My husband and I have always bonded over our shared love of all things macabre and terrifying. Haunted houses? Horror movies? Graveyards after dark? We say: bring it! But when Booking.com offered us the chance to stay in one of the most haunted hotels in Manhattan, I balked at the idea.
It's one thing to love to be scared by a movie or a controlled haunted house, but it's entirely different to be among real ghosts, especially when I am six months pregnant. Still, staying at The Algonquin Hotel in midtown Manhattan is not an opportunity that comes along every day, so we decided to go for it.
Legend has it that The Algonquin -- built in 1902 -- is haunted by the ghost of writer Dorothy Parker and the legendary Round Table of critics and writers who once had lunch there every day in the roaring 1920's.
Once I heard that, I was sold. I mean, how often is it that an aspiring writer gets the chance to spend the night with her literary heroes? I figured even if I DID see a ghost, she could at least help me with my novel, right? Where's the harm?
We booked our stay by using Booking.com's Haunted destinations, (full disclosure: they reimbursed our night) which is kind of perfect for Halloween. Their list is extensive and if we were traveling, I definitely would have checked out some of the more famous haunted attractions. Gettysburg Hotel? Yes, please!
The whole thing was helped by the fact that I am in the midst of reading Stephen King's latest -- Doctor Sleep. It is a sequel to The Shining and honestly, what ELSE would you read in a haunted hotel? It was perfect.
We checked in around 6 PM and played it up really well. I will say, the lobby, even with the recent renovations, still maintains a lot of its old spooooky feel. See below:
We also met the hotel cat, Matilda. I was sure if ANYONE was going to alert us to the presence of spirits, it was going to be her:
We made our way up to our suite. It was the Round Table Suite, natch and was lovely and romantic and just a little creepy, too. Perfect! The hotel was also kind enough to give us a little gift for our stay:
We did not encounter any ghosts on our trip up to the 8th floor, nor did we have any scary encounters of any other kind. Still, for a former English major who is currently in the middle of writing a novel, this was like a dream. Old New Yorkers were scattered about the room, Dorothy Parker quotes were everywhere, and it was easy to see how a writer with drinking problem (think Jack Torrance) could start to think he/she was communing with those beyond the grave. We did some light reading:
But even that did not conjure any ghosts... phooey! We went downstairs and soaked up the atmosphere in the lobby. My husband even went for the 12-year scotch to REALLY get in the mood. Still nada. Just good service and many happy guests. Oh well. Off we trotted to dinner and by the time we came home around 11:30 PM, we were too tired for even the ghosts to bother.
I will admit I had some spooky dreams, but I am not sure that was actually because of ghosts or rather because of ideas planted in my innocent head... Still, it was worth it.
We survived the night and celebrated in style:
All in all, we had a blast. But it was not scary. Not in the least. Still, we did learn something important:
So thank you to Mrs. Parker for our spooky night. I would totally do it again.
Would you ever sleep in a haunted hotel?
Images via YouTube and Sasha Brown-Worsham