6 haunted Florida hotels for a spooky night’s rest

Image via Instagram @st_francis_inn

By Crystal Harlan

October 24, 2023

If you genuinely enjoy exploring creepy destinations and getting up close and personal with the other side, there is a hotel for that in nearly every city in Florida.

Would you mind staying in a hotel where a ghost pulls off your covers at night? Or where you see unexplained handprints and hear disembodied voices? How about finding your belongings in different places or seeing apparitions out of the corner of your eye? If this sounds like a good time to you, in the Sunshine State you’ll find plenty of hotels with permanent guests from the other side.

In fact, when we started researching haunted hotels in Florida, we quickly found that there were enough inns around the state where things go bump in the night to fill an entire book. Many of these hotels have long and sordid pasts as the backdrop to murders, heartbreaks, wounded and dying soldiers, and more. These six hotels are among the most haunted in the state–stay in them if you dare!

The Don CeSar, St. Pete Beach

6 haunted Florida hotels for a spooky night’s rest

Image via Instagram @thedoncesar.

The grand pink hotel overlooking the white sands of St. Pete Beach was built in 1928 by real estate scion Thomas Rowe as a tribute to his lost love, Lucinda. Rowe met the Spanish actress at a staging of Maritana in London, but Lucinda’s parents forbade the relationship. Rowe returned to the States heartbroken and years later learned of her death. After building the hotel in her memory, it hosted countless celebrities, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Clarence Darrow, and Al Capone. During World War II, the property, also known as the Pink Palace, was commandeered by the military and eventually abandoned and fell into disrepair. In the 70s the hotel was restored and reopened as a resort. Today, it’s said that staff have seen ghostly apparitions of Rowe and his lover walking hand-in-hand through the hotel, and some guests report seeing specters of soldiers who may have stayed at the hotel when it was a military hospital.

Marrero’s Guest Mansion, Key West

6 haunted Florida hotels for a spooky night’s rest

Image via Instagram @marrerosguestmansion

This boutique hotel was originally a private home, built in the 1890s by Francisco Marrero, a local cigar maker. Marrero lived in the home with his wife Enriquetta and their eight children, but after his death, his wife and children were evicted. Today guests say that they feel her presence, especially in room 18. Some guests have seen the chandelier move back and forth, and the apparition of a woman has been seen sitting at the foot of the bed in that room. Guests and staff members have heard babies and children crying, especially in rooms 17 and 23, which is unusual in a hotel that is for adults only.

Casa Monica, St. Augustine

6 haunted Florida hotels for a spooky night’s rest

Image via Instagram @casamonicaresortandspa

Some say that Casa Monica is the most haunted hotel in Florida. Inspired by Moorish architecture, the majestic hotel was built by Franklin W. Smith in 1888. Unfortunately, Smith had to sell the hotel to his business rival after falling on hard times. Some say his spirit haunts the hotel–but his is not the only presence that has been sensed by guests and staff alike. In room 411, one guest reported waking up to find a number of figures standing in his room. The Ponce de Leon suite is said to be haunted by a woman in white. Meanwhile in room 511, a man reportedly hung himself. And in the Flager suite, a mysterious child’s handprint appears on the bathroom mirror, and once a staff person knocked on the door to clean, and heard a voice say, “We’ve been expecting you,” but when she opened the door, the room was empty.

St. Francis Inn, St. Augustine

6 haunted Florida hotels for a spooky night’s rest

Image via Facebook @stfrancisinn

This charming inn, built in 1791, is haunted by a ghost known as Lily. According to the inn’s site, a young man who lived with his uncle, Major William Hardee, the owner of the inn in the middle of the 19th century, fell in love with a young Black servant girl. When his uncle found out about their relationship he fired the girl and prohibited his nephew from seeing her again. His nephew fell into a deep depression and killed himself–some say by hanging himself in what is now called Lily’s Room, and others say by jumping out the third floor window.

Both guests and staff have reported seeing apparitions in Lily’s Room as well as in other parts of the inn. Other strange and unexplained phenomena include hearing whispers and moans, lights and coffee makers going on and off, covers being pulled off guests at night and locked doors found open. One guest staying in Lily’s Room was awakened by a loud noise and found the contents of her purse scattered across the floor. Ghost hunters have visited the inn and say several spirits–not just Lily’s–are present.

Florida House Inn, Fernandina Beach

6 haunted Florida hotels for a spooky night’s rest

Image via Instagram @shgcollection.events

This hotel was originally a boarding house, built in 1857 by David Yulee, who was trying to build a railroad from Fernandina Beach to Cedar Key. Unfortunately, the Civil War halted his railroad project, and the boarding house was used to shelter Union soldiers. During the Golden Age, when wealthy Northerners traveled to Fernandina Beach, the inn hosted plenty of dinner parties and high-profile visitors. Some of its most notable guests over the years include Ulysses S. Grant, Jose Marti, Henry Ford, Laurel and Hardy, and Mary Pickford.

Today guests tell of a sad-looking man who wanders the halls, as well as a very forward female spirit who gets into bed with guests.

The Biltmore Hotel, Coral Gables

6 haunted Florida hotels for a spooky night’s rest

Image via Instagram @thebiltmoremiami

Built in 1926 by George Merrick, the founder of Coral Gables, the swanky hotel was known for its fashion shows, galas, and golf tournaments. In 1929, mobster “Fatty” Walsh was murdered at the hotel and reportedly now haunts the 13th floor. During World War II, the hotel became a military hospital and later a veterans hospital. After closing its doors in 1968, local high school kids would sneak into the abandoned building and tell of seeing apparitions of soldiers.

The hotel was restored to its original glory in 1987 and added to the National Registry of Historic Places, but that hasn’t stopped the ghost stories. Guests report seeing soldiers, army nurses, and hearing noises from a party that wasn’t happening. One of the most recent tales is about a woman dressed in red who stares at the bar’s piano player and then disappears.

 

RELATED: Top 9 Most Haunted Places in Florida

Author

  • Crystal Harlan

    Crystal is a bilingual editor and writer with over 20 years of experience in digital and print media. She is currently based in Florida, but has lived in small towns in the Midwest, Caracas, New York City, and Madrid, where she earned her MA in Spanish literature.

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