Hotels with a macabre past

Slide show: Vacation spots for the morbidly curious, from the Bates Motel to the inspiration for "The Shining"

Megan Cytron
January 24, 2011 12:01AM (UTC)

Hotels are places of transgression. While there doesn't appear to be a medical term for people who suffer from a fear of hotels, there's something about these transitional spaces, teeming with intimate human moments, that can make us feel a bit uneasy. Hitchcock knew this -- his sketchy, rootless characters breezed in and out of hotels and boardinghouses. In "Psycho" (and later, Stephen King's "The Shining"), the specter of an empty motel off the main road produced a sense of dread and foreboding.

If a hotel has been around long enough, it's probably safe to say that someone died there at some point -- and most don't make much of a fuss about it. Some places, however, have a way of holding on to their sad stories -- and embellish and fictionalize the facts to feed our morbid curiosity.


Each of these 15 hotels has a dark past -- they are all, also, lovely places to spend a night, if not an eternity. Several are said to harbor ethereal remnants of the people who perished there, others bear physical scars from real violence, and a handful go down in infamy as the site of a messy, high-profile celebrity death.

Megan Cytron

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