The Haunted Hotel Colorado

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Credit: James Blatter

Credit: James Blatter

A visit to Glenwood Springs, CO, can be filled with many amazing sights. There’s the beautiful Hanging Lake out in Glenwood Canyon that sits up high in the hills. You are staying in the gateway to Aspen and all the sights and wonders of that community. There are abandoned mines to explore, world famous hot springs to enjoy, and plenty of public lands to explore at your leisure. For many, it’s a typical vacation spot, out in the high desert of Colorado, just beyond the summits of the great Rocky Mountains.

What makes a trip to Glenwood Springs a bizarre tourist attraction is a decision to stay at the Hotel Colorado during your trip. You see, this hotel is haunted.

Death Is In the History of This Grand Old Hotel

Many people are shocked to see the snarling bobcat that is mounted over the elevator at the Hotel Colorado, but that might be the tamest surprise of them all. The ovens in the basement of the hotel were reportedly used as a crematorium for the military personnel that died in Glenwood Springs during World War II – the Navy used it as a sort of hospital/recovery area for injured sailors. The story is that there were so many bones left over from the incomplete crematory process that the hotel’s walls and foundation are lined with skeletons.

It’s not the spirits of fallen sailors that lines the halls with hauntings and supernatural phenomenon, however, according to many people. The Ute Indians were chased out of the area by the initial settlers and the Hotel Colorado, built in 1893 for $850,000 and completed in just a couple years, it would be the equivalent of spending $23 million in today’s money. People believe the Ute want people to still leave the area so that their decendants can come back and claim the land.

So what are the typical hauntings one can experience at the Hotel Colorado? Drinks will spill over by themselves, toilets flush by themselves without automation features installed, chandeliers will spin, and screams can be heard in the hotel’s radiators. Sometimes, late at night when it is very quiet, you can also hear footsteps coming out of the basement, headed up the Grand Staircase of the hotel.

There Are Apparitions At the Hotel Colorado Too

Though hauntings at the Hotel Colorado can happen at any time, the most common time to experience them is between 2am-4am. At these times, it is not uncommon to see a female apparition leaning over the sleeping bodies of male guests. A young girl dressed in Victorian-era clothing can also be seen playing with a ball and there is a male apparition that frequently appears on the fifth floor. The two suites in the bell towers of the hotel are also said to be frequently haunted.

Because the elevators move on their own from floor to floor sometimes without guests in them, it is also thought that there may be other hauntings that happen throughout the hotel as well. Make your way down to the lobby at this time and you’ll likely smell cigar smoke, even though no one has been there. The Devereaux Dining Room will likely have perfume coming from it and the dishes will likely be rattling… just for you.

The room with the highest levels of activity, however, are from the World War II days. As the story goes, a chamber maid at the hotel was caught in a love triangle and brutally murdered in one of the rooms. It was turned into a storage room because her screams were heard by guests staying in that room all night long.

The Hotel Colorado Contains a Lot of History Too

Because it was one of the most opulent hotels of its time, anyone traveling to the Western Slope of Colorado would often spend at least one night there. The Unsinkable Molly Brown led the early list of celebrities, while some even called the hotel the “Little White House of the West” because of the extended Presidential stays of Teddy Roosevelt and William Howard Taft. The legend of the teddy bear was even born at the Hotel Colorado, as the hotel’s maids reportedly gave Roosevelt a gift of a bear they had made themselves.

At the height of gangster activity in the 1920’s, several notorious gangsters stayed at the Hotel Colorado as well, most notably Al Capone. With prices starting around $110 per night, it’s easy for you to become part of the history of the Hotel Colorado too.

How Do You Get To the Hotel Colorado?

The Hotel Colorado is located just off of I-70, the main arterial highway between Denver, CO and I-15. If you are flying into Colorado, it is about a 90 minute drive from the Grand Junction airport or about a 3 hour drive from the Denver airport, depending on traffic. Suites may run as high as $675 per night, but as an extra bonus, you’ve got a better chance of being haunted by a ghost during the night!

The hotel offers a spa, a restaurant, a lounge, and a coffee and gift shop for your convenience. Activities in the area include whitewater rafting on the Colorado River, tours of Aspen, and wine tours in the Palisade valley near Grand Junction. The hot springs are separate from the hotel and are operated as a separate lodge, though an athletic facility, miniature golf, and other luxuries are available on an admission basis without a required stay.

If you’ve ever wanted to be haunted, the Hotel Colorado is the place to stay. The next time you’re headed to the Western Slope of Colorado, explore the hotel for yourself. You never know who… or what you might meet!

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