Spooky San Francisco: Hotel Union Square

Is Room 514 of the historic inn haunted?

Hotel Union Square

ROOMS WITH BACK STORY: There are those guests, upon checking into a hotel, who will inquire about the dry-cleaning pick-up, the availability of Wifi, and whether room service includes all three meals or just breakfast delivery. Then there are those guests who just cut straight to the spooky chase: Is this hotel haunted, and, if so, where might I snoop around for the spook in question? It's a query most front desk employees have heard at one time or another, and most definitely at those properties that have gained fame, over the decades, as a gathering spot for guests who never left. California is a rather colorful cauldron of ghoulies that took up residency in various inns, and among the most famous of those spots? It's Hotel Union Square, in San Francisco. It's a location that couldn't be more in the middle of the hubbub if it tried -- it does, after all, have "Union Square" in its name -- and yet if you settle into one of the said-to-be-ghosty rooms, and you turn the lights out... a certain quiet may creep upon you, deliciously, if you're into that sort of thing.

AND MANY PEOPLE ARE: Hotels and ghosts go together so firmly that hotel ghost cable shows and tours have become a Thing, with a capital T. But you don't need to hop onto a tour to book a night at the boutique-cool Hotel Union Square. Rooms 514 and 207 are the ones the ghost-minded guests go for, in the hopes that the "lingering spirit" of 514 and a wraith with a fondness for opening and closing the bathroom door all night long (she's in 207) will make a creepy cameo. Whether you bed down for an active night -- fingers crossed -- in either room, the 101-year-old hotel could give you that autumn atmosphere you seek. But you can seek it in extra style: The Hotel Union Square's swanky contemporary interior pairs well with its early 20th-century bones and lines. But do the hotel's resident ghosts who live within admire the swankatude? Or are they too busy awaiting the next guest upon whom they'd like to reveal their ghostly charms? And was that the bathroom door, creaking just then? Thank goodness the hubbub of the cable cars and Market Street is just a few steps away, out in the sunshine and out of the ghosties' reach...

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