Modern-day comfort and a haunted history — Photo courtesy of The Marshall House
When Mary L. Marshall opened The Marshall House on Broughton Street in Savannah's busy shopping district in 1851, little did she know that she'd be launching a legacy which would carry on through generations, culminating in an award-winning hotel with a decidedly unique history.
Savannah's oldest hotel has had a checkered past, going from Mary's original hotel to a hospital for wounded Union soldiers during the Civil War, and later a volunteer fire department. It was shuttered for many years before making its way back to a full service hotel in 1999, landing a spot on the National Register of Historic Places and recipient of many rewards.
Today, the iconic property houses 68 welcoming rooms and suites with topnotch modern-day amenities and is one of the city's favorites, but, as you might expect of such a place, its past is said to haunt those who work – or stay – there.
Countless tales of scents, music, swaying lights, and apparitions of small children, crying babies and other eerie occurrences are regularly reported. The fourth floor seems to have the most paranormal activity – although creepy happenings have occurred throughout the building.
One guest described seeing a soldier accompanied by a small boy who admonished her to, "get out of my room." She didn't hesitate to leave, and quickly.
Others tell of being caressed while they slept, seeing visions of a dapper gentleman reading a book by a specific window, a lady dressed in white floating through the hallways and more. The sightings are endless and unexplained.
Despite the ghostly happenings, there is a kinder, gentler side to this genteel hostelry, which draws visitors back time and again. Many of the iconic hotel's original features remain untouched, including 19th-century doors, windows, moldings, staircases and railings. Guest rooms contain elements from the hotel's early days, among them antique clawfoot tubs and wrought-iron balconies. All offer Wi-Fi, wall-mounted flat-screen LCD TVs and premium mattresses.
Complimentary deluxe Continental breakfast, and a selection of wine and cheese (Sunday - Thursday) are additional "perks." The hotel's desirable location on Broughton Street in downtown Savannah offers easy access to numerous shops, restaurants and bars. One of the city's best restaurants, 45 Bistro, is located on the hotel's ground level.
While the Marshall House isn't planning any Halloween-specific events during October, there will be plenty of haunted happenings throughout Savannah. Ghost tours and haunted pub crawls can be arranged through the hotel concierge.