New Orleans is a city with a rich and complex history — and a reputation for being one of the most haunted cities in America.

New Orleans was founded in 1718 by the French explorer Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, who named it “Nouvelle-Orléans” in honor of the French regent, Philippe II, Duke of Orléans. Its location at the mouth of the Mississippi River made it a great location for both trade and exploring the rest of North America’s interior. Naturally, it started as a French colony, but then became Spanish, then went back to France, then became part of the US in the 1803 Louisiana Purchase.

One of the reasons that New Orleans is known for its haunted reputation is due to its unfortunate history of devastating disasters, including floods, hurricanes, fires, and epidemics. In 1722, a yellow fever epidemic swept through the city, killing hundreds of people, and the Great New Orleans Fire of 1788 destroyed nearly the entire city.

New Orleans also has a rich history of voodoo and mysticism, much of which was brought over by enslaved people from the Caribbean and West Africa, which contributes to the city’s perception of being haunted — as do the many above-ground cemeteries, necessary due to the city’s low elevation and tendency to flood. When you visit, you’re sure to hear about Marie Laveau, a legendary voodoo priestess. She was a key figure in the city’s history and is said to roam more than a few haunted hotels in New Orleans.

If you want to maximize your chances for an otherworldly sighting in the Big Easy, here are seven of the best haunted hotels to consider for a quirky, fun, and sometimes luxurious experience you can only have in New Orleans.

Traveling to New Orleans? Check out Matador’s lodging and activity guides to the city:

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The haunted hotels in New Orleans are ordered below by their lowest nightly room rate, so scroll to the bottom if you’re looking for high-end stays.

Hotel Villa Convento

The Hotel Villa Convento certainly isn’t the fanciest hotel in the city, but it may be one of the most haunted hotels in New Orleans. That’s likely because it used to be a brothel, so quite a few activities went on in the hotel that likely weren’t quite above board. It’s a small hotel, with just 25 rooms in a former townhouse built in the 1880s. And while it’s not five-star, it’s comfortably three-star, with historical details and comfortable, modern additions like fast Wi-Fi, new mattresses, and an elevator.

The hotel is rumored to have almost too many ghosts to list, including the ghost of a former madame and a man who died in (and still lives in) room 209. Even if you don’t stay at the hotel, you can visit it on a ghost tour of the French Quarter. But it’s worth a stay if you like cute, historical, and unique hotels.

Rates from: $102/night

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Andrew Jackson Hotel

The Andrew Jackson Hotel describes itself as being “infused with American history, Creole culture and quite possibly the spirit of a ghost or two,” and that seems like a fairly apt description. The hotel was built in 1890 and is on the US National Registry of Historic Places, but the site was busy long before 1890. In 1792, an orphanage was built on the site, and several of the children died in the massive New Orleans fire of 1794.

Supposedly, the boys who died still haunt the hotel, and more than a few guests and staff members have also reported seeing the orphanage’s caretaker walking in and out of the rooms, still trying to check on his wards more than 200 years later. Those are just a few of many spooky sightings reported in the French Quarter hotel, but that’s hardly a complete list.

Aside from being one of the most well-known haunted hotels in the Big Easy, it’s also an excellent place to stay if you want to be very close to Bourbon Street while still staying in a historic building. The rooms are renovated and modern and bear a slight resemblance to bedrooms in the White House — perhaps a nod to the hotel’s namesake, America’s seventh president.

Rates from: $142/night

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Hotel St. Marie

The Hotel St. Marie is a historic hotel in the French Quarter with a long and fascinating history dating to the mid-19th century. It was the site of several significant events, eventually serving as a hospital during the Civil War and a gathering place for jazz musicians during the early 20th century. Unfortunately, it was also the site of a brutal murder in the 1940s, when a young woman was killed in her room.

The Hotel St. Marie is rumored to be haunted by several ghosts, including the spirit of the young woman killed in the 1940s. Many guests and staff members have reported seeing her ghost or feeling her presence in the hotel.

Today, it’s a mid-priced and smaller hotel in the historic part of the city, notable for its historical details and large rooms. If you want to be near the best attractions in New Orleans for under $150 a night, it’s a perfect pick.

Rates from: $149/night

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Le Pavillon Hotel

In terms of location, Le Pavillon Hotel is a great pick if you want the option of being out on the town but also want to be out of the way enough that you can sleep without hearing the sounds of drunk revelers until 2 AM. The Pavillon Hotel is about a 15-minute walk from Bourbon Street, so you can hit the bars and still make it back in time for a reasonable amount of sleep. And given the Pavillon Hotel’s high-end and elegant rooms, getting a good night’s sleep shouldn’t be hard.

Unless, that is, you’re visited by one of the more than 100 ghosts said to lurk in the hotel’s walls. It’s rumored to be the most haunted hotel in New Orleans. The hotel was built in 1907, but the hauntings started before that. According to, there’s a spirit of a girl who was killed on the road in front of the hotel’s location; she’s primarily in room 930. But even if you don’t book 930, plenty of ghosts roam the entire property. That includes the ghosts of a dashing couple from 1920s, said to look like a modern-day couple headed to a flapper-themed party.

This historic hotel is known for its opulent decor and luxurious amenities. It is also rumored to be haunted by the ghost of a young girl who roams the halls and occasionally appears in guests’ rooms.

Rates from: $149/night

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Omni Royal Orleans Hotel

The Omni Royal Orleans Hotel has been a fixture in the French Quarter since the 19th century and is believed to be haunted by several ghosts, including a woman in white who haunts the hotel’s rooftop pool. The hotel opened in 1843, but by the 1860s, it was serving as a military hospital for Union soldiers. After that, ownership passed through several hands before becoming an Omni. And although it’s technically a chain hotel, it’s one of the most unique Omni properties in the US and on the US Registry of Historic Places.

If you’re undecided on whether you want to sleep in one of the haunted hotels in New Orleans, this may be a good pick for you, as the most frequently spotted spirit is, apparently, rather kind. Most guests who have encountered the supposedly female spirit say it seems like she’s checking on them while they sleep, trying to tuck them in and ensure they have a pleasant stay.

Ghost aside, the hotel has high-end amenities like a rooftop bar and pool, an on-site activity booking desk, and a highly-rated historic dining room, plus rooms with private balconies overlooking the French Quarter.

Rates from: $157/night

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Hotel Monteleone

Today, the Hotel Monteleone is one of the most luxurious hotels in New Orleans and known for its Carousel Lounge, anchored by a vintage Merry-go-Round. But dive a little deeper, and you’ll see it’s also one of the most haunted hotels in New Orleans.

Per the hotel, a group from the International Society of Paranormal Research found more than a dozen spirits inside the hotel, including the spirit of a young boy named Maurice. He’s said to have died in the hotel in the 1800s; supposedly, his parents also haunt the hotel in search of him. Other paranormal activities at this haunted New Orleans hotel include cold spots, elevators that move on their own, a door that opens without explanation, and objects moving on their own.

While there’s no guarantee of a ghost sighting at Hotel Monteleone, what is guaranteed is a high-end NoLA stay. The historic hotel is a block from the French Quarter and has elegant rooms and suites, a gorgeous outdoor pool, and top-notch staff that can arrange activities in the city for guests.

Rates from: $199/night

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Bourbon Orleans Hotel

The Bourbon Orleans Hotel in New Orleans is believed to be haunted by several ghosts. The hotel was built in 1806 as the Théâtre d’Orléans (New Orleans theater), but it didn’t open until 1815, and then burned down less than a year later in 1816. In the 1880s, it became a convent, and later became an orphanage in the 1960s. Today, it’s a high-end, full-service hotel, but those centuries of having various people come and go through the halls have led to more than a few spooky legends. It is said to be one of the most haunted hotels in New Orleans, and the hotel even hosts ghost tours.

Some of the reported ghostly activity at the Bourbon Orleans Hotel includes the sound of children playing in the hallways (primarily on the sixth floor), the apparition of a Confederate soldier (floors three and six), sightings of a woman in a wedding dress supposedly died on her wedding day, and a “lonely ghost dancer” in the ballroom. There have also been reports of unexplained noises, doors opening and closing on their own, and other paranormal phenomena.

Ghosts aside, the elegant hotel has suites and balcony rooms, a fun and lively hotel bar, a gorgeous lobby, and a large pool surrounded by historical architectural details. It’s smack in the middle of the French Quarter, so expect it to be pretty busy, especially during Jazz Fest.

Rates from: $199/night

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The best New Orleans ghost tours

haunted hotels in new orleans - voodoo shop front

Photo: f11photo/Shutterstock

If you’re not up for staying in one of the haunted hotels in New Orleans, you can still take a ghost tour to learn more about the city’s spooky past. Good options include a haunted pub crawl from Ghost City Ghost Tours, the “Dead of Night” historical cemetery tour from Gators and Ghost Tours, or the many options from Haunted History Tours, which include everything from a legends of jazz tour to a vampire tour to a voodoo tour.

If you’re more into factual history, you may want to consider a tour like a New Orleans History and Heritage Tour. And if you’d rather learn about ghosts and magic in the daytime, visit the Haunted Museum, the unique Museum of Death, or the small-but-fascinating New Orleans Voodoo Museum.

When is the best time to visit New Orleans?

haunted hotels in new orleans - streetcar downtown

Photos: f11photo/Shutterstock

The best time to visit New Orleans depends on several factors, such as the weather, festivals, budget, and tourist season. New Orleans has a subtropical climate, making it hot and humid during the summer months. So if you’re sensitive to heat, you may want to avoid visiting in July and August (which can also be rainy and have stormy weather). However, that’s also the off-season in the city, which means rooms and activities are cheaper and most attractions are less crowded.

Fall and spring are generally more comfortable, with mild temperatures and lower humidity. However, prices can go sky-high and hotels and bars can be packed to capacity during popular festivals like Mardi Gras (February) or the New Orleans Jazz Fest (May). When it comes to flight cost, there usually isn’t too much variety from month to month. But you may find it easier to book activities like ghost tours and dinner reservations if you avoid the most popular festival weekends.

Is New Orleans expensive?

haunted hotels in new orleans jackson square

There’s no cost to wander through gorgeous Jackson Square in New Orleans. Photo: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Great news for budget-conscious travelers: New Orleans is not an expensive city, at least by the standards of most US tourist cities. As long as you avoid Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest, you’ll likely be able to find three- and four-star rooms around $150 a night and five-star hotels priced under $200 a night. You’ll find plenty of bars with beers around $5, and you can almost always find a good meal for under $20. New Orleans also has plenty of inexpensive or free things to do, including pay-what-you-want walking tours of the French Quarter and complimentary tours of the Sazerac House, home of the famous Sazerac cocktail.