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10 haunted and historic hotels in Europe

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 30/10/2016 Alisha Prakash
Spitbank Fort: This 19th-century naval defense base-turned-eight-room luxury hotel lies on a private island that’s one mile off England’s south coast. Reached only by a private boat, getting there is tricky — but it’s worth the trip. During their stay, guests will be greeted with a rooftop hot tub, fire pit, sauna and possibly even the ghost of Henry, a soldier who was accidentally killed on site. © Oyster.com Spitbank Fort: This 19th-century naval defense base-turned-eight-room luxury hotel lies on a private island that’s one mile off England’s south coast. Reached only by a private boat, getting there is tricky — but it’s worth the trip. During their stay, guests will be greeted with a rooftop hot tub, fire pit, sauna and possibly even the ghost of Henry, a soldier who was accidentally killed on site.

From trick-or-treating and watching gory films to dodging creepy clowns at haunted houses, there are plenty of ways to ring in Halloween. But for those who are looking to up the fear factor even more, we rounded up 10 of the most haunted hotels in Europe that you can spend the night in. These houses of horrors, which will surely keep you up all night, range from former prisons with spooky specters to medieval castles with bloody, spine-chilling pasts.

Ruthin Castle Hotel

Dating back to the 13th century, this castle in North Wales houses an upscale spa and luxurious guest rooms; it even hosts glorious medieval feasts. It also happens to be home to terrifying dungeons, a drowning pool, whipping pit and unexplained eerie noises. Turns out, the property has witnessed some disturbing murders in the past. While visiting, be on the lookout for the ghost of Lady Grey. According to legend, she was sentenced to death after murdering her husband’s mistress, and has haunted the castle ever since.

Langham Hotel London

Opened in 1865, this 380-room hotel has hosted a famous cast of characters, including Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain and Winston Churchill — plus a roster of ghosts. Among the specters you’re likely to stumble upon are a German prince who jumped out of a fourth-floor window, a doctor who murdered his wife before taking his own life during their honeymoon, and Emperor Napoleon III, who spent his final days in exile at the hotel. But for access to a luxurious spa, salt sauna and other high-end amenities, an occasional ghost sighting might be a small price to pay. And if you want to better your chances of a spooky experience, reserve Room 333, which is supposedly the most haunted of them all.

Ballygally Castle

Built in 1625, this 54-room Irish castle has a long (and hair-raising) history. In addition to contemporary rooms with iPod docks, an excellent restaurant and a gorgeous setting overlooking the Irish Sea, the property features a friendly resident phantom who goes by the name of Lady Isabella. Rumor has it, she either jumped or was thrown off the top of the castle. As an homage, the hotel even comes with a special Ghost Room.

The Shelbourne Dublin, A Renaissance Hotel

Bill Clinton, Liam Neeson and Julia Roberts are just a few of the famous faces who have checked into this majestic hotel on Dublin’s St. Stephen’s Green. While they came and went, some other hotel occupants never checked out. When actress Lily Collins claimed she encountered a ghost on the property, the hotel staff revealed that it was Mary Masters, a young girl who died in the building and still roams its halls.

Castle Leslie Estate

If you like your romance with a side of scaries, head to this 19th-century estate, which was the setting for Paul McCartney and Heather Mills' wedding. Surrounded by the Irish countryside, the hotel is said to play house to several spirits. Most famously, the ghost of Norman Leslie, who was killed during WWI, has reportedly taken up shelter in the Red Room. His apparition was seen by Lady Marjorie Leslie in the room a few weeks following his death. Enter at your own risk.

Malmaison Oxford Castle

Mary Blandy was hung at this medieval castle after poisoning her father in 1752. Many have claimed to see her ghost (as well as those of white-robed monks) on the grounds. And that’s not the only reminder of the property’s chilling past. This castle-turned-prison-turned-hotel, which once housed some of Britain’s most infamous criminals, still features dungeon-like punishment cells throughout the property. 

Spitbank Fort

Spitbank Fort, a 19th-century naval defense base-turned-eight-room luxury hotel, lies on a private island that’s one mile off England’s south coast. Reached only by a private boat, getting there is tricky — but it’s worth the trip. During their stay, guests will be greeted with a rooftop hot tub, fire pit, sauna and possibly even the ghost of Henry, a soldier who was accidentally killed on site.

Bunchcrew House Hotel

Magical, historic and serene are some of the words that might describe this 17th-century Scottish castle. Oh, and haunted, too. Overlooking the water, the hotel claims that it hosts Isobel, a kind and elderly ghost who’s known who wander the corridors after dark. Creaky floorboards and embers from log-burning fireplaces add to the mysterious atmosphere.

Chateau de Marcay

For some, the highlight of their experience at this 15th-century castle hotel in France’s Loire Valley might be the outdoor pool, tennis court and riding and walking trails. For others, it might be the paranormal activity. Since the hotel opened its doors, guests and staff have claimed to run into the ghost of a beautiful young woman in a white shroud. As the (ghost) story goes, one of the ladies of the Chateau transformed into a werewolf come nightfall. A farmer, who accidentally shot her after mistaking her for a creature, buried her in secret, and she has stuck around since.

Castello della Castelluccia

For travelers who have dreamed about spending the night in a castle — and encountering a supernatural being — Castello della Castelluccia satisfies on both fronts. Housed in a medieval castle, the 23-room hotel, which is situated in the countryside outside Rome, is said to be haunted by several ghosts, including Emperor Nero, a local alchemist who was struck and killed by lightning, and even ghostly horses galloping around at night.

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