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best-kept secret places to stay

Queen Mary Hotel

Queen Mary Hotel

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Holbrooke Hotel

Hotel Del Coronado

You can also stay in the hotel room where singer Janis Joplin died in 1970 from a heroin overdose. Room 105 of the former Landmark Motor Janis Joplin RoomHotel in Los Angeles, now the Highland Gardens Hotel, in which Joplin spent her final hours, is still a rentable room. The closet contains a small brass plaque commemorating Joplin's life, and the walls are heavily decorated with fan art and notes. 

Haunted Hotels

Long Beach, Grass Valley, and Coronado (San Diego)

People love a good ghost story, and tales of other worldly visitors abound at hotels around the world. The "spirits" often range from once-famous visitors to murdered patrons. Some hotels like to keep these legends under wraps, while others, like the Queen Mary, use it as a marketing tool by offering ghost tours and special packages. So, if you like the idea of possibly sharing your room with an unpaying, not to mention transparent guest, here are some California examples:

Queen Mary Steamship, Long Beach: The majestic Queen Mary steamship, moored at Long Beach, offers you the chance to step back in time aboard one of the most famous ocean liners in history. From the time her construction began in 1930 in Clydebank, Scotland, she was destined to stand in a class all her own. From celebrities like Fred Astaire to dignitaries such as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, she carried some of the world's most renowned personalities and political leaders. In 1939, at the start of the World War II, the Queen Mary was drafted into service and outfitted as a troopship, deemed the Grey Ghost due to her new camouflaged grey exterior. When the war ended, she was restored to her former glory and continued passenger service. In 1966 Cunard sold the Queen Mary and thus began the ship's transition and journey to her new home in Long Beach, California. Hauntings and ghost stories abound onboard this beauty!

Holbrooke Hotel, Grass Valley: This hotel is one of the premiere landmarks in the Gold Country of the Sierra Nevada, dating back to the 1860s. Come stay in rooms where Presidents Ulysses S. Grant, Grover Cleveland and Benjamin Harrison once slept. The Holbrooke blends historic Grass Valley Gold Rush era ambiance with modern conveniences and is well within walking distance of shops, galleries, museums and restaurants. Gold Rush history buffs can tour the Empire and Malakoff-Diggins mines, now California state parks. Many rooms in the historic Holbrooke Hotel have their eerie histories, characters and tales. Sleep in the Black Bart Room, used by the highwayman who robbed the stagecoaches of the rich. Catch some Zs in Room 9, and wake up to a Victorian-dressed maid folding your clothes. But beware of a room where a suicidal gambler slit his throat and was found dead no one knows which room it happened in!

Hotel Del Coronado (San Diego): Built in 1888, this Victorian seaside hotel has a storied and romantic history. Presidents, movie stars and British royalty have stayed here. The comedy film "Some Like It Hot," starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, was filmed at the Hotel del Coronado's beach in 1958. L. Frank Baum, author of "The Wizard of Oz" books, was a frequent guest. The hotel is believed to be haunted by the ghost of young Kate Morgan who checked into the hotel in 1892 to meet her estranged husband for Thanksgiving. He never arrived to meet her, and a few days later, she was found dead on the hotel steps near the ocean. Since then, guests and staff of the hotel claim to have noticed strange breezes, ghostly noises and the pale figure of a young lady walking in a black lace dress...











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