Tourists Share Their Hair-Raising Hotel Experiences

Fantasy Horror Award

You’re in town for the weekend and looking for a great hotel where you can rest your head. Fortunately, you discover one right within your price range. You think it’s going to be a simple process and a pleasant stay, but some unusual things occur during the night — things that really freaked you out.

This may not have happened to you, but others have experienced some totally eerie situations while spending nights in weird hotels. These people managed to walk away from a simple hotel visit with some bizarre stories to tell.

Taxi Cab Confessions

I was finishing up a solo backpacking trip and decided to treat myself to a hotel for the final night. I went to request a room, and the front desk explained that they were all booked. They offered to arrange a cab to take me to one of their other chains across town, and I obliged.

Columbia Pictures

The first part of the cab ride was just a basic conversation, and then it turned creepy. The driver started to ask if I had a boyfriend and if I was going to be meeting anyone at the hotel. I noticed that we appeared to be driving away from the city and into a rural area with farmland. I asked him where we were going and he explained that he knew a shortcut.

He proceeded to ask me what I would do if anyone attacked me. At this point, I was terrified and explained that I carry a big knife on me at all times (totally fake!) and that I wasn’t afraid to use it. Moments after this, he pulled a u-turn and took me to the hotel. I ran into the hotel and told the staff what happened, and spent the rest of the night with my door bolted shut with a chair against it. I peeked out my window for any signs of him and left the country early the next morning.

Who You Gonna Call?

I was in a B&B in rural Virginia and I saw a full-bodied apparition of a lady in 19th-century clothing holding hands with a young girl. It was preceded by sounds of the door handle jiggling from the bathroom. In the morning I didn’t say anything to anyone, not even my wife, and the owner asked if I heard the noises. I said that I did and he said that others have seen the ghost of a woman and her child. I was like, really? You got me!


Don’t know if he was messing around with me or what, but if it was fake, I’m not sure how he made the ghosts appear. It was almost like they were burned into my mind more than physical manifestations.

Walking the Dog

Around 2014, I was on a tour playing with a band that had stopped to play a show in the NYC Brooklyn area. After the show, we met someone who offered for us to crash at his house and having nowhere to park the van in the city, we jumped on the opportunity to stay right away. The guy told us that we had to be super quiet because his wife was pregnant and would be asleep. When I got to the house, I grabbed a couch and fell asleep. In the middle of the night, I woke up and there was a man standing in the kitchen area with a dog quietly looking at us and directing his dog in the direction of the door. It was dark and hard to make out his face but I got up and scoped out the situation (no one around). In the morning I brought up to the owner about him having a roommate with a dog and he looked at me more confused than ever and reassured me that it was only his wife and him in the tiny apartment. Still curious about what the heck happened there.


Ceiling Crashers

in the ’90’s, I got a great deal on a hotel that was being renovated in Houston, Texas, near the Six Flags amusement park. I was legally carrying a weapon and had it in the hotel room. I had the next to the last room on the floor, and there were noisy kids next door.

Stack Exchange

The bathroom was in the front of the room, and it had a suspended ceiling. I went to sleep and woke sometime later when I heard the toilet flush (I was alone in the room).

I got up to check it out, and there was a towel in the toilet, and the ceiling tile was moved out of place. It took me a few minutes to put it together: the kids next door got into the ceiling and into the room, putting their feet on the towels on the rack. They knocked one into the toilet, making it flush because it soaked up so much water. I called the front desk, and explained; they sent someone up to the room. I told them I was armed. I think it settled down after that.

A Haunted Experience

My dad was a steward in his youth, and this happened to him in a hotel in Switzerland. So he (Muslim) was about to do his prayers in his hotel room when the lamp on his nightstand suddenly turned off on his own. He went to turn it back on and it turns out the plug had been disconnected from the socket. He plugged it back in and went back to pray, and the same thing happened again, right as he was starting to pray. Creepy enough? Not nearly.

ADDitude Mag

Now, to be honest, I don’t really believe in ghosts and spirits, nor the stories about the subject when people tell them. This next part, however, makes me think there’s a possibility they do.

While he was sleeping later that night, he was awakened by a strong wind suddenly blowing the windows completely open and letting cold winter air into the room. He got up to shut them and discovered that the windows opened outwards instead of inwards.

Walking With a Ghost

My family stayed in a famously haunted hotel in New Zealand when I was about 6. I didn’t notice anything creepy and neither did my brother or my mum, but my dad said that while he was in the bathroom he could hear someone moving around in my mum’s and his room and when he called out to ask what she was looking for, there was no reply. He just figured it was her but then when he walked back in, she wasn’t in there and had been reading a story to my brother and me for about 10 minutes. Afterward, we asked the front desk if maybe there had been some housekeeping or something but they said that housekeeping is only in the mornings. My dad’s always been very critical of people who believe in supernatural things and used to tease my mum when she talked about the time she saw a ghost, but after that night he’s been a lot more open about the possibility.


Eyes on the Prize

I was staying in a hotel in Amsterdam with a female friend. Our room was located on two sides of a tiny little courtyard, with another room occupying the other two sides. The bedrooms looked into each other and so did the bathrooms. The widows took up almost a whole wall so you could see practically the whole room through them. We left the bedroom curtains closed most of the time, otherwise, they could see right in. The bathroom windows were frosted so we thought that would be OK. My female friend went for a shower and I happened to glance out the bedroom window. It was at that point I realized that the frosted glass didn’t actually hide that much. I also noticed an Asian guy in the other room watching her whilst being weird. He sees me and disappears, I quickly alert my friend and we both go storming to reception. They tell us that the rooms have just been renovated (which was true) and that they didn’t realize it was an issue. They have no other rooms for us but do refund us basically all we paid for the room, move the Asian guy, and fit a net curtain to the bedroom and a waterproof curtain to the bathroom that day. They also left the Asian guy’s room empty for the duration of our stay. Kind of creepy but I do think it was a genuine mistake as the windows had only recently been replaced.

Photo by Skyler King on Unsplash

Surprise Husband

My mom was traveling for work and sat next to a man (fellow business traveler) on the plane. They had a casual conversation and exchanged business cards. Later that evening she’s in her hotel watching TV and gets a phone call from the front desk that her husband is here and they want to know if they can give him a key to the room. Turns out, the creep on the plane was pretending to be her husband to try to get into her room.

Compassionate Eye Foundation

Spirit in the Night

I was in Washington DC almost a decade ago and had gone to bed somewhat early (about midnight-ish) since I had an event to be present at around 9 am. I woke from a dead sleep, around 3 am or so. I looked to the right side of the room and saw a woman in a long, flowing, white dress peering out the window. She then turned to the left and flowed to the other side of the room and dissolved.

Autumn Retrospect

I was too groggy to actually piece what I had seen until I got home and thought about it. I wish I had remembered the hotel I stayed at so I could do research on it and figure it all out.

No Way Out

I booked this strange motel in advance for a business trip. The lobby was on the same level as the ground, but the first and only floor was up half a flight of stairs, and the furthest room back was about 400 square feet with no exits or entrances save for some fire exits.

Wiki How

Also, the floor was partially damp. It later dawned on me to wonder why I was put in the room furthest from the entrance to the motel when I had never heard or seen anyone and there were no cars in the parking lot…

Fighting Their Way Back

I was 12 years old visiting London with my sister, who was 21 at the time. We were staying in a hostel and our window opened onto an overhanging, so we were sitting out there relaxing and enjoying the night air. There was a bar right below us and a few people were leaving when a fight broke out. A bunch of yelling turned into a bottle being broken over a guy’s head. He fell to the ground and the others all booked it. About a minute later he got up. His face was absolutely covered in blood. He looked up at us, smiled, and asked my sister if she had been intimate lately.

John L. Calcagni III

Peep This Out

In high school, a Greyhound bus full of us drove down to Tijuana to build houses. We stopped in Montana the first night and were booked to stay in this hotel. Like 5 of us girls were put in a room that wasn’t really close to the rest of the group. They were all next to each other and we were on the floor above.

Pros On Call

We didn’t think much of it at the time, but as soon as we got in, I just had a feeling that something was off and I had a feeling to check out the peephole in the door. Turns out, it was installed backward, so someone on the outside could look in, but we couldn’t look out. We covered it, but sleep was hard that night.

I’m so amazed by how a gut feeling just led me right to the problem. Everyone was blown away. We had just dropped the bags off and I just had this feeling and walked straight to the door. Freaked everyone out. But now every time I’m in a hotel I check the peephole.

Seeing Red

I checked into a motel while driving from Atlanta to Miami. I was exhausted and somewhere south of the Orlando area. I went into the room and it was a bit stinky and the floor was carpeted and sticky. I wanted to leave but I felt like I couldn’t drive another mile safely so I just got into the bed and fell asleep. A few hours later I woke up needing to use the restroom. I went into the dark bathroom and the floor was wet, like soaking wet above my flip flops (that I wore to the bathroom because of the sticky carpet). I grabbed a towel and wiped my feet just before I got back into the bed. I went back to sleep easily and awoke just after dawn. I turned on the light, slipped my feet back into my flip-flops, and noticed the towel on the floor with pinkish stains on it. I walked back to the bathroom and the floor was flooded from the tub overfilling. The water looked bloody. My heart fell into my stomach and I noped the heck out of the room. The desk clerk assured me it was not blood, but rather a “cleaning solution.” I did not buy it but did not want to stick around to fight it.


Hidden Intentions

When I was a little kid, like elementary age, I was at a beach resort in Hawaii and playing in the sand with a boy my age. Some older guy came up to us asking us to help him find his lost dog; we had common sense and were insistent that we wouldn’t go even though he kept asking for our “help.” Later that evening, before even telling our moms about the incident, apparently they saw a few guys hiding behind a palm tree and some bushes who were photographing or videotaping us and that is why they had us take a break from the beach. To this day, I still sometimes wonder about what their intentions were and where those photos or videos ended up.


Light Goes Out

Staying at a BnB owned by Christians in Tel Aviv. They left Bibles on TOP of all the pillows in our room. As a devout atheist, I started reading Genesis to my roomies but in a super silly valley girl kinda way (and God said, like “let there be light” or whatever, and there was, like, light, and God was like that light is totally awesome, etc.). We went out for a bite, then came back and they had come into our room and taken away the Bibles. So they were listening in.

Spiritual Ray

Bugged Out

When I was 4 or 5, my parents & I stayed in a Motel 6 somewhere in Arizona. In the middle of the night, we hear a bunch of screaming & doors slamming & people running down the hallways. As we’re all waking up, it also feels kind of like it’s raining in the room—only the rain is moving. My dad throws on the lights & the ceiling is crawling with tiny ladybugs. And they are falling off the ceiling, so the beds & carpet are also covered in tiny ladybugs. And apparently, ours was not the only room affected.


Kickin’ It

I checked into a hotel on vacation. Everything was going okay. Woke up one night to erratic movement of the door handle as if someone was trying to get in or break the door down. It always happened in the dead of the night when in deep sleep. As soon as I woke up, it would stop. I spoke to a hotel manager about it and he told me it was a patient who was recently released from a mental institute who does this, as he still thinks he is locked up in the institute. A combination of not taking his medication and sleepwalking makes him randomly try to kick doors down within the hotel. The family was very wealthy and connected, and the manager didn’t want to kick up a fuss for chucking out someone who can shut his business down very quickly. I left after a week because it got worse.


Here’s Johnny!

Family vacation. 1 Am. My brother and I had just finished watching The Shining on TV. Neither of us had seen it before. We heard someone trying to open our door. No one else was supposed to have keys.

Warner Bros.

Someone tried to swing open the door, but the hotel lock stopped them. They kept trying to open it multiple times, banging the door against the lock. After a few tries, they gave up. The hotel desk clerk accidentally entered the wrong room for their keycards.

It was probably best that I saw The Shining. I can’t be scared more than from that movie.

What About Bob?

My mom was in China visiting her family when she got a phone call from a number she didn’t recognize. She picked it up and didn’t recognize the voice and asked who the person was. The person pretended to be a friend of my uncle (I’ll call him Bob). My mom was suspicious so she didn’t really talk to Bob; she just hung up. Fast forward to when my mom arrived at her hotel. She got a call from the phone in the hotel room and she picked it up and it was Bob. She was kind of freaked out because she didn’t say anything about where she was staying. And Bob told her to meet him at a restaurant that was really far. She didn’t go and she checked into another hotel.

Hotel Shopping Network

Into the Darkness

One time, between deciding if I wanted to go back to college or not (didn’t feel like my major was what I really wanted—didn’t go back), I stayed at The Hampton Inn that was here in town (didn’t live in the city and didn’t register for another semester just yet). The room felt off the moment I walked into it. I thought it was just me since I’ve always had roommates (boarding school) and family around. So first time with some true privacy oughta feel weird right? Well, I started Facetiming with some friends from high school and all was well and fun like old times when suddenly someone walked across the screen behind me. It didn’t really register that I was supposed to be alone in the room until I saw the look on my friend’s face. What the hecks ensued. I searched all around the room, underneath the bed, in the closet, the bathroom and everywhere someone could’ve disappeared to in two or three seconds. I was alone. Went to bed later on that night with the bathroom lights and desk lamp on. Woke up a few hours later with everything totally dark and the sensation of someone in bed with me. Freaked the heck out, turned on the bedside lamp and the figure of someone else’s body disappeared on the bed. Noped the heck out of there and took a midnight flight out of town.

Huffington Post

I Want Your Skulls

About 15 years ago, I was staying at a hostel in Freiburg, Germany. The dorm room I was assigned had maybe three other travelers. One of them was a young, muscular guy who seemed normal at first. I tried to talk with him but he would just stare back at me blankly. I assumed because he didn’t speak English or German, or he just didn’t feel like socializing. Anyway, later during my stay, I noticed that he was using a human skull as a piggy bank. Maybe it was fake, or maybe it was real. I didn’t dare get a closer look. I never felt as though I was in danger, but it was definitely creepy.


Miss Know It All

A friend and I once stayed at a pretty fancy B&B for the night. The lady who owned it was absolutely lovely, but would appear out of nowhere. We’d be sitting alone in a large room with one doorway and suddenly she was in the room with us. Either this joint had secret doors or something really creepy was going on. She seemed to know things that we’d said or done as well. The thing that tripped us out the most was hearing someone trying to open our door during the night. She was super lovely and the building was beautiful, but we were relieved to check out the next morning!

Accor Hotels

Get Over Here

Was in San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua last year. Massive spiders all over the room. Even woke up with a couple of little scorpions in my bed the first morning. Next night I’m sitting at the bar, drinking and chatting with a mate, and feel a tickle on the back of my neck and think it’s a mosquito or something. Brush the back of my neck and another darn scorpion, this time way bigger, plops on the ground at my feet. I stared at it for a moment in shock, squealed like a girl, squashed it, and kept enjoying my beverage.

Photo by Shayna Take on Unsplash

Not From Around Here

I went on a weekend trip with my SO. We went to a little town in the middle of nowhere in Australia. Just getting off the train I could almost hear the banjo music from Deliverance. She got stared at. We thought it was funny at first, since I’m white and she’s asian, it just seemed.. quaint. After a few hours though, the hairs on the back of my neck got restless. She didn’t like it either so we decided to call it a day fairly early. We were staying above a pub. The patrons there stared even worse, not just curiously but… lustily? I guess? Enough to make my normally very happy and bubbly partner feel subdued and creeped out. Long story short, I caught a staff member of the pub/hotel removing a video recording device from the cupboard after we’d left the next morning, when I ‘unexpectedly’ returned to the room to see if I’d left my book in there… zero stars.

Photo by Gabriel Petry on Unsplash

The Shining Hotel

Last August, we went hiking in the Rocky Mountains & the last two nights of our trip, we stayed at the Stanley Hotel (the hotel in the Shining) & stayed in a “haunted” room on the 4th floor.


As we were getting settled in, I was putting our stuff in the closet & I heard a light switch loudly switch on. I peeked out of the closet to see what was going on & my partner was standing in the middle of the room frozen in place. Neither of us was near a light switch. And the bathroom light was now on when it had been off before.

We’d also left our do not disturb sign up all the time & our room had been tidied. That could’ve been housekeeping just ignoring our sign, but previous guests had commented that their stuff had been completely unpacked & put away, which the hotel said they don’t do. Housekeeping also worked evenings, which seemed unusual.

We didn’t spend much time in the hotel as we were out hiking most of the day, but that was creepy, plus the TV was acting very strangely, flickering & just freezing up, then the screen would turn pink across part of it. There was also a young child, maybe 2 years old hanging out outside our room. I’m pretty positive he was a real child, it just seemed weird that he was alone for a few minutes. (His parents were probably not far away, just didn’t see them). There were also bizarre noises coming from a room by the elevator, strange mechanical noises.

Three Doors Down

My wife and I were driving across country to a family vacation. It was getting late and we were tired of driving and needed a place to stop. Most hotels were already full for the night, but we found a motel with vacancy and booked a room.

Photo by Marvin Esteve on Unsplash

It was your typical run down motel right off the highway in Indiana. When we got to our floor with about only half of the hallway lights working we walked past a room with red tape on the door. As a good husband, I could sense my wife’s uneasiness so to be as supportive as I could I joked to her that I bet someone died in that room. She didn’t appreciate the joke but we were both tired and headed to our room about 3 doors down. When we got to our room the wife went to use the bathroom to find that someone had already used it and just left it in the toilet. No paper, no flush. The entire room gave off a “you’re going to get a disease or leave with bugs” vibe, so we slept with our clothes and shoes on and made the best of it.

The next morning during checkout I made the same joke to the front desk clerk. “What happened to the room down the hall from us. Did someone die?”

The clerk didn’t hesitate to reply that yes, someone had died. They fell asleep with a cigarette in bed and burnt to death in the room.

My wife and I just said “oh…” at the same time as we soaked in the poor taste of my joke as it became a reality and turned and left. I searched online to confirm the story, and sure enough it was true. This motel didn’t have a fire alarm system that reported to the fire department, so when the room caught fire the occupant died of smoke inhalation before someone was alerted to the fire.

We haven’t stayed in a Indiana motel since.

Who Drinks Peppermint?

My friend and I stayed at a motel in Berlin and when we came home after a night out it was obvious that someone had been in our room. Not because there was something missing (some money and passports still there), but there was peppermint beverage all over the floor and our beds. My friend, looking very out of sorts went to the staff asking for clean sheets, telling them what had happened and they clearly thought we must’ve been more messed up than we actually were. For a second I doubted myself, but I’m 100% sure we would never buy or drink peppermint anything, so pouring it all over our room definitely didn’t happen. The memory of confusion on the staffs and my friends face still makes me chuckle every now and then. Good times.

Photo by Holger Link on Unsplash

Just a Bit of Blood

My parents took my sister and I around the US quite a bit when we were young. In Alabama when I was about two, we checked into the Heart of Auburn Motel after a long day on the road. Once in the room, I immediately turned down one of the two double beds to find the pillow completely covered – literally caked – with blood.

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To my mind this was a horror. My mother saw it as simply a failure of proper housekeeping. She called the front desk, had the sheets and the offending pillow changed and then tucked me into the formerly bloody bed.

She said someone probably had a nosebleed but my mind was filled with images of massive head wounds.

Much later in life, when my work took me onto several crime scenes, I saw blood splatter and pooling up close. This experience has convinced me someone actually bled out on that motel room pillow in the Heart of Auburn.

Don’t You Dare Touch Cleo

My wife and I were moving from Boston to California. We needed to find pet-friendly hotels along the way because we had our cat, Cleo, with us. One of these stops was in Albuquerque, NM.

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The night we get into Albuquerque, we check in, get settled, everything’s fine’n’dandy. I also took a shower that night and didn’t notice anything wrong with the bathroom, other than the shower being old and in need of some updating.

The next morning, we’re getting ready to head out. I go to the bathroom, and notice on the back of the bathroom door, written in (what looked like) dried bar soap, “C L E O ☹️”.

This was definitely NOT there the night before. I would have seen it before and after I took my shower. I called my wife into the bathroom to check it out and she didn’t see it the night before either. We then made sure Cleo was ok, scooped her up, put her in her crate, and packed up as quick as we could.

We did not want to investigate. We did not want to hang around. We checked out of that hotel and quickly got out of Albuquerque.

By the way, other than that hotel room, Albuquerque’s lovely!

Splitting Heads

A little hotel in London, I remember it being a couple of blocks away from King’s Cross. We got there late and there was only a reception guy, he told us about breakfast and internet services, etc.

Photo by Joel Mwakasege on Unsplash

“You can come back upstairs around 8 and the guy in charge of the Internet café will be back.” “The cook starts serving breakfast at 6” “The cleaning crew usually start cleaning rooms at 10”

Things like that. The creepy part? He was the only employee there. He was the cook, and the cleaning guy, and the one in charge of the computers but he has different personalities for each and spoke of “the others” in third person. We only stayed there for a couple of nights and we were never really sure if he was crazy or just being funny.