San Antonio is certainly a place of rich historic value, but it is also considered by locals and visitors alike to be an area steeped in the supernatural. For all you lovers of ghosts and ghouls, let’s take a glimpse at four of the top haunted hotels in San Antonio.
The Menger Hotel
204 Alamo Plaza
The beautiful Menger Hotel had modest origins as a boarding house expansion when William A. Menger ordered its construction in 1858. Since its opening in 1859, it has grown to 316 rooms, become one of the most famous historic hotels in Texas, and gained the unofficial title of “most haunted hotel in Texas.” With guests that included Theodore Roosevelt and the Rough Riders, Oscar Wilde, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Babe Ruth, and more, many speculate that some of these guests never truly checked out.
Guests have reported seeing the ghosts of Sallie White, a murdered maid; Richard King, the founder of King Ranch who passed away while staying at the hotel; and even Teddy Roosevelt, who tries to recruit Rough Riders at the Menger Bar to this day. Registration with the Sisters Grimm Ghost Tours allows you to learn more about this hotel’s haunted history, complete with dinner and a walking tour of the spooky site.
The Emily Morgan Hotel
705 E Houston Street
Like many hotels, the Emily Morgan Hotel was not originally a hotel at all. It was constructed as a Medical Arts Center in 1924, and the “hotel” role did not come about until it was converted and opened to the public in 1984. It was named after Emily D. West, the inspiration for “The Yellow Rose of Texas” and an indentured servant with whom General Santa Anna was quite enamored – so much, in fact, that he was unprepared for any attacks from the Texans. From there, the Battle of San Jacinto commenced, and you know the rest.
As for the hotel’s haunted history, the Emily Morgan is supposedly one of the gathering places for the spirits of those who died during the Battle of the Alamo. Others like to believe that these otherworldly guests are the ghosts of former patients from the time that the building was a medical facility. Most reports supposedly are made about the 12th and 14th floors, where surgeries occurred and those without relatives were cremated. Repeatedly flickering lights are reported, televisions turn on and off by themselves, and guests have described a wandering woman who disappears without a trace.
The St. Anthony Hotel
300 E Travis Street
The St. Anthony was built in 1909 by A.H. Jones and B.L. Taylor as the epitome of glamour, and has seen its fair share of both celebrities and spirits. As one of the most luxurious places that Texas has to offer its guests, the St. Anthony has welcomed such individuals as Eleanor Roosevelt, Grace Kelly, Lucille Ball, George Clooney, Judy Garland, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Lyndon B. Johnson into its rooms.
Doors reportedly open and shut without prompt, and ghosts are seen sipping drinks and stepping into elevators. The most disturbing event is when the hotel saw the conclusion to a grisly tragedy that began at the nearby Gunter Hotel (see below). In the St. Anthony’s bar, aptly named Haunt, you’ll find an assortment of ghostly-titled cocktails, including the Emerick. Unfamiliar with the name? Continue to the Sheraton Gunter Hotel description to learn about this drink’s grisly origins.
The Sheraton Gunter Hotel
205 E Houston St
The Gunter Hotel officially opened in 1909 after Ludwig Mahncke and Lesher A. Trexler purchased the building from the Vance Brothers, and, perhaps out of a smart business decision, it was named after its investor. The original building, constructed in 1837, needed renovations after it was used by the military for quite some time, so new ownership and even newer steel innards made it grow to 12 floors by 1926.
Nothing happened that would make guests suspect any ghostly encounters… until 1965, that is. Two guests, a man and a woman, had checked into Room 636 just a few days earlier, and when an unlucky housekeeper entered their room to clean, she found a room splattered in blood and the same man from check-in escaping the room with a heavy bundle in his arms. The man, identified as Walter Emerick, took his own life at the nearby St. Anthony Hotel, but his female companion – and victim – was never found. To this day, guests are welcome to stay in Room 636, but be prepared for the chance that you’re visited by what many can only guess to be her ghost, unable to move on from where she was murdered.