cafes, the new hotel is a perfect fit.
All 59 guestrooms offer a contemporary and comfortable style, yet still incorporate the history of the building with exposed brick and vintage-style windows. Because the hotel is in one of the hottest tourist spots in Sydney, it's just a hop, skip or jump away to the Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House and Circular Quay. Location is key for this place.
For some strange reason we are kind of hooked on the new TLC show, Long Island Medium. And with this latest episode, we can now pass off our viewing as "work related".
This is a series about a woman named Theresa Caputo from Long Island (duh!) who is a psychic "medium", meaning she communicates with people from the afterlife. People call her in to get closure from family and friends who have passed away. Or they just want her to remove bad "juju" from their businesses. This is why we were so interested when an episode lead her to the The Padre Hotel in Bakersfield, California. She was only there to crash for the night, wasn't summoned by the hotel at all, and yet somehow, "Spirit" got to her. And our psychic Caputo doesn't keep quiet when these things happen (or is she quiet about anything, really), so that's when things got bananas.
Turns out, this "spirit" is a child--one of a few--that died in a tragic fire at the Padre Hotel, which was built in 1928. it's also been the site of several suicides. This girl had a lot to say to Caputo, who apparently took notes on a writing pad while half sleep--notes she maintains are in a handwriting not her own. This is creepy, and it's not even Halloween yet! Here's a bit of Long Island Medium in action.
Lest we get carried away by new hotels and fun in-room amenities, let's revisit the scary side of hotels for a hot minute. Because we all need a downer to start of the New Year, right? (Ugh.)
Barb Delollis at USA Today picked up on ESPN Columnist Bill Simmon's recent stay at the haunted Skirvin Hilton in Oklahoma City. You know the hotel that last year's Knicks blamed for a poor performance when playing The OKC Thunder.
When Simmons was in town, he actually asked to stay on one of the hotel's haunted floors but didn't really expect to get spooked. Then the Skirvin Crying Baby made an appearance. He writes:
I decided to turn on the light. Stretching to my right for the switch, out of nowhere, I heard the sound of (what sure as hell sounded like) a baby crying urgently to my far left (right near the window). Wahhhhhhh. Wahhhhhh. Wahhhhhh. Wahhhhhhh. The urgency freaked me out just as much as the crying itself.
I fumbled for the switch, couldn't find it, fumbled, fumbled some more, then finally turned the light on. The crying sound stopped. I hopped out of bed and turned on every other light in the room. I turned on the television and jacked up the volume. Then I grabbed my BlackBerry and Googled "Skirvin crying baby. A slew of results came up."
With Halloween coming up there was one place we had to go during our stay in Denver last week: the Stanley Hotel up in Estes Park.
The Stanley, of course, is where Stephen King was inspired to write The Shining and is known as one of the most haunted hotels in America. Obviously, we took the ghost tour – they run on the hour and cost $15. You can add in a tour of the haunted Concert Hall for $5 but they only run on certain days.
You definitely get bang for your buck, even if you don’t see any spooks – our tour ran for two hours thanks to our guide, Kevin, who was one of the most sweetly enthusiastic tour guides we’ve had before. He was funny, interesting and even knew how to deal with some annoying brats who kept saying like a broken record “that’s not scary” until we were itching to show them what is scary.
What surprised us most was that it wasn’t a gratuitously spooky ghost tour – about half of it was taken up with genuine hotel history (FO Stanley and his brother, who built the hotel, also invented the first hybrid car, made violins and all sorts – clever gents).
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Halloween may be several weeks away, but now's the time to start planning that killer costume and how you'll celebrate. All Saint's Day falls on a Sunday this year, which means that you can make it a weekend-long bash. We'll tell you the best ways to party at a hotel, whether you want a place that's family- or pet-friendly, that'll give you lots of treats or will make you wet your pants because you're so spooked.
Check out our top five Halloween hotels after the jump.