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Halloween hauntings wake up hotel ghost hunters

Spooky marketing: How the presence of ghosts can become an accommodation selling point for travellers eager to experience a scary spectre

Australian opera diva Dame Nellie Melba was the world’s biggest singing star in the early years of the 20th century and she had a lasting presence in more ways than one.

At the height of her global fame, Melba was a regular guest at Melbourne’s Hotel Windsor, just down the road from her childhood home in Richmond. The grand accommodation palace still has a wonderful suite named in Melba’s honour.

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Some guests claim they can still hear echoes of the feted soprano in the hotel corridors, and that if you’re lucky you might even get a free ghostly concert around Halloween.

Rumours are there is also the ghost of a teenage boy wandering along the long hallway of the first floor guarding Melba’s room.

I can’t vouch for this though. In the times I’ve been to the Windsor I’ve only experienced lavish accommodation and first-class service, but if you go looking for other attractions out of this world, who knows what you might find.

Dame Nellie Melba, National Library of Australia
Rotary Photo, circa 1907

The Windsor is one of many Australian hotels whose image seems only to be enhanced by eerie arrivals from the dearly departed.

The presence of spooky spectres has become an accommodation selling point as some travellers apparently are eager to welcome ghostly guests into their rooms.

Sydney’s Q Station is the site of the old North Head Quarantine Station.

It was pandemic accommodation 150 years before COVID when ship passengers suspected to be carrying contagious diseases had to wait until approved for entry.

 Many died waiting and Q Station now runs ghost tours after the sun goes down and a pall is cast over the old stone buildings and gravestones.

Q Station is set in what is now National Park beside Sydney Harbour and there is a range of accommodation options, from the old officers’ quarters to cottages and hotel rooms.  It is only 30 minutes from the Sydney CBD and a million miles from care – unless you believe in ghosts. If so inclined you might have your pants scared off while staying there.

Fan of the movie, The Shining? For guests who seek a spooky hotel experience

The Russell Hotel, in Sydney’s historic Rocks area, is said to be home to a permanent guest, a ghostly sailor whose invisible footsteps make floorboards creak and the skin crawl.

Legend has it that he was murdered by a sex worker in Room 8.

Photo by Ashwini Chaudhary(Monty) on Unsplash

The old Monte Cristo mansion in Junee, NSW, gleefully promotes itself as ‘Australia’s Most Haunted Homestead’ and offers dinner, a ghost tour, and bed and breakfast for $195 per person.

The North Kapunda Hotel, close to South Australia’s Barossa wine region, was once the scene of several grisly murders when the area was home to copper mines. Some of the victims are said to still come calling from time to time.

So too at the Royal Hotel at Seymour, north of Melbourne, a popular pub which in previous lives was a courtroom and a morgue.

The Hotel Kurrajong in Canberra is rumoured to have at least one prominent guest who checked out of this world 71 years ago but keeps on coming back.

In 1951 Australia’s Labor Prime Minister, Ben Chiefly died from a heart attack in the Kurrajong’s room 214, but some say you can occasionally still see him wandering about the place in a grey suit with his trademark pipe in hand.

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