The 5 Most Haunted Hotels in San Francisco

Here's what the managers and owners have to say about the ghostly tales

October 31, 2023 6:46 am
Exterior of the Argonaut Hotel, one of San Francisco's most haunted hotels
Think you're brave enough to stay in some of San Francisco's most haunted hotels?
Argonaut Hotel

From large hotels to tiny B&Bs, the Bay Area has no shortage of haunted hotels. Whether or not you believe in the paranormal, it’s fun to read what some hotel guests have claimed they’ve heard from visitors who didn’t exactly check in. We’ve rounded up five of the spookiest spots to spend the night, with claims from Tripadvisor and responses from each hotel.  

Exterior of Argonaut Hotel
Argonaut Hotel

Argonaut Hotel

Fisherman’s Wharf

Karin E. wrote: “Great hotel BUT spooky experiences had by my son in a separate room and my husband in the room we were in. I didn’t sleep at all well but my husband heard children running in the corridor about 3 a.m., no one there. On researching this hotel it has a history of being haunted. Son completely freaked out!”

This review by Karin E. from London gets to the heart of the haunt for this four-star hotel: There have been other reports of disembodied footsteps and the feeling that beds moved for no reason.

Tony Roumph, area managing director for of Argonaut parent Noble House Hotels and Resorts, told us: “One of my favorite stories was a year or so before I began my tenure. We truly believe the guest is always right, even when it’s taken to extremes. A couple came down to the front desk looking flush with fear. They told the front desk agent they were just followed by a ghost and wanted to leave the hotel. Like any good person, the agent profusely apologized and removed all charges from their bill as a courtesy for the experience they had in our 100-plus-year-old building.”

495 Jefferson Street (map)

Chancellor Hotel

Union Square

Shaylee from Newcastle, Australia wrote: “I had read some articles online before our stay that the hotel is haunted, we had nothing happen in our room but my brother and sister in law said that their light turned on in the middle of the night all by itself! 🙂 If I went back to San Fran I would definitely stay here!”

If you’re looking for an experience like this one, you might want to try to get a room on an upper floor: “We’ve been hearing of strange occurrences for years on our 13th and 15th floors,” the hotel’s general manager, Wes Tyler, told us. “A paranormal phenomenon investigator that has been on Ghost Hunters stayed with us and said, ‘It did not disappoint — I felt a number of spirits there.’” 

433 Powell Street (map)

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Are you brave enough to stay at the hotel from “The Shining”?
Exterior of Chateau Tivoli
Chateau Tivoli

Chateau Tivoli Bed & Breakfast

Alamo Square

Says TripGirlNW: “The Chateau Tivoli is one of the best B&Bs I’ve ever stayed in — the history of the building with its ‘ghost’ stories should be the icing on the cake!”

Any building over 100 years old with ties to the theater is bound to attract some ghosts, or at least stories of ghosts. “Built in 1892 Victorian San Francisco, the Chateau Tivoli Bed & Breakfast has hosted some of the greatest performers of the early 1900s, thanks to the mansion’s second owner, Mrs. Ernestine Kreling of San Francisco’s Tivoli Opera House,” innkeeper A.J. told us. “Is the Chateau Tivoli haunted? With suites dedicated to these icons of art and music — performers like Isadora Duncan, who danced on tables at Champagne parties — it’s a wonder no guest has caught any ghostly specters on camera partying in the halls of this Victorian mansion.” A wonder, indeed.

1057 Steiner Street (map)

Claremont Club & Spa


Says John Cline from Mexico City: “I love going to old Shining places like this. You walk through cold spots and wonder, ‘Huh, who could that have been?’”

The Claremont leans into its ghostly reports, with a regular haunted history tour. “It is said that ghosts haunt where they were happiest,” Michelle Heston, director of public relations for the Claremont, told us. “When the evenings are still and the fog rolls in from the Bay, a hauntingly beautiful woman has been seen strolling the hallways of the resort in period dress. Mrs. Thornburg, whose husband originally built the White Castle, [as the hotel was originally known], is said to keep watch over her beloved landmark.”

41 Tunnel Road, Berkeley (map)

Noe’s Nest Bed and Breakfast 

Noe Valley

Says Ezis from Latvia: “This guest house is not for people who love standard and sanitized hotels, it is in an old house full of personal items. Some people would call it weird.” 

That weirdness includes a ghost! A ghost with an identifiable scent. Run for the last 30 years by Sheila Ash, the 130-plus-year-old Victorian is also full of mementos, antiques, art and S.F. history. “Noe’s Nest has a friendly ghost,” Ash told us. “She shakes like an earthquake, smells like jasmine and creaks when climbing the steps.” 

1257 Guerrero Street (map)


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