PHOENIX--Ask anyone here about the historic Hotel San Carlos, and you'll be told that it's haunted. Why? And by whom? Employees report seeing ghosts, it's said. Victims of the 1918 influenza epidemic? (Not likely; the hotel wasn't built until 1927.) Suicides? Murders?
Scandals surround any venerable building with a transient population, and the 128-room San Carlos is no exception. To take advantage of the hotel's notoreity, the owners decided, two years ago, to rename the lobby bar "Ghost Lounge." They commissioned a painting that suggested a mashup of New Orleans voodoo and a fortune teller's parlor.
I was a couple of blocks away last night and meandered over. The Convention Center is a block away. Light rail runs in front of the hotel. Glass and steel towers wearing the logos of banks and hotel chains surround the San Carlos. The lobby itself has the funky, mirrored feel of a boutique hotel. The Ghost Bar, though, has given up the ghost: a two-day-old sign said "closed until futher notice, reason not known at this time." Very mysterious.
Hotel San Carlos, 202 N. Central Ave., Phoenix AZ 85004 602-253-4121