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Ghost Stories of The Hotel Colorado

The Hotel Colorado is a Glenwood Springs icon. It opened for business in 1893, just eight years after the town itself was incorporated, to attract the wealthy and elite to the wild frontier mining town that was Glenwood Springs.

The hotel was styled after the luxurious resorts of Italy, complete with a European-style spa, tennis courts, a Victorian garden, a bird sanctuary, a 185-foot fountain of water, and an indoor waterfall.

But there’s more to this impressive hotel that meets the eye. Some say that the Ute Indians, when they were displaced from the land in 1880, put a curse on the land where the hotel now stands. Some say that the ghosts of guests who have died in the hotel over the years still roam the halls. In any case, the history of the haunted hotel is filled with stories that defy a natural explanation.

The Hotel Basement
The hotel’s basement has played host to its fair share of surprising phenomena over the years. To enthusiasts of the supernatural, these stories are hardly surprising — the hotel is very old, and the basement even served as the morgue when the hotel was a naval hospital during World War II.

In 1993, a houseman named Dave was doing his nightly rounds in the basement when he saw an old woman peering into the basement window with her hands cupped around her face. The window well was quite deep, and usually required a ladder to get into, so Dave was concerned that she might have fallen in and hurt herself. He walked across the room to turn on the light switch, but when he turned back to the window, she was gone.

At another time, a security guard named Richard was conducting a nighttime tour for six people. The group was standing outside the office of the executive housekeeper when they heard two women talking and a typewriter clicking in the next room. When they looked in the room, there was no one there — stranger still, there’s no record of a typewriter ever being kept there.

The Main Floor
On the main floor, a notable ghost named Bobbie dates back to at least WWII. The story goes that she was a nurse at the naval hospital during the war, and was allegedly killed by a jealous lover and officer stationed at the hotel. The rumor is, they were shipped out to cover up their crimes, but the story was leaked by local hospital workers.

Over the years, Bobbie has surfaced in a number of stories around the hotel, especially associated with the dining room around lunch and dinner. Guests and hotel workers have reported smelling a specific perfume trailing from Bobbie’s favorite table to the buffet line and back — some guests have identified it as “Gardenia,” a perfume from the 30s and 40s that’s no longer in production.

But perhaps the most famous ghost that roams the Hotel Colorado goes by the name “Walter.” Walter is affectionately named after Walter Devereaux, the hotel’s founder, and has been seen on numerous occasions around the halls and lobby during the evening.

Walter’s presence is marked by the unmistakable smell of cigar smoke, even though the Hotel hasn’t allowed smoking inside for years. But is “Walter” actually the ghost of someone else? Kathy Rippy Fleming, who has written extensively about the supernatural oddities around the hotel, thinks that Walter is actually the spirit of E.E. Lucas.

Lucas came to work at the hotel as its controller in 1893 and took over as general manager in 1905, just before Teddy Roosevelt’s visit. He bought the hotel in 1916 and kept it until his death in 1927, at which point his wife took over ownership until 1938. Might Lucas have had more of a vested interest in seeing how his beloved hotel turned out?

The Rooms Upstairs
It’s not just the common areas of the hotel that have been shrouded in mystery — some of the rooms themselves have hosted strange sightings as well. In 1993, a man and his wife were staying in room #661, the larger of the two tower suites. The man was feeling ill, so his wife opened the windows, thinking the fresh air would do him good. When she left the room, another woman came in and closed the windows, saying that he needed to stay out of the draft.

When the man’s wife came back, she re-opened the windows, and the process repeated for the entire three days the man was ill. But this couple aren’t the only ones to have noticed the woman in #661. Many guests over the years have reported seeing a woman standing over their bed in that room, usually wearing a floral dress.

Mystery or History?
There’s no doubt that the Hotel has played host to a series of colorful characters over the years — two presidents, the “unsinkable” Molly Brown, and a string of notorious gangsters have all stayed in the hotel at one time or another. Between the hotel’s long and varied past and its stint as a naval hospital, there’s no doubt that guests and soldiers alike have passed on within its walls — but have some of them lingered to this day?

We’re not here to tell you whether these stories bear any truth, just to pass them on. Maybe you think they’re simply entertaining anecdotes, brought on by the strange noises and sights you’d expect in a century-old building. Or maybe you think there’s more to it than that. Either way, you’ll have to come see for yourself.

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