If you are looking for a haunted vacation, here
are 3 more suggestions for ghostly stays
by Michael O. Varhola
Michael O. Varhola is the author of Ghosthunting San Antonio, Austin, and Texas Hill Country, the latest addition to the America’s Haunted Roadtrip series.
St. Anthony Hotel Downtown San Antonio
300 E. Travis St., San Antonio, TX 78205
Three ambitious cattlemen, A. H. Jones, B. L. Naylor, and F. M. Swearingen, opened the St. Anthony Hotel in 1909 in anticipation of San Antonio becoming a tourist destination, and it quickly became a popular place for visitors to stay. It is located near San Antonio’s River Walk and the Alamo.
“Not only was it the first luxury hotel in the city, but in the early days it was also the only inn with air-conditioning, a drive-up registration desk, and sophisticated automatic doors and lights,” the official history of the hotel states. “In fact, St. Anthony was so technologically savvy that it was considered among the world’s most modern hotels. By 1915, the hotel charged guests $1.50 per night, and booming revenues allowed the owners to double capacity to 430 guestrooms.”
Many rich and famous Americans were among the visitors to the St. Anthony, its restaurant, and its bar. They have included Fred Astaire, Lucille Ball, George Clooney, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Judy Garland, Greer Garson, Rock Hudson, Betty Hutton, General Douglas McArthur, Matthew McConaughey, Demi Moore, Gregory Peck, Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco, Mickey Rooney, Eleanor Roosevelt, John Wayne, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maria Shriver, Patrick Swayze, and Bruce Willis.
Paranormal phenomena people have experienced at the St. Anthony Hotel include seeing strange shadowy outlines, feeling unseen presences, seeing doors opening and closing for no apparent reason, and hearing disembodied footsteps following behind them.
Hotel Indigo San Antonio Downtown-Alamo Downtown San Antonio
105 N. Alamo St., San Antonio, TX 78205 (On website search for San Antonio locations and select “Hotel Indigo Downtown Alamo”; do not confuse with Hotel Indigo San Antonio–Riverwalk).
This historic hotel is located at what had once been the northwest corner of the Alamo compound, site of the bloodiest fighting when Mexican troops overran the mission and slaughtered its Texian defenders on March 6, 1836. Garrison commander William B. Travis was among those who fell here (the front desk being located at the spot where he was believed to have died), and it was so packed with mangled bodies in the aftermath of the battle that the ground was said to have been saturated with blood.
In the years after the battle, Samuel Maverick, who left the besieged Alamo four days before it fell to serve as a delegate to the convention for Texas independence, built his home at this location. Then, in 1909, Southern Pacific Railroad executive Colonel C. C. Gibbs built the first skyscraper in San Antonio on the site. The Gibbs building still stands today and houses the beautiful Hotel Indigo San Antonio Downtown-Alamo.
Paranormal activity that people claim to experience at the hotel includes hearing the sounds of gun and cannon fire and the agonized wailing of wounded and dying men; seeing spectral figures moving a cannon along the adjacent streets; hearing strange voices and disembodied footsteps, particularly in the basement; seeing people getting on and off the historic and now out-of-service elevators; and witnessing figures in 19th-century clothing walking down the halls, entering rooms, and then disappearing.
Marriott Plaza San Antonio Downtown San Antonio
555 S. Alamo St., San Antonio, TX 78205
This downtown hotel is in close proximity to the Alamo, has a number of historic buildings on its grounds, and—like many old sites with storied pasts—has many ghosts and inexplicable phenomena associated with it. Reported activity ranges from things like lights turning on and off on their own to drawers at the front desk being opened as if by an unseen hand, to a specter who has haunted the hotel for many years and come to be known as the Lady. She is believed to be a widow who lived in one of the historic buildings now incorporated into the hotel and to have hanged herself and her cat in what is now the exercise facility, formerly her parlor. People have reported seeing her throughout the site, especially on the upper levels of the main building, in the employee-only areas in the basement, or standing among the trees in the garden, usually in a long white dress or gown, holding her cat and stroking its head.
For more ghostly tales, check out Michael O. Varhola’s latest book Ghosthunting San Antonio, Austin, and Texas Hill.