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I'm not sure if this place should be on the website or not - although it's a beautiful old hotel, and a resort that's well worth a visit, for the life of me I can't find out if it's haunted or not. When my wife was making reservations there, the lady on the phone asked if there was any special reason for our visit (an anniversary, to visit the spa, etc). My wife told her that I was researching a book on ghosts, and that we were passing through Hot Springs. The lady said, "Oh, if you're looking for ghosts, I'll give you a room on the eleventh floor!"

When we arrived and were checking in, I asked the desk clerk about the ghost stories. Without missing a beat, she flatly said, "There aren't any ghosts here." I explained that the person doing the booking indicated that there were some stories, but she just said, "I've never heard any."

The accomodations were first-rate, the view was incredible, and we settled into room 1104 expecting nothing more than a relaxing stay... which is exactly what we had. They have a first-rate spa, with everything ranging from mineral baths to saunas to massages that will pamper and relax you like you wouldn't believe. In the afternoons, we'd sit out on their massive porch and watch the world go by.

While sitting on the porch one day, we asked our waiter about any ghosts in the hotel. He smiled and said, "Oh yes, I've heard that there are definitely ghosts here! I just started work here a week or so ago, but I'll ask the bartender for the details and fill you in when I bring your drinks." When he came back, he acted very aloof, as if he didn't want to have anything to do with us, and said, "Uh, there aren't any ghosts here." He sat our drinks down, then scuttled away. While we can't be sure, it certainly seemed like he'd been told not to talk to the guests about ghosts.

That evening we went down to the lobby where a full-scale party was in full swing. A band was playing, everyone was dancing, and we had a wonderful time. It was almost like stepping back into the 1930's for a party at the grand old hotel.

The two paintings on either side of the lobby/lounge/ballroom are jungle scenes, and there's a wonderful story about the artist who painted them, so when you visit there be sure to get one of the staff to tell you about them.

The cuisene at the hotel is also first-class. One of our favorite meals was the breakfast buffet - although it wasn't the cheapest meal on the trip, it was probably the best. Work it into your budget, because it is a feast fit for royalty.

We heard other stories about the hotel, including one about the famous mobster Al Capone staying there. One legend states that the gangster had a particular room that he frequented, and he had a few modifications made to it - including a trap door in the closet so that he could escape if some was at his door that he wanted to avoid. Supposedly the trap door led to a small exit by the elevator.

We left the hotel mesmerized by the stories of Al Capone, and still wondering about the ghost stories... but loving the old place. We knew that it was only a matter of a short time until we returned for another visit.

I started making inquires once I got back home, and I talked to several people who had stories on the subject. One of the most interesting that I heard was from a person who said:

"I was sitting at the bar talking to the bartender, and I asked the hotel's ghost stories. She said that she'd heard of a few things like that, and began to relate a few stories - what I noticed, though, was that her voice was very low, as if she was afraid that someone would hear. Whenever someone came by, she stopped talking and waited for them to leave. She told me that when she first started working there, a particular bottle of wine would continually jump off the bar, as if some unseen hand was knocking it off on purpose. She went on to say that many customers had seen this occur."

"Customers had also come up to the bar and told her stories of people in old fashioned clothes walking down the hall, or strolling through the lobby, and simply disappearing. The strangest thing, though, is that she said there were several rooms in the hotel that have been permanently locked, and neither visitors or staff are allowed to enter. Some have been permanently walled up."

I understand a business shying away from ghost stories, and for that reason I'll say that I have no evidence that there is any ghostly activity at the Arlington... just the things that you read above. When we return - and we definitely will - it won't be to find any spirits. It will be to enjoy the spa, the luxury, the food, and maybe another frosty beverage or two out on that huge porch that wraps around the building.

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UPDATE: I received an incredible email from a person who is very familiar with The Arlington, and because of a connection with it wanted to remain anonymous, who gave me a lot of great info about the hotel's ghost, such as:

  1. In the employee area of the hotel (down in the basement), there has been a little girl, about 4 years old, in a pink dress walking through the hall, giggling. She will walk back to the freight elevator, and once when I walked back to the elevator she was gone...
  2. If you stand outside in the street and look up at the two towers, you can sometimes see what looks like a woman in a wedding gown standing up there watching the night sky.
  3. On the seventh floor there has been a security guard who went into a room (I don't want to give out the specific room number) where he heard a noise. He looked through the room and then closed the door and locked it. He walked down the hall, and the came back through moments later to find the room's door open with the lights on and water running in the bath tub.
  4. In the dining room, there have been people in old-fashioned attire seen sitting at the tables and talking. When you look away and then look back, they are no longer there.
  5. On the fourth floor, we have seen Henry Tweedle, a bellman who has long sense passed away, walking through the hall, looking as if he is lost and confused.
  6. On the 11th floor, i have heard a man laughing in the elevator landing for the service elevators. Upon investigation there was no one there.
  7. I was walking through the seventh floor one night, and as I rounded the corner to the guest elevators I thought I felt someone tap me on the shoulder - when I turned there was no one there. There have been employees that say they've their hair pulled, or been pushed softly.
  8. In the men's locker room, in the basement, children have been heard laughing by myeslf as well as others.
  9. In the laundry room, a man wearing a black suit has been seen standing in the corner, and one of the laundry workers even reported that the man waved.

When I emailed this person back to ask about a story that I'd heard about a room that was never rented because of all the activity that takes place there. The reply was as follows:

About the room that is locked, there are a number of rooms that are no longer used. room 666 was changed to 667, because so many people would not stay there - they reported hearing many things in that room. There are other rooms in the hotel many do not know are there because they built in the side of the mountain, they have no electricity and security guards have reported hearing conversations and other things. It has been said that one of these rooms, if you open the door it will slam shut of its own accord.

Many thanks to the "Ghost in My Suitcase" reader who provided all the additional information!

UPDATE 2: Ghost-in-My-Suitcase fan Allyson Hancock emailed with the following info:

While I was looking for other stories on the Arlington after our stay there I happened upon your website.

Let me start with what occurred that caused me to look further. We had a stay much like yours at the Arlington. A wonderful room, service, and bathhouse treatment. When we were going to breakfast one morning we ended up on the elevator furthest to our left. And later I recalled it was the only time that elevator was available for us to use. We we were on the fifth floor going down to the lobby. The elevator went to the fourth floor, stopped.... No one there. Then we went to the sixth floor and a lady got on. This passenger was headed to the third floor (the bathhouse). The elevator went to the fourth floor again. Stopped, the doors opened completely, and held as if someone was getting on or off. We all had a laugh at it and wrote it off as the old elevator having some faults after all these years of use. Until the next morning.

We happened to ride the elevator with a desk clerk and a woman that was inquiring about the hotel being on "the haunted tour" they offer of downtown hot springs. The clerk said no and the lady persisted with "well is it haunted? Has anything happened here?" and the clerk points to her left and said "that elevator over there sometime it just go to the fourth floor on its own, I just figure mister Capone is taking a ride with me", she quickly got off the elevator and made sure to go the opposite direction of the curious lady. We enjoyed a wonderful time at the gangster museum where we learned Al Capone would rent the whole fourth floor.

Maybe it's just and old elevator with some kinks but it is fun to think may be we took a ride with Mr. Capone.


UPDATE 3: Ghost-in-My-Suitcase fan Alicia emailed with yet another update:

After having a weird experience in room 824 at the Arlington Hotel last night, I researched online to see if there is any info about this hotel being haunted, and found your website. It's not an exciting story, but I thought you might be interested: After watching the meteor shower out in the boonies, I got back to the hotel at around 3:00 a.m. I went to sleep at 3:50 and was awakened by something at 4:22--I felt that something was definitely right there, to the right of the bed, by the nightstand, and threw my blanket over the area. I had been sleeping, so I can't say what woke me up, but I definitely felt that something was there. I turned on my flashlight and looked all around, but couldn't see anything, and went back to sleep. It happened again about half an hour later. I was sure something was there, in that same area, and I bolted upright (don't know what woke me up) and turned on my flashlight and had a thorough look around, but didn't see anything. The hotel was silent, so it's not like anything else woke me up. It was after that second time that I started thinking that maybe it was a ghost. I have one more night there--I'll let you know if anything happens, but I was alone last night and my husband will be with me tonight, so that might change things.

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UPDATE 4: Another Ghost-in-My-Suitcase fan sent in another Arlington story:

Hello! I just spent the July 4th holiday weekend with my daughter, my sister and my niece at the Arlington Hotel in Hot Springs. I travel quite a bit for both personal and business purposes and very much enjoy staying in old, historic hotels (vs. run of the mill chains), for American history lessons, when available. I'm also a huge fan of all things paranormal. With that said, I did NO research on The Arlington prior to booking (due to my work schedule, we only booked on Tuesday, the day prior to our stay) but had been to Hot Springs before and was drawn to this hotel. We were unable to stay there the last time because we were traveling with a large dog but were sans pup this time. While we received less than mediocre service (which I will not get into this time and do not want to deter others from visiting because I'm sure it was a fluke) I would still go back. The history is rich, the building is beautiful, and the pool is amazing.

We stayed in room 576. Because my daughter is so young and uneasy when she's in a bed that's not her own, she woke a number of times each night. Every time she woke up I forced myself to turn away from the bathroom/door/closet area because I felt like we were being watched and I did not want to "see" anything. (While I enjoy hearing about paranormal experiences, I do not wish to have my own.) Other than the "feeling" of being watched, my only other weird experience happened in the vending/ice area. I live in Dallas now but lived in NYC for a number of years in an older building that had a "rubbage" shoot and service elevator. I went there daily and had no experiences. My niece, who LOVES staying in hotels, insisted on getting ice each night when we arrived back to the hotel. One night I went with her and let her scoop the ice. (They have the old auto block ice machines from which you scoop rather than the automated ones in most hotels) She loved it...and it took quite a bit of patience from me. I patiently passed the time holding the ice door up for her, looking around, noticing the fact (and loving) that an old cigarette machine had been converted into a vending machine, seeing the Wi-Fi router, power lines aplenty,running next to water, and the old laundry shoot. While she was finishing her last scoop, the freight elevator opened...but nobody was there. Again, I had this "feeling" that someone was there with us and scurried her out of the area. I didn't dare look back down that long hallway.

It's not much but I definitely feel like there are spirits present in the Arlington. Happy travels!

UPDATE 5: And another Arlington story:

My husband and I got in late to room 756. About ten minutes after he went to sleep I felt three tugs on the blanket at the end of the bed. A few seconds pass, another tug. Although it did not make sense that it would be my husband moving his legs, I put my legs over his to monitor his movement. Two more tugs... not my husband. Then I felt a weight at the end of the bed between us. I have cats and to me that is what it felt like. I swished my leg under it. I could feel the weight but it did not move until a few seconds later. It "walked" up between us. I was facing my husband. It stopped and was face to face with me for several seconds! The extremely strange thing is, although my heart felt as if it were going to beat out of my chest and I had the biggest goose bumps of my life, I was NOT scared!!! It then left its face to "face" position with me and was gone for a few seconds. Then two tugs, sitting between up again. It then walked (feeling like the weight of a cat) around the end of the bed on my legs. Again I AM NOT A BRAVE PERSON but I was not afraid. I even got out of bed to use the restroom during this! At one point I sat up looked in the mirror and whispered, "if you are here show me." I did not see her that night but the picture was taken the next afternoon. After looking at other experiences, I came across a story about someone seeing a lady running down the hall in a gold gown, taking her right long gaudy earring out... as you can see she is still wearing the left!

UPDATE 6: Another Ghost-in-My-Suitcase fan sent in another Arlington story:

In 2008 we went to the spa for a mineral bath and massage. My husband saw a very old man In one of the cubicles, he appeared to be in his 90's. When the masseuse started on my husbands massage, he mentioned that he was to be his "only customer" that day. My husband asked about the old gentleman he had seen, but he was no longer there... So strange...

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UPDATE 7: An Arlington story from another Ghost in My Suitcase reader:

Hello - I came upon your website and just had to write to you about the Arlington Hotel in Hot Springs, AR. I used to work there and I have great respect for the Hotel. Yes, it is true that employees are NOT allowed to talk to the guests about ghosts in the Hotel. However, I personally witnessed MANY strange occurrences during my time there... usually during the night shift. One of the desk drawers near where we worked would just open on its own, and it would be fully extended out, which was very noticeable. We would all comment that it had been closed! A mouse and keyboard were shoved off the back of the shelf at a desk while I was sitting there. One time a file fell off a desk and I got up to pick it up. When I turned around to go back to the desk, my jacket was laying on the floor that had been draped securely around the back of a chair. Another time a picture frame just slammed face down on a desk while I was on the phone there. Sometimes the other employee's frames would also fall when no one was even near them. One time I was on the phone and I felt tugs to the back of the chair that I was sitting in it. One of the most astonishing events was when an empty chair moved off a chair pad right in front of me!

Everything I have shared with you here is the truth - I was a little freaked out when I experienced my encounters at the Arlington!

UPDATE 8: And another Arlington story from another Ghost in My Suitcase reader:

My wife and I just stayed there this past weekend. We were originally in Room 525, and the room faced the street side and the Hot Springs Mountain Tower hiking trails. We got in late due to a flight delay. We had been up for a long time so we settled in for the night. There were some cleanliness issues with the room, so we decided to talk to the front desk the next day. We fell asleep and I was woken up around 9-10am to the loud sound of children laughing and playing. After a while I got up and strolled to the window (which when we got in, it was dark and I had no idea what was outside the window) when I got to the window, I fully expected to see an elementary school across the street. There wasn't anything, just the hiking trail and greenery. So I looked up and down the paths and nothing, but as soon as I got to the window the laughing and screaming (you know how kids get really excited and can not contain themselves). I went back to bed, and within a minute or so, the laughing and giggling started. Determined, I got up went to the window and looked out, nothing. Just an old couple walking the pathway and city landscapers blowing leaves off the sidewalk next to the trails. I again, looked, and looked down the road the best I could see and then the other way. Nothing. So I went back to bed, and shortly it started again. This time it woke up my wife. I said do you hear that? She said the Kids? I said yes (we don't have children nor traveled with any) I told her I thought we were next to an elementary school or something, she said no, it should be the nature park, (she picked out the room) and I said, well I have heard it twice and each time it stops after I get to the window. This time I stayed up and she got up. No other sounds heard, shortly after I went down to discuss the room condition, and we were upgraded to a Jr. Suite. on the 9th floor. Nothing odd in that room, really. Some banging from outside on the roof I guess but didn't see anyone. It was like a hitting of metal, one hit, Wham. then a break, then Wham! The room over looked part of the roof and a view of the pool, no workers were on the part of the roof I could see, I suspect that this was workers somewhere on the building working. The children's laughter and playing/screaming was not a single kid, it was more like a playground full of kids at least 10 if I would guess. Strange, but that's my experience. I thought I would share it with you.

UPDATE 9: Yet another Ghost in My Suitcase reader shares their Arlington story:

It has been several years but I have stayed at The Arlington in Hot Springs on three occasions. The first visit I was on the 11th floor. I had never heard previously that it was haunted but I have a very hard time sitting in the lobby. Though I never actually saw an apparition I would catch myself looking from one staircase to the other, rapidly, and always expected to see someone walking up or down the staircase in 1920's attire! The two nights we stayed on the 11th floor proved to be fairly sleepless for me. I would fall asleep only to be awaken by the sound of what seemed to be someone small, perhaps a child, running up and down the hall. I got out of bed several times and opened the door and no one was in the hallway.
In my subsequent two visits I was on different floors and did not have any problems sleeping through the nights, but I could only stay in the lobby or bar area for short amounts of time. Once again I would become aware that my eyes were darting back and forth to check the staircases just knowing that I was going to see my ghost, though I never did. I have to say it is haunted. My own theory is the ghosts are guests or employees that were at the hotel during the fire was that burned the original hotel, but who am I to say.
I love to visit the Arlington. Who can't put themselves back in time in that place or by visiting the old bath houses? But I can't say I want to stay on the 11th floor again!

UPDATE 10: While the hotel won't discuss their ghosts, a lot of people who stay there do. This one comes from Alaskan Traveler:

My husband and I were unable to do anything this year for our anniversary on May 1st because of his and my mother's health issues. So when we had a chance to join a group of friends for a meditation in Hot Springs at her new home, we took it. There were other folks already committed to staying at our hostess's home so we decided to go to the Arlington Hotel and enjoy the spa and ambiance.
The hotel itself was once magnificent but has fallen into a sad state of disrepair. It has character but is in dire need of some tender loving care and a makeover to bring back its former glory. In any case, we booked a room and were told it was on the 3rd floor but I asked if we couldn't be higher up on the 7th or 8th floors instead. They moved us to 732.
The beds were lumpy but really comfortable with great pillows and the a/c was set correctly for us and blew almost non-stop keeping the mugginess of the day at bay. There were two full-sized beds on the left as you entered with a table between them and on the right near the window was a secretary desk with a clunky wooden chair.
I had no problem getting comfortable in one bed and my husband was in the other after we'd come back from the hot tub outside on 7th floor. What an amazing view that was, and we were all alone up on the side of the mountain looking over the trees and pool area.
Once we were in bed I fell asleep quickly. However, I couldn't seem to stay asleep. I'd fall asleep then wake up sure it was hours later only to find it had been 17 or 20 minutes. I remember after the 3rd time I woke up thinking, "I wonder if something keeps waking me up? If this place is haunted..." But I shrugged it off as insomnia due to non-usual noises and went back to sleep. At 4:07 I woke up and looked again at the clock. Exasperated I sighed and told myself to go to sleep again. I rolled over towards the window, put both hands over my head and fell asleep.
I woke up some time later, unsure of what time it was, because the lamps outside on the street are lit all night long and even though I had the curtains pulled, the glow still shone so one couldn't tell if it was the rising sun or not. I heard water coming UP the wall, dead center under the air conditioner and thought, "Oh its just the pipes rattling as the water moves through them."
I've lived in some pretty old houses all over the country. I'm familiar with clanky pipes, radiator sighs, hisses and knocking that loose fixtures in the wall can cause. I don't spook easily and I don't jump to conclusions. Having decided that it was water, I started to go back to sleep but then thought, "Wait a minute, why is it running straight up and obviously from the sound of it from 3 floors below? That isn't normal. Usually the water runs horizontally or down pipes, not up, in my experience. I decided that I was not a plumber and who knew what might make such a noise in this old of a hotel. I closed my eyes and drifted off to sleep again.
Just as I felt myself nod off, I thought I heard my husband say "There's someone in our room." I opened my eyes and tried to roll over to face him and ask what he meant, but I couldn't move.
"Oh great," I thought, "I've got sleep paralysis. So this is what it feels like." Just about that time I saw a young 18-19 year old woman sitting at the desk. The desk wasn't the brown wooden clunky set that was in my room when I went to bed. It was a much daintier black painted desk with Queen Anne-like leg curves and a very dainty matching black chair with a rounded back and matching legs to the desk. The girl was sitting on the seat of the chair, her right leg extended in front of her on the floor and her left heel resting in the seat of the chair. She had both her arms wrapped around her left leg and her head cocked to the right looking at me. When I saw her she laughed aloud. Her voice was extremely melodious, reminding me of cut crystal clinking together. Very pleasant laugh. Her eyes were dark. Her hair was dark brown or black, short, curly and she wore a sort of hat that reminds me of bell boy hats only it was beaded with black glass beads that shown brightly and obviously weren't cheap. Her dress was like a V neck halter top type gown that tied or hooked behind her long, slender, pale white skinned neck. It too was heavily beaded with black glass like beads that shone with little dark rainbows when she moved and the light hit them. I took all this in very quickly and tried to move, but found I could not. I knew it was probably sleep paralysis and that I might be dreaming, but I was able to think all this, ask myself questions, try to move my body, tried multiple times to speak to my husband all to no avail. I decided that if it was sleep paralysis, I wasn't dreaming. Somehow I was seeing this young woman and hearing her.
She laughed when she realized I couldn't move I think. I asked who she was and she said "Babs! They call me Babs!" and laughed again. I remember thinking, "I wonder if Babs is short for Barbara?" and then I heard her voice say, "No, my real name is Diana."
At this point, I realized I wasn't afraid, though I certainly had every reason to be. I tried moving again, lowering my arms but they wouldn't move. I tried to turn my head and it wouldn't move. I tried to alert my husband but I couldn't make a sound. I was getting angry.
Just then she moved to the space between our beds, at my right side and started poking me with all four of her fingers in the side. It didn't hurt, but for a second I had a panicked thought that if she was a ghost maybe she was trying to get inside me. Just as fast I snapped at myself to stop being a scaredy cat. I managed to turn my head. I saw her leaning there next to me, poking me repeatedly with her hands. She was absolutely delighted in a way that a child would be. Her laugh was truly enchanting but I was getting more than a little annoyed at this point. I managed to open my mouth finally and said, "Stop poking me! Go away!"
She laughed, stood up and turned to go. She moved through the end of my husbands bed towards the locked door. In the cutest little voice that reminded me of Betty Boop the cartoon she said ,"I just wanted to say hi!" and left the room. Behind her as she swept out of sight there was something like a black veil that swept out with her but it seemed to come from all corners of the room then narrowed into a tornado shape as it went out the door behind her. I laid there thinking about what had just happened and how long I'd been awake. I looked at the clock and it said 5:27. I figured I had been dealing with her at least 20 minutes before she left and a few minutes more as I lay there thinking about it all. So roughly 5 a.m. when she appeared. She wasn't at all menacing, even when she poked me. Very childlike and I could see immediately that anyone would enjoy her company. I pondered what and why I'd even seen her then said aloud to my husband, "There was a ghost just here."
He said, "Wah?" I said, "A ghost girl, she was just here. Dressed like a flapper/cigarette girl. Over there at the desk."
He said, "Is she gone?" I said, "Yea, she left after she said hi," then I told him what happened.
I couldn't sleep so I got dressed and went downstairs to inquire if this sort of thing happened often. The male clerk at the desk looked at me when I asked him if people often had dealings with ghosts here, blinked and then did a 180 and walked out of the room to a little back room. In a minute a short, pudgy, owl-eyed woman with a very short hair cut came out. I asked her and at first she replied, no, they weren't haunted. Then she added that the Ghost Busters had been there and said they weren't haunted. I had the feeling that she had been told to deny it so I pressed a bit. Eventually she said people sometimes saw "Things" but didn't elaborate. Then she said there was a woman on the 7th floor who said a ghost hit her in the head with a pillow, though the desk clerk thought it was the woman's own grown and very pregnant daughter that hit her with it. Then she said sometimes doors open and close right in front of her or the chandeliers start moving but she figures it's wind. She blinked at me a bit so I told her my story. She smiled, the ghost of a smile and said, "I don't know. Officially, we aren't haunted."
I gave up. I think she thought I was trying to get out of the bill or something. When I asked a few others they told me about a man who died on the 7th floor somewhere along the hallway towards the pool and that if people stay in his room he makes them leave but no elaboration. I also read about a woman in a white wedding gown who crossed the pool area in front of a family of four then vanished upon hitting the doorway into the hotel. Make what you will of it. I am sure it was the only time I've experienced that sort of paralysis but from what I read today normally those entities that one dreams up while in such a state either sit on your chest and suffocate you or you just feel a sinister presence. Neither was true for me. If she was a ghost, I have no idea what she died from or of, she looked radiantly happy and innocent when I saw her. Just pokey.

UPDATE 11: Here's another encounter that a guest of the Arlington sent in:

We stayed there last weekend and I had a strange experience. While my husband was checking us in, I decided to look around. I happened upon a corner that had a lot of history about the place posted on the walls. There were cabinets underneath where the newspaper clippings were hung. While I was reading about one of the fires killing a fireman (a wall collapsed on top of him), the cabinet door underneath flew open. I asked the doorman if that is a usual thing that happens, his reply was as expected. He just said that everything was so old that things just malfunction at times. When I asked about it closing back, I got the same reply with an added "odd" look. We stayed on the fourth floor and our sink in the bathroom kept turning on and back off on its own. After the response to the first experience, I didn't bother to ask any employees about it. Maybe these were just strange coincidences, maybe not. I guess I'll never know.

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