TripAdvisor has named Admiral Fell Inn, a lovely historic hotel in Fells Point, one of the Top 10 Haunted Hotels in America.
Admiral Fell Inn was the only Maryland hotel to make the list of "rooms with a Boo!" TripAdvisor came up with the list by seeing which hotels had the greatest number of traveler comments referencing "ghosts" or "haunted" on TripAdvisor.com.
That makes sense. Admiral Fell Inn is a Historic Hotel of America and dates to the 1700s. Plus, it's in Fells Point, which certainly has more than a few ghosts - enough for a cottage industry of sorts. Baltimore Ghost Tours, formerly Fells Point Ghost Tours, offers haunted walking tours and pub crawls in October and November.
Admiral Fell Inn offers its own historic ghost tours of the seven buildings that make up the hotel. Throughout its past, the inn has served as a ship chandlery, a theater and a boarding house for sailors. And the company that owns it is Harbor Magic Hotels. Hmmm. Magic - as in the dark arts?
Not exactly, says Larry Noto, director of marketing for Harbor Magic. He says the hotel's spooky reputation is more about where it's located.
"It's all in the context of Fells Point and things that have happened in the neighborhood," Noto says about the hotel and its ghostly tours. "We really try to tell the story of Baltimore, and not just the hotel itself."
The tours, he says, are "all very innocent – it’s not like Amityville Horror. People aren’t running out of the hotel petrified."
On TripAdvisor.com, the hotel is ranked no. 3 of 73 hotels in the Baltimore area. Although there are some complaints, most of the comments are positive and I couldn't find anyone who had a truly horrifying stay.
Noto says part of the haunted feeling comes from the fact that the hotel is made up of seven buildings that are connected. "The hallways are narrow and winding. There are lots of nooks and crannies. And the second floor splits into two – you can go up or down," he says.
Noto says a few guests or staff members do occasionally hear noises.
"When [tropical storm] Isabel happened a few years ago, the hotel's [former] general manager would tell stories about hearing noises on the second floor, even though the hotel was empty. He said it almost sounded lilke a party was going on."
But let's not scare off the guests, he says, adding that if there are ghosts, they are friendly and accommodating. If you hear a noise, all you need to do is pick up the phone. "They respond to requests and calls to the front desk."
Each of the hotel's 80 rooms is named for a historic figure and as far as Noto knows, there are no rooms where anything particularly scary or gruesome has happened.
Well, not recently, anyway. About a decade ago, The Sun's Peter Hermann reported on the murder of a conventioneer, who was beaten to death at the inn. A hotel manager found the New Jersey man's body in his room - and there were no signs of forced entry. Police later arrested a Baltimore man who admitted to attacking and killing the guest because he thought gay men were "evil."
Now, that's scary.