Unusual and Haunted Stays: Castles and a Jail

Stahleck Castle overlooking the Rhine

Stahleck Castle overlooking the Rhine

Was it a ghost that locked me in my room the night I stayed at the Stahleck Castle, a 12th century beauty  perched on a hill overlooking the Upper Middle Rhine Valley in Germany? Not likely. I was the only one staying in the several bed female dorm room, so probably a staff person peeked in, thought the room was empty, and locked the door.  Waking up and discovering that the door was locked from the outside did give me pause, however. But, after yelling to get attention, someone did let me out. Now I have a fun traveler’s story to tell–haunted or not.

Canopy bedroom at Hotel Castle Liebenstein

Canopy bedroom at Hotel Castle Liebenstein

Although the Stahleck Castle looks like it might have ghosts–think turrets, grey stone, and slate roof, that’s not its reputation. The hostel caters to a family-friendly crowd. In addition to the male and female multiple-bed dorm rooms, other options include rooms for one to four people.

This former castle, turned youth hostel, was one of my most memorable stays during the summer after I graduated from college. I remember the gorgeous views of the Rhine River and hanging out in one of the common rooms and the cafeteria with other backpackers when we weren’t exploring Bacharach, the small town where the castle is located.

I arrived in Bacharach on one of the boats that travel up the Rhine, a trip I recommend.  Room rates start at $27.24.

For a possibly haunted castle stay, try the Hotel Castle Liebenstein, another medieval beauty in this part of Germany. Built in the 13th century, this castle, now a privately owned hotel, is uniqueness meets history in the midst of the Upper Middle Rhine Valley. Situated above Kamp-Bornhofen, Hotel Castle Liebenstein is included in the wealth of castles and historic medieval era towns that makes the  Upper Middle Rhine Valley a UNESCO World Heritage site.

View from Canopy room window

View from Canopy room window

Fitting to the era of regalness it represents, Hotel Castle Liebenstein’s guest rooms are individually decorated with oriental rugs and period style furniture of rich toned wood. Canopy and four poster beds are part of the mix. Guest rooms with private baths range from double rooms to suites. Getting to some rooms involves an adventurous trip up a winding staircase.

While you wander the halls, keep an eye out for Baroness of Liebenstein, the original owner who is said to make appearances in a ghostly form.  

Rates range from 105- 245 Euros. Cash preferred.

Ghosts are also said to make appearances at the Hi-Ottawa Jail in Ottawa, Ontario. Built 150 years ago, this jail-turned-hostel promises an unusual stay. Some rooms are jail cells, for starters. The hostel’s Mugshots Pub adds in fun. Open to the public, the bar offers live music entertainment and a chance to hobnob with other guests.

A haunted stay in a jail hotel in Ottawa, Ontario

A haunted jail stay in Ottawa, Ontario

To find out about the jail’s history and ghost sightings, take the free tour offered daily at 11 a.m. The jail is supposedly one of Canada’s most haunted buildings, so stay alert.

A continental breakfast is included in the room rate and WiFi is also free. Rooms range from a 1 single bed cell to an 8-bed shared room. The double bed with kitchenette is the upscale way to spend the night at the Hi-Ottawa Jail. Rates $29 to $108 Canadian dollars.

Post courtesy of Jamie Rhein. Photos courtesy of each establishment.

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