Halloween is nigh. Travelers, or curious passersby, who wish to indulge a little in four tales of slight superstition and ample apparition without compromising style and opulence should hear these stories. Long and intricate histories have given charms and colours, instead of spook and surprise as other places do, to the luxury lodgings below. Each also have plenty noteworthy and prize-winning rooms, services and amenities. Read on and plan your visit anytime—Casper won't go anywhere soon!
At the 127-year-old The Fairmont Banff Springs in Alberta, Canada, Sam is the most helpful bellman of all. He frequently assists guests regarding the hotel's services, but don't be surprised if he disappears into thin air when a question is asked. Also, be careful not to trip upon descending the marvelous marble staircase when you see a pale bride rushes by, only to vanish not long after. She tripped on her gown's long train and fell to death on the grand staircase long ago, though now the bride can be found dancing in the ballroom and commemorated on stamps and coins.
This luxurious hotel offers special Halloween packages including heritage ghost tours or tickets to the Haunted Halloween Gala this weekend. If winter chill is preferable than the ghostly chill, then head out to the Canadian Rockies' slopes for a snowy experience such as heli-skiing. Additionally, visiting the mirror-like Lake Louise is a must whenever weather permits. Seven delicious dining options, panoramic golf course and the award-winning Willow Stream Spa featuring mineral pools are just a few other amenities offered.
Moving on to the real castle, there is the Dragsholm Slot, circa 1215, in Denmark that comes complete with a moat and an expansive view of green rolling hills—plus the ghost of James Hepburn, the fourth Earl of Bothwell, occasionally riding through the courtyard. As the third and final husband to Mary, Queen of Scots, the earl was a runaway caught for alleged murders and kidnapping. Now refurbished and modernised, the hotel is a luxurious destination famed for prize-winning restaurants with superb, seasonal Scandinavian dishes made from locally-sourced ingredients.
The unique Odsherred geo-park, first in Denmark to be recognised by UNESCO, surrounding Dragsholm is an ancient glacial landscape steeped in history as a result from reclaiming the Lammefjord. Activities range from medieval to modern pastimes such as horse riding, mountain biking, clay-pigeon shooting, golfing, herb and mushroom picking, wine tasting and more. Dragsholm also have special events or personally-made itinerary replete with traditional Danish touches available for Christmas, New Year and other celebrations complete with fireworks.
The Taj Mahal Palace near Arabian Sea in Mumbai is truly a bespoke hotel with quality services that even one of the head architects couldn't bear to leave. Jamsetji Tata, the father figure in India's industry, assigned two architects to build a hotel worthy for Mumbai. The head architect passed on while construction was still going on, so W. A. Chambers took over. When the hotel opened in 1903, however, the perfectionist Chambers was not pleased; reportedly, he killed himself in the hotel the next day. Now he is sometimes seen making rounds around the beautiful corridors at night to check that everything is in order.
Indeed, the hotel is well-run and has won many prizes and compliments from the world's dignitaries, personalities and VVIPs. Outside its plush rooms, there are facilities such as the Taj Art Gallery that features masterpieces from both Indian and international artists; the Jiva Spa with a complete range of spa services, purification treatments, yoga and meditation sessions, fitness centre and swimming pool; tailored activities and personal butlers; scrumptious international food choices from all around the world, and many more.
This 103-year-old historic landmark, The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans, is actually more about ritzy stays in the Crescent City—even the ghosts inside are the rare sights of benign, bespoke beings. One is an older gentleman in suits sometimes seen quietly reading in The Club level's library, while the other are two young girls chasing each other down the hallway. Travelers would have to roam the famous Lafayette Cemetery or Saint Louis Cemetery, among other popular haunts included in any ghost tours, to find more otherworldly residents.
For music and parties, the House of Blues and Saenger Theatre is around the corner. Plus, authentic Cajun cuisine are in this French Quarter area—fresh, hand-shucked oysters and powdery beignets, anyone? After roaming around, enjoy the city's largest spa in the Ritz-Carlton that blends exotic ingredients in modern treatments available from hair to toe for both men and women. Its signature packages include the full-body voodoo-themed treatment, body and face polish using southern citrus, and couple massages with benefits from coffee and chocolate products.
Photo courtesies of respective establishments