It's a truism of the hospitality business: There's nothing that can add allure to a hotel like terrible tales of a haunting past.
While some hotels actively hush up their histories of blood, gore and violence, others embrace the allure of the sinister. And there's no better time for ghoulish tales than the run up to Halloween.
These haunts were picked by experts from luxury tour operator Tauck, whose trips span more than 65 countries.
If there's one thing the list -- heavy on Italy, the United States and Canada -- shows, it's that some countries love ghost stories much more than others.
Ahwahnee Hotel, Yosemite National Park, California
Tauck experts have two eerie tales about this National Park hotel. Tauck tour director Cindy Walker won't stay on the sixth floor because she's had strange experiences there -- and only later learned that one of the hotel's developers, Mary Curry Tressider, is said to haunt the floor. Housekeepers also report that a rocking chair will inexplicably appear on the third floor, a haunting reminder of John F. Kennedy's 1962 visit, when he requested a rocker for his room.
Chateau Rochecotte, Loire Valley, France
At this French chateau, says Tauck tour director Nicole Kreigenhofer, a company driver simply couldn't sleep after a haunting experience. “Michel would either stay awake all night with the TV and lights on, or he'd sleep in the motorcoach," Kreigenhofer says. "He was too proud or embarrassed to ask for a different room.” She's even considered that the experience of revisiting the haunted hotel forced him into an early retirement last year.
Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Alberta, Canada
Tauck tour director Ed Gans has two stories about this haunt. One involves a ninth-floor bellman named Sam who seems to disappear into thin air after guests ask for assistance -- or try to hand over a tip. Hotel employees meanwhile tell Ed about mysterious breezes down the stately marble staircase, a reminder of a wedding tragedy in which a bride tumbled down the steps to her death.
Fairmont Le Chateau Fronentac, Quebec City, Canada
Tauck tour director Britta Svensson says the stories about the ghost of Louis de Buade, Comte de Frontenac -- for whom the hotel is named -- are most certainly true. Look for Louis sitting mournfully on windowsills around the property, Svensson says.
Grand Hotel Parco dei Principi, Rome, Italy
“I’ve stayed at the Parco dei Principi about a million times," says Tauck tour director Andrea Orri, "And each time I slept in room 523 the lights would go on in the heart of the night and the curtains -- with the window closed -- would start moving."
Ritz-Carlton New Orleans, New Orleans, Lousiana
Ghosts seem drawn to this hotel's spa, where therapists report doors opening and closing at random and flickering lights.
Toftaholm Herrgård, Toftaholm, Sweden
"Our guests report funny things," the hotel's Torbjorn Colfach says. "Strange sounds, the unexplained movement of various things, and doors or windows being closed in the morning that were left open the night before."
Westin Excelsior Florence , Florence, Italy
"I was so convinced that room 152 was haunted that I absolutely refused to stay on the first floor at all,” says Tauck tour director Debi Holmes-Binney. "I actually went down to the concierge at midnight in my jammies because I was so scared. To this day, if they told me I had to stay in that room I’d go to another hotel."