This is the first post in a three-part feature on the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
I have spent two nights in America’s Most Haunted Hotel. Spoiler alert: nothing happened.
In Eureka Springs, Arkansas, the Crescent Hotel claims to be America’s most haunted, and maybe it is. Even if ghosts do not exist, even if the hotel is devoid of any actual paranormal activity, even if the hotel did not have a dark past – this place is creepy.
So of course, people flock to it to take ghost tours, what horror plays, take photos of empty hallways and spend a sleepless night wondering what that noise was.
When we went to stay at the hotel last fall, my grandmother gave me an unexpected personal connection to the hotel: my great grandfather worked there hauling water up the hill from the springs below. That didn’t seem all that interesting to me until I got to the hotel and learned two things: (1) the hotel (as seen in the picture above) is on an enormous hill that would be difficult to scale carrying water, and (2) this building has a dark and twisted past.
Walking in and checking into the place made one thing clear: this was not a Holiday Inn.
The lobby was dark wood, velvet and dripping with old-world charm. Everything a modern hotel does, this hotel does not. You won’t find a key card. We received keys. Keys! I haven’t held a metal hotel key since 1995!
Most hotels would control pests with exterminators, but at the Crescent, the pest control is managed by Caspar and Jasper – two hotel cats that freely roam the lobby and halls. (Oh yeah, you might need to bring your Allegra.)
Most hotels would try to make you as calm, comfortable and relaxed as possible. This place works hard to scare the crap out of you. First, they don’t shy away from their reputation as America’s Most Haunted Hotel; they embrace it. They invite paranormal investigators to document phenomena. They keep scrapbooks of creepy photos that guests have taken. They host horror plays at night. They tour dozens of people through the halls with period costumed guides telling stories of orbs, apparitions and disembodied voices.
Despite the efforts at horror, the place is quite cozy. It is a beautiful hotel with surprisingly spacious, stylish and comfortable rooms. The only things going bump in the night were my own nightmares and other guests trying to chase theirs.
We saw several wedding groups during our two days at the Crescent. It’s a beautiful place for them. The basement has a stylish spa, and the banquet hall features a pretty tasty brunch selection.
The top of the hotel features the Sky Bar, which overlooks historic downtown Eureka Springs. When the weather is nice, you can sit out on the deck, overlooking the spring-filled valley, while drinking a cocktail or two. Legend has it, if you catch the right moment in the evening, you can even catch a spirit throwing herself off the deck each night. But that’s another story for another time…