Monte Vista Hotel

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10-13 known spirits have chosen the Monte Vista Hotel
to be their place to enjoy or to work out their issues.



“Brilliantly Atmospheric Hotel”

The 1927 four story, brick Monte Vista Hotel is one of the few remaining buildings with the Spanish Colonial style of architecture. It is in the Railroad Addition Historic District in downtown Flagstaff (National Register, 1982).

Elements of the Spanish Colonial Style architecture add so much to the Monte Vista Hotel, outside and inside. We saw rounded doors and windows and other elements of this decor style: “Ornaments of terra cotta or cast concrete, decorative iron trim, tile flooring, arcades supported by columns, and carved and molded capitals.”


This grand hotel has on the first floor a bi-level lobby, a bi-level lounge and a coffee shop. The guest rooms, each named after a well-known person who stayed there, are located on the second, third and fourth floors, with a variety of room choices. The historic traveler rooms have shared bathrooms. All the other rooms offer private baths, ranging from full-size beds to the King Corner Suite, with a Queen sleeper.

Care has been taken to maintain historical authenticity while modernizing the rooms with appreciated amenities. Money was invested in luxurious and comfortable bedding. Some of the views from the rooms are glorious.

Located on the southeast end of the hotel, the cocktail lounge is a two level entertainment area that offers drinks and live music on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights, and a dance floor on the lower level. Karaoke takes place every Tuesday and Thursday nights, and trivia games are offered every Sunday night.

The upper level bar has pool tables and darts. Friday and Saturday nights locals and visitors have a raucous good time the Monte Vista. It is important for the owners, to put the hotel to work, which means folks having a great time loudly. The quieter rooms are in the back and on the upper floors.



An influx of tourists in the mid-1920s led Flagstaff leaders to the realization that they needed an upscale hotel. The perfect location for it was picked, close to the railroad station and the newly built Route 66. Thanks to generous donations from author Zane Grey and prominent townspeople, who together raised 200,000 dollars, construction started in June of 1926 on the hotel, combined with a post office and housing for the Coconino Sun, a multipurpose building standing three stories tall. The Monte Vista also would play host to Mary Costigan’s daily three-hour radio show from room 105.

It opened as the Community Hotel on New Years Day of 1927. The name was eventually changed through a city contest. A twelve year old girl came up with the name, Monte Visa, meaning “Mountain View”.

The hotel owners were not afraid to bend the laws. During Prohibition, the lounge was the town’s speakeasy, and freely served alcohol to their patrons (which included skiers, river runners, celebrities, law-breakers and ordinary citizens) who still loved to have their favorite drinks.

Tunnels were dug under the streets of Flagstaff to provide ways for people and goods (legal and illegal) to move about during inclement weather. As the town grew, so did the underground tunnels, built by the town’s Chinese workers. Like other local businesses, The Monte Vista had access to the tunnel system.

Currently used for storage and piping, the larger alcoves of the tunnels were once used for Opium dens, moonshine distilleries, gambling machines and as a convenient way to smuggle illegal drugs and alcohol for The Speakeasy located in The Monte Vista Lounge.

However, in 1931, federal authorities were the party poopers when the Monte Vista Lounge was raided and forced to close, until Prohibition was repealed two years later.

From 1935-1940, the hotel offered slot machines for gaming. They were the only ones available in Flagstaff’s history. Underworld slime balls continued to use the tunnels to enter the hotel without being noticed by law enforcement.

Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon became the popular place to film Westerns for Hollywood filmmakers during the 1940s and 1950s. Actors, crews and others involved in filming liked to come and stay at The Monte Vista. Famous thespians who stayed here included Jane Russell, Gary Cooper, Spencer Tracy, John Wayne, and Bing Crosby.

The hotel was owned by the public until the 1960s, when it was sold to a private investor who continued to keep up the maintenance. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places around 1973. It has since been restored to its former glory as of 2018.



Employees who really enjoy their jobs sometimes like to try to continue in their former work as best they can after they pass over.

Two former employees are still working in spirit form: A bellboy and an elevator operator.

Long-term renters/live-in staff who die in their rooms, sometimes choose to stay there.

Two former long-term renters that called The Monte Vista Hotel their home while alive, still do despite being in spirit form, doing what they enjoy.

The sex worker profession has long been a dangerous, risky, demeaning way to make a living.

The Red-Light district in Flagstaff used to be on the other side of the railroad station. During the early 1940s, two young ladies getting paid for sex were taken to room 310 at the Monte Vista Hotel for a little action. Their clients killed them and threw their bodies out the window to make sure they were dead.

Babies who have been murdered after birth have spirits who sometimes still cry in terror and pain.

Something particularly disturbing is thought to have happened to a baby in the basement. Perhaps it was a prostitute’s baby who was killed by the Pimp, or by a mobster.

The underground tunnels were filled with unsavory people: drug and illegal alcohol promoters, sex trade pimps, and law breakers.

Mob soldiers often themselves became victims of the Mafia. They were sometimes killed because they knew too much, or were killed by rival mobsters, or just did something really stupid and got caught.

A surly male apparition (A “Big Louie” type – perhaps left over from Prohibition) is known to have wandered in from the tunnel that was a passageway to the Monte Vista Hotel.

When people die at the hands of another near or inside a place that is appealing to them they can decide to stay there in the afterlife.

The story goes that in 1970, three men decided to get some easy money by sticking up a nearby bank. One of the robbers was shot by a security guard. All three decided to celebrate with a drink in the Monte Vista Lounge. The man who was shot bleed to death while enjoying his last drink.

Children were often victims of disease or accidents. Sometimes their spirits stay where they died, perhaps looking for their parents, or for someone to play with.

The spirit of a little boy still is at the Monte Vista Hotel.



Male Spirit

Who may be the dead bank robber or someone else who loved the bar while alive. This fellow is a friendly, cordial spirit who says “Good Morning” to both staff and to patrons of the bar. It is he who is suspected of moving drinks and stools at the bar.

Dancing Couple

Transparent, and formally dressed, they have been seen by others on the dance floor. They could be residual energy as they have never communicated with anyone living.

Spirit of a Bellboy

Is still delivering invisible food. Guests who stay in room 210 will get a knock on the door, and when they open the door, there sometimes will be no one there. Sometimes the guests hear through the door, “Room Service.” Other times, one source reports, the friendly apparition of a bell boy will be standing there, before fading away. People with pets are not given this room because the pet goes crazy.

Spirit of the Elevator Attendant

Can appear as a solid, live person. He asks, “What floor can I take you to?” He has been seen by guests, housekeeping staff and desk agents. He has been seen in the mirror in the elevator as the guest leaves the elevator.

Spirit of a Woman

She likes to wander around the hallway right by room 210.

Spirit of a Male Guest

This eccentric former long term guest apparently never left. He liked to hang raw meat in his room. Even when the room is empty, guests have been known to hear coughing and other noises that are loud enough to disturb and annoy. A maintenance man made several repairs in room 220. When he left for a moment, he turned off the light and locked the door. However, when he returned, the light was back on, the bed linens pulled off the bed, and the television’s volume was at full blast.

A Spectral Female Tenant

Her apparition has been seen sitting by the window and rocking in the rocking chair found in this room. Guests and staff have seen the rocking chair rock by itself. Scratching is heard in the closet.

Spirits of Two Female Prostitutes

Like to visit the Lounge as well, probably to enjoy the music and the activities of the living. Room 310 – the room where these two prostitutes were murdered. They apparently have a grudge against men. Female guests who stay in this room are sometimes awakened in the wee hours of the AM because of an intense feeling of being watched.

Male guests who stay here get a taste of how the women were murdered. They wake suddenly, aware of hands over their mouths and around their necks, hindering their ability to breathe. It ends when they wake.

Male Spirit

Recently made himself known. This Shadow Man stands over 6 feet tall, and is described as being menacing. He has stepped up to the plate to be the unpaid spectral supervisor, and likes to oversee delivery men and staff who visit the basement.

Spirit of a Small Boy

Friendly and cheerful – May not know that he’s dead. Plays in the halls of the Monte Vista Hotel. Walks behind guests/staff in the halls, talking with someone; some say his mother. Touches people on the hand. This friendly little spirit appears to children; perhaps looking for someone to play with.

Spirit of a Crying Baby

Terrified cries of an infant in the basement have encouraged quick exits by the living.


Yes Indeed!

The joint is jumping with activity! A variety of spirits still love this hotel for different reasons.

Others are grounded here because they were killed at the hands of others: prostitutes and the terse shadow man in the basement.

Many guests, staff and ghost hunters have experienced a variety of paranormal activity: sometimes the full sports package.

Some hard evidence has been caught by ghost hunters who shared their evidence via YouTube.


100 North San Francisco Street
Flagstaff, AZ 86001

Monte Vista Hotel is located in downtown historic Flagstaff on the corner of San Francisco Street and East Aspen Avenue, and is one block from the railroad station.



  • National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form – US Dept of the Interior
    Retrieved: November 2, 2018
  • Haunted Monte Vista Hotel in Flagstaff, Arizona page on Legends of America
    Retrieved: November 2, 2018
  • Famous Guests of the Hotel Monte Vista
    Retrieved: November 2, 2018
  • “Our History” page on the Hotel Monte Vista website
    Retrieved: November 2, 2018
  • “Ghost Stories” page on Hotel Monte Vista website
    Retrieved: November 2, 2018
  • YouTube video: “Haunted Hotel Monte Vista”
    Published: August 23, 2010
    Retrieved: November 2, 2018
  • YouTube video: “The Ghosts of Flagstaff” Part 1: Monte Vista Hotel
    Published: December 20, 2012
    Retrieved: November 2, 2018
  • YouTube video: “The Haunting With… Hotel Monte Vista”
    Published: May 10, 2017
    Retrieved: November 2, 2018

Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr


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