Is the Arlington Hotel Haunted?

Multiple paranormal sightings and experiences by guests of the hotel have concluded that the Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa is indeed haunted. Many who have spent the night at the hotel have reported paranormal happenings such as ghostly laughters and disembodied voices. It is claimed that Room 666 was deliberately renamed to Room 667 as guests have reported numerous strange activities in the room. The piano at lobby bar is also said to play by itself after midnight; it has since been removed to avoid causing any unnecessary hysteria.

Many spirits have also been spotted by guests of the hotel. In particular, Henry Tweedle, a former bellboy at the Arlington Hotel, haunts the fourth floor of the building. The ghost of a young girl in a pink dress is also said to haunt the lobby, often scaring guests by appearing out of the walls. Many spirits in old-fashioned clothing have also been seen walking along the hallways before disappearing into thin air.

Several of the rooms in the hotel are also reportedly haunted by spirits of those who have stayed here. In the Magnolia room, the lights are said to flicker unexplainably in spite of multiple repairs done by the hotel’s maintenance department. At room 824, guests claimed that personal belongings would get moved around in the middle of the night.

However, management of Arlington hotel have vehemently denied any ongoing ghostly activities in the hotel.

History of Arlington Hotel

The history of Arlington Resort Hotel and Spa, better known as the Arlington Hotel, dates back to 1875 when it was built by prominent railroad executive Samuel Wesley “Colonel” Fordyce and two other local entrepreneur. Located at the north end of the famous Bathhouse Row—a collection of historic bathhouse buildings dating back to the 1830s—the 120-room Arlington Hotel was then the largest hotel in the state.

Yet, less than two decades after it was first opened, the hotel was demolished (in 1893) to make way for the development of a larger and more luxurious resort. Named the New Arlington, the four-storey hotel boasted an iconic red brick facade and 300 luxurious guest rooms. However, on April 5, 1923, the entire building was razed to the ground in a massive fire that killed one fireman and injured several.

arlington hotel fire 1923
Fire at second Arlington Hotel | Image credits:

A third Arlington Hotel was erected less than one year later at the “Y” intersection at the corner of Central Avenue and Fountain Street. Opened on December 31, 1924, the new Arlington hotel became an instant hit among visitors. With its prominent location and Spanish-Colonial Revival architecture, the new (and current) Arlington hotel become a popular landmark and the go-to accommodation spot for travelers visiting Hot Springs National Park.

Over the years, many famous politicians, athletes and luminaries have stayed in the historic hotel. It include U.S. presidents Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and George Bush, sportsman such as Bath Ruth and Joe DiMaggio, as well as celebrities like Tony Bennett, and Barbra Streisand

Bathhouse row leading to Arlington Hotel
Bathhouse Row leading to Arlington Hotel | Image credits: Hot Springs National Park

The hotel have also seen several upgrades in the mid 20th century to meet the growing demands of guests. In 1955, the hotel added central heating and air, removing the need to ventilate guest rooms with windows and door louvers. The three guests elevators found today were separately installed in 1969 to replace the original elevators that had been in operation for over four decades.

Today, the hotel is home to 478 rooms, a private thermal bathhouse and a 45,000 square-foot convention center.

Arlington Hotel Room 443, the Al Capone Suite

The most popular guest room in the entire Arlington Hotel is none other than room 443, the Al Capone Suite. Al ‘Scarface’ Capone, a believer of Hot Springs supposed healing waters, was reported to have spent weeks at a time in Arlington Hotel. Room 443 was favored by Al Capone for its proximity to the hotel’s bathhouse as well as the fact that it offered a full view of the Southern Club located right across the street; the club was a gambling and entertainment joint that Al Capone frequented when visiting the Hot Springs.

Al capone photo
Al Capone | Image credits: The Atlanta Journal Constitution

The room was also retrofitted with a closet that led to a secret gateway. The passageway was said to have been commissioned by Al Capone to aid his escape in the event of an emergency such as a shootout; it has since been boarded up to prevent access by guests of the room.

Apart from Room 443, the notorious U.S. gangster would also rent up the entire fourth floor for his staffs and bodyguards.

Arlington hotel room 443 al capone suite
Room 443, Al Capone Suite | Image credits: Hers Magazine

Today, many say that room 443 as well as the fourth floor is haunted by Al Capone. Guests and staffs of the Arlington Hotel claimed that the elevator would often make a stop on the fourth floor, seemingly to drop off or pick up someone.
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