San Francisco is an incredible city to visit. The Golden Gate Bridge, Chinatown, and Alcatraz draw thousands of tourists to the city throughout the year. The almost idyllic weather the majority of the year, the spectacular scenery, food, and shopping convince some people to stay in the city by the bay.
Other things draw people to San Francisco, though. Countless people venture to the city, hoping to encounter some ghosts.
So let’s look a little closer at the ten most haunted hotels in San Francisco!
Built in 1908 as the Golden West Hotel, the Hotel Union Square is one of the most historic hotels in San Francisco. You could not be in a more central location located right on the edge of Union Square!
This luxury hotel doesn’t just boast a fantastic spot in San Francisco that keeps guests returning for more. It also holds a lot of dark secrets within its luxurious walls.
During prohibition, there was a 10,000-square-foot speakeasy built underneath the hotel called The Golden Bubble. This elegant space’s original features still stand today, but it’s now used as a storage area. Who knows what drama unfolded down there!
If you spend a night or two in room 207 at the hotel, you may come into contact with a friendly female ghost.
Many guests have reported the sighting of a translucent figure of a woman walking around their room in the dead of night, opening and closing the bathroom door!
After clearing a room for guests, maids often find the odd item out of place in this room. Could it be the woman’s spirit wanting to keep the room all to herself? [BOOK A ROOM]
2. Queen Anne Hotel
The beautiful and historic Victorian-style Queen Anne Hotel is unlike many others in San Francisco. It has charm, an excellent location, and is one of the quieter hotels in the city. It even survived the horrific San Francisco earthquake of 1906, which destroyed much of the city.
Many seek out the Queen Anne Hotel in hopes of experiencing the paranormal. Those brave enough can even request the most haunted room at the Queen Anne, Miss Mary Lake’s room on the fourth floor. When the location served as a girl’s school, Miss Mary Lake was the headmistress.
People have captured orbs in the room when taking photographs, while others have reportedly felt the presence of Miss Mary. Those staying in room 410 also report unusual sounds with no apparent cause and unsettling tapping.
Other people have reported the sensation of someone touching and even stroking their hair, yet no one is close to them. Different people have witnessed and even captured shadowy figures on camera moving through rooms in the hotel.
On one of the floors, guests can find the Bishop’s chair. Some people report when they sit in the chair and put their arms on the armrests, it feels like someone had placed a hand on their arm in a comforting fashion. The chair reportedly dates back to when Miss Mary Lake was the headmistress. [BOOK A ROOM]
3. San Remo Hotel
The San Remo Hotel has been around since 1906. The hotel has a lot of character and is more like a home than a true hotel. Unlike most hotels, the individual rooms share bathrooms located in the hallways. It has a Victorian, Italian, bohemian feel to the design.
The charming hotel has a reputation for comforting accommodations, but it also has a reputation for being one of the most haunted hotels in San Francisco.
The Painted Lady is one of the most famous ghosts to haunt San Remo. The Painted Lady was a madame who stayed in and died in room 33. People staying in the room have reportedly heard knocking on the door to the room and having things moving and other odd stories.
The ghost of a young girl has been seen numerous times trying to enter room 42. Some people claim that someone knocks on the outside of the door while in their room. Because the knocking seems to be coming from a low spot on the door, it is assumed it is a child.
There are also stories of hearing a man’s voice in the room, movement, and other random noises. People suspect it is the ghost of a man who killed himself there.
A double murder was also said to have occurred in the restaurant of the San Remo Hotel. People who spend time in the restaurant have seen a dark, shadowy figure crossing the room. These are just a handful of the sightings and paranormal activity at the San Remo Hotel. BOOK A ROOM]
4. Hotel Emblem (formerly Hotel Rex)
The Hotel Emblem (formerly the Hotel Rex) is a boutique hotel that draws its inspiration from the 1920s, specifically the literary salons and art galleries of that era.
It offers its guests a mix of classic and modern amenities. Due to its excellent location, people have easy and fast access to some of the city’s best attractions.
Guests to the Emblem also have the opportunity to enjoy everything a haunted hotel in San Francisco has to offer. One of the most frightening ghosts at the Emblem has appeared to a number of the housekeeping staff.
A Chinese man spends a considerable amount of time wandering around the 4th floor. That in itself is not what is so frightening. What is scary is the fact that he walks around holding a cleaver. Did he work in the kitchen, or does he want to take our revenge on someone?
Considering Chinese immigrants lived in the building during the Gold Rush, it is quite possible he only wanted to prepare something to eat for his family.
Guests who have stayed in the hotel have been hearing horses behind the building in the alley. As there are no horses in the area, it may be the ghosts of horses brought to the area during the Gold Rush and later. [BOOK A ROOM]
5. Nob Hill Inn Hotel
When the beautiful Nob Hill Inn was first built in 1907, it served as a private home. It offers cozy accommodations, Edwardian period furnishings, and some modern amenities.
The hotel offers stairs and an elevator that only accesses particular floors. This was done to maintain the hotel’s historical accuracy.
Along with being a wonderful place to stay, Nob Hill Hotel is among the most haunted San Francisco hotels. Over the more than 100 years since it was built, people have reported approximately 20 different ghosts still inhabiting the hotel.
Most of the Nob Hill Hotel ghosts like to play pranks o the guests and staff members of the hotel. They will hide things from people, play with doors and electricity, and have even been known to turn appliances on and off.
Guests report feeling as though someone had just sat down next to them on their beds when no other person was present.
The wine cellar is a popular hangout for a number of the ghosts at the inn as well.
One guest had reportedly mentioned how charming it was to have a woman in period clothing sitting at the end of a hallway. The staff members were perplexed as no such woman was hired to be there, nor was there even a chair at the end of the specified hallway! [BOOK A ROOM]
6. The Palace Hotel
Built in 1875 on the corner of Market and New Montgomery in San Francisco, the Palace Hotel was considered one of the world’s largest and most luxurious hotels. It is now San Francisco’s longest-serving hotel and has seen its fair share of strange paranormal occurrences and events over the years.
The Lady in Red is the most well-known ghost of all at the Palace Hotel. She could be a woman simply looking for revenge, or as many believe, she may be a succubus, roaming the hallways and rooms looking for men traveling alone.
Other ghosts at the hotel include; the spirit of a french girl dressed in Victorian clothing, whose full-bodied apparition has appeared in the kitchen on more than one occasion, asking for soup!
In the Pied Piper Bar, unseen hands often touch people on the shoulder. Another ghost also likes to play tricks on the hotel staff in the dining hall, locking doors and moving items. [BOOK A ROOM]
7. Argonaut Hotel
This award-winning boutique hotel in the popular Fisherman’s Wharf area of San Francisco is fast becoming one of the most haunted locations in the city.
Guests hear disembodied footsteps from empty rooms above, even though the hotel has carpeted floors.
People also report waking up in the night to the feeling of a menacing presence hovering above them. Guests have even felt an icy cold hand grab their arm.
According to one family visiting the hotel, the sounds of children running up and down the hallways early one morning, but on inspection, nobody was around. [BOOK A ROOM]
8. Hotel Majestic
Located in the affluent Pacific Heights area of San Francisco, the Hotel Majestic is a lavish Edwardian building built in 1902. Its reputation as a haunted location is growing, with Lisa, the hotel’s resident ghost being the most well-known haunting.
Lisa was the original owner’s daughter, and her portrait still hangs in the hotel. After her father’s sale of the building, Lisa refused to leave her room (now room 407). It’s believed she still haunts that room and the rest of the fourth floor.
Some guests have reported the sounds of disembodied footsteps and jingling keys, lights flickering, and other strange sounds.
Other guests have reported faucets turning on by themselves, TVs turning on and off, and windows opening themselves.
9. Chancellor Hotel on Union Square
Built in 1914 for the Panama Pacific International Exposition, it was the tallest building in San Francisco. It was built just ten years after the great earthquake of 1906 and was advertised as “virtually fireproof.”
Overlooking Union Square for over 100 years, the impressive Chancellor Hotel has been the source of ghost stories for generations. There are countless paranormal reports from guests and staff members alike. However, there seems to be a high concentration of hauntings happenings on the 13th and 14th floors.
While staying in room 1501, one guest awoke to a sudden mysterious cold chill that couldn’t be explained as a draft or air conditioning. After turning off the lamp on his bedside, he turned back over to sleep and witnessed a small child-sized dark mass standing beside his bed, staring at him.
In room 1401, another guest was settling in their room when the window suddenly flew wide open. She was freaked out so much she requested a change of rooms. According to the lady’s story, she entered her new room on the same floor only to hear a loud, unexplained knocking from inside an exterior wall.
Going down to speak with the hotel clerk, she was informed about the hotel’s hauntings and immediately checked out. [BOOK A ROOM]
10. Fairmont Hotel
Centrally located on the landmark Nob Hill, the 5-star Fairmont Hotel has been rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous of San Francisco since 1907.
Built by Theresa Fair Oelrichs and Virginia Fair Vanderbilt as a tribute to their father, U.S. Senator James Graham Fair, the two sisters are said to still reside in the hotel they thought of so fondly.
The spirit of a prostitute murdered in her room has been seen lounging in her red teddy throughout the hotel.
If you’re staying on the 7th floor, you may just see ghosts of World War II soldiers hanging around. [BOOK A ROOM]
Other Notable San Francisco Haunted Hotels:
- Hotel Whitcomb
- Stanyan Park Hotel
- The Cartwright Hotel
- Intercontinental Mark Hopkins Hotel
- Warwick Hotel
- St. Francis Hotel