Florida is frightening.
Consider, for example, the gentleman at Busch Gardens arrested for attacking a dancing flamingo called Pinky. Or the man banned from all Wendy’s fast-food restaurants after he chucked three-foot-long alligator into a drive-through window – resulting in a charge of assault with a deadly weapon, among others.
Pretty scary stuff.
If you’re headed to Florida for a holiday and that’s not enough 'eek' for you, then may we suggest holing up in some of its haunted hotels? Read on for a run-down of the spookiest below.
10 The Vinoy Renaissance Hotel, St. Petersburg
Back in the day, celebs such as Babe Ruth and Silent Cal used to haunt The Vinoy Renaissance Hotel, an art deco structure built to shimmer on the St. Petersburg shore in 1925. Today, it’s a popular gathering place for ghosts, or so some of its visitors – who report seeing toilets flush themselves, hearing the pitter-patter of phantom footsteps and feeling held down to the bed – say.
If you’re keen on catching a fleeting glimpse of a ghost, apparently the Old Wing of the hotel is your best bet. Apparently, those old souls tend to steer clear of the highfalutin ‘New Wing.’ At least, the spirits seem to be rather peaceful, which is pretty nice of them.
9 The Plaza Resort & Spa, Daytona Beach
In August 2013, CCTV cameras captured footage of a thirsty shape-shifter slinking around the Veranda Bar & Grill. If nothing else, it should have made for an interesting dinner.
According to the staff, apparition sightings are common – and thought to be of victims of a 1909 fire that destroyed the original building. In particular, a small girl is said to fiddle with the hotel’s elevator buttons and nosh into the late night in the kitchen.
8 Marrero’s Guest Mansion, Key West
Constructed in 1899, this Victorian-style bed-in-breakfast has a tragic past.
Francisco Marrero had it erected for his wife Enriqueta and their eight children. When he passed, an estranged woman he’d separated from but never legally divorced inherited the home – and kicked Enriquetta and the kids onto the street.
Her spirit still haunts the hotel, especially room 18. Most often, she shakes the chandeliers as a sort of gaudy protest.
7 The Biltmore Hotel, Coral Gables
The Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables was built in 1926 by George Merrick. The hotel was designed for the roaring twenties; consequently, many flashy, outrageous parties took place within the Biltmore. The spot was a particularly popular haven for gangsters to get their party hats on.
One evening, when a party was raging on the 13th floor, notorious gangster Thomas Walsh was fatally wounded with a gunshot. While it was this murder that sparked rumors of ghosts, what clinched the deal was that the Biltmore became a military hospital during World War II, which inevitably saw much blood spilled.
Since its renovation during the '80s, hundreds of guests have claimed to hear odd noises at night, including the sound of uncontrollable sobbing and doors slamming shut by themselves, while employees have seen people appearing and disappearing into thin air.
6 The Casa Monica Hotel, St. Augustine
Originally constructed in 1887 under the name Cordova, the Casa Monica Hotel is now known for its alleged paranormal activity.
Apparently the staff keeps the ghost talk on the down low, but many guests report strange happenings – including specters swinging their hips to waltz music in 1920s garb. According to Frightfind.com, rooms 411 and 511 seem to be particularly welcoming of ghostly visitors.
5 Seven Sisters Inn, Ocala
Self-described as one of the most haunted bed-and-breakfasts in Florida, the Seven Sisters Inn is sure spooky. In fact, it is seven times as spooky as most haunted locations.
Often considered among the most haunted inns in the entirety of Floriday, no fewer than seven spirits are claimed to stalk the halls: The original residents, Emma and Ben Rheinauer, and a man called George they describe as a ‘flirt.’
4 The Florida House Inn, Fernandina Beach
One of Florida’s oldest continually operating hotels, this beauty was built in 1857 and is purportedly also home to a forward phantom. Specifically, a woman who climbs into bed with its guests uninvited.
Guests have also reported seeing a sad man; perhaps, could he be the fresh phantom’s shirked lover?
3 The Don CeSar Hotel, St. Pete Beach
Whenever a hotel feels it necessary to actively mention its supposed hauntings, then it is safe to assume there is probably some validity to the rumors. The Don CeSar is a gorgeous hotel with a heartbreaking backstory of lost love, specifically one relating to an American named Thomas and a Spaniard called Lucinda.
According to the hotel's own site, floor five has been known to throw out the periodic spooky knock or unexplainable swinging door. Thomas seems to still be struggling to get over Lucinda.
2 The Quality Inn, Crestview
The Quality Inn was built in 2000, not exactly the marker of a haunted hotel, given that it's less than 20 years old. However, guests swear they have seen apparitions. While different guests stayed across different time periods, they all concur on what the male figure looked like, and his odd behavior. He impatiently waits for elevators in the morning, until disappearing.
There have also been claims of a headless woman haunting guests in their bedrooms in the middle of the night, dripping blood over the carpet and moaning. Of course, in the morning there would be no sign of this blood.
1 La Concha Hotel, Key West
One of Key West's most infamous haunted hotels, La Concha has a long and ghost-infested history that dates back to the '20s. According to Keywestparanormal, La Concha suffered some hard times during the 1929 Wall Street crash and World War II, although there were quite a few horrific incidents that happened later on.
La Concha is a stunning hotel that also happens to be haunted. Or, is it a haunted hotel that also happens to be stunning?