Dunhill Hotel, 237 North Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC 28202

Dunhill Hotel History

In November 1929, the city of Charlotte received its first hotel, and apartment hybrid, called the Mayfield Manor Apartment Hotel – now the Dunhill Hotel.

dunhill hotel sign

Designed by architect Louis Asbury Sr., the Mayfield had one hundred rooms, half of which were designed to accommodate individuals, and families who permanently resided in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The remaining fifty rooms were designated as full fledged hotel rooms, built for temporary visitors.

Despite the fact that the Great Depression had just begun, the Mayfield Manor was an overnight success. Citizens of Charlotte quickly fell in love with the beauty, and architectural details of the building, and it was quickly regarded as one of the most pleasing buildings to exist within city limits.

Business, and life in general, became increasingly more strained, however, when the economy failed to recover. City life was expensive, and many people struggled to make ends meet.

Financial Hardships

It is believed that many suicides occurred on the property during the 1930s. As financial hardships continued for many families, many people elected to take their own lives.

The Mayfield Manor was often selected as an ideal location for these suicides, as the ten story building was the tallest building within Charlotte that was open to the public.

Despite time, and extensive renovations, many people believe there is a residual sad, and uncomfortable energy that exists in certain rooms, and areas of the hotel to this day.

Many permanent residents of the Mayfield could no longer afford to live in such luxury during the Great Depression. It goes without saying that during this time in American history, many could not afford to take leisurely trips, and vacations.

The Mayfield lost business in both capacities. Still, it clung to life, even when its primary developer, such as J.P. Matheson, passed away in 1937.

Neglected, But Not Forgotten 

In 1959, the building was sold to a gentleman named D.L. Philips. He changed the name to the James Lee Motor Inn the following year.

Unfortunately, the hotel went through a myriad of different owners during the 60s, and 70s, and with each exchange the hotel began to lose its reputation as a chic establishment. Rates lowered, the furniture grew worn, and the inn began to feel like just another cheap hotel.

A failed investment by a Swiss company ultimately ended the Inn in October, 1981. The building itself sat empty for several years, apart from squatters, and Charlotte’s homeless population.

But plenty of people still saw the hotel’s potential. In 1987, a company called Dunhill Hotel Associates purchased the property, and began an extensive renovation project.

The Ghosts of Dunhill Hotel

The Body in the Basement 

Newspaper cutting from 1988 about the dunhill hotel
Charlotte Observer, dated Feb. 10, 1988

Dunhill Hotel Associates brought in several crew members to begin the restoration project. In 1988, A few employees had gone down into the basement, one of whom was named George Neal. George went to sweep out debris in the elevator shaft, when he came upon human remains.

The skeleton was primarily in pieces, and several bits of clothing was still present. Authorities were immediately called to the scene. Charlotte citizens wandered out of businesses to watch, and the news spread like wildfire. The Charlotte Observer ran a story about the skeleton on February, 10, 1988.

Forensic testing proved that the skeleton had remained to a caucasian male, with a limp, as well as a severe malformation of his left hand. They were unable to determine the identity of the skeleton, nor could they determine when he had died.

A medical examiner could only guess that the man had died sometime between 1983, and 1986. Whether the man fell down the elevator shaft, or was pushed, is still unknown to this day. Nobody has ever been linked to the case.

A Second Life 

Once the investigation had been concluded, renovations continued, and the hotel was back in business by late 1988. The project cost a total of six million dollars.

Renamed the Dunhill Hotel, the interior of the building had been meticulously renovated, and the sixty room building quickly regained its reputation as a classy place to conduct business, and stay the night.

Some might assume that the hotel’s supernatural activity began during construction, but that is not the case. The Dunhill had been known for being haunted, since its days as the Mayfield Manor.

dunhill hotel bar

At first, the occurrences were small. Staff would enter a certain room, and get eerie, indescribable sensations, like shivers suddenly running down their spines.

Some rooms simply feel uncomfortable to be in, and many assume it’s because of how many suicides happened on the property.

Ghosts Among the Guests 

Whispers of paranormal activity made their way to several investigative teams, who elected to visit the hotel with their equipment.

As they explored the hotel, they realized there were not only drastic temperature differences, but there were also phantom smells. Their electromagnetic field detector also went off several times throughout the investigation.

One of the crew members offered to stay in Room 906, which has a reputation for being especially active. During the night, he reported that a lot of the equipment had been randomly shut off.

What was even more chilling, however, was the sound of someone wrapping their fingernails on the nightstand next to him several times in the night.

Guests have also come forward throughout the years, eager to share their own experiences at the Dunhill. One lady, and her husband elected to stay at the luxurious hotel for their honeymoon.

The Haunted Dunhill Hotel, Charlotte, NC 1

The woman reported waking up in the middle of the night, feeling as if someone was staring at her. She woke her husband up, and he could also feel a presence in the room.

It happened every night during their stay at Dunhill. The husband also reported that he could hear what sounded like girls laughing in the vent, while he brushed his teeth in the bathroom.

The Spirit of Dusty 

A lot of experiences people have at the hotel are blamed on a ghost known as Dusty. Nobody is quite sure when Dusty began to make himself known at the hotel. Most employees seem unable to recall a time when the mischievous spirit wasn’t around.

Dusty is known for playing tricks on the living. He enjoys knocking on the hotel doors when nobody else is around. He likes to move objects around, and open, and close the blinds in many rooms.

Interestingly enough, Dusty also seems to enjoy opening the elevator door quite frequently. Could Dusty be the spirit of the homeless man, found at the bottom of the elevator shaft? We may never know.

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