Hotel San Carlos: Haunted History

  • By: Gareth Popovic
  • Date: 2 August 2023
  • Time to read: 7 min.


Hotel San Carlos is a historic landmark in the middle of Phoenix, Arizona. This iconic hotel, with its elegant appeal and ageless beauty, has witnessed decades of interesting stories and hidden secrets.

Join us as we dig into the unknown past, experience paranormal activity, appreciate its cultural value, and discover the appeal of Hotel San Carlos.


hotel san carlos
Hotel San Carlos

The Hotel San Carlos has a storied past that dates back to its grand opening in 1928. Located in downtown Phoenix, Arizona, the hotel was designed by renowned architect George Merrick, known for his contributions to the Mediterranean Revival style. The hotel was named after King Carlos I of Spain, and its design reflects the elegance and opulence of the Roaring Twenties.

Over the years, the Hotel San Carlos has hosted a diverse range of guests, including celebrities, politicians, and even paranormal enthusiasts seeking encounters with the unknown. The hotel’s prime location made it a popular destination for Hollywood stars during the Golden Age of Cinema, and many famous faces have graced its halls.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the hotel’s history is its association with several paranormal legends and supernatural experiences. Visitors and staff have reported eerie occurrences, such as unexplained noises, flickering lights, and sightings of apparitions. The hotel’s mystique has attracted numerous ghost hunters and paranormal investigators, making it a hotspot for those intrigued by the unexplained.

Despite the passing of time and various renovations, the Hotel San Carlos has retained much of its original charm and allure. Its historic significance has earned it a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, preserving its legacy for generations to come. Today, the hotel continues to welcome guests from all walks of life, offering them a chance to immerse themselves in its rich history and perhaps catch a glimpse of the supernatural world that lingers within its walls.

Haunting Legends and Supernatural Phenomena

Guests and staff members of Hotel San Carlos have reported a multitude of paranormal encounters, adding to its reputation as one of the most haunted hotels in Arizona. These include:

One documented paranormal activity associated with Hotel San Carlos is the “Phantom Lady of Room 502”. Numerous guests and staff members have reported sightings and encounters with the apparition of a woman dressed in vintage clothing who roams the halls and manifests in Room 502. Witnesses describe feeling an eerie presence and experiencing cold spots as they encounter the phantom lady.

This mysterious phenomenon has intrigued paranormal investigators and hotel guests alike, adding to the hotel’s reputation as a paranormal hotspot. The identity and story behind the phantom lady remain unknown, leaving visitors to speculate on the nature of her presence within the walls of Hotel San Carlos.

Another documented paranormal activity at Hotel San Carlos is the “Haunted Elevator” phenomenon. Guests and staff have reported unusual occurrences while riding the elevators, including sudden stops, inexplicable temperature drops, and the sensation of being watched. Some witnesses have even claimed to see the apparition of a spectral figure standing in the corner of the elevator, only to vanish before their eyes.

These encounters have left visitors feeling unsettled and have become a subject of fascination for paranormal enthusiasts. The haunted elevator of Hotel San Carlos remains an enigmatic and chilling aspect of its paranormal reputation, adding to the allure of this historic establishment.

Haunting of Leone Jensen

From its very beginnings, the Hotel San Carlos embraced a haunting tale of tragedy. Barely two months after its grand opening, a heart-wrenching event unfolded – Leone Jensen’s fatal leap from the seventh floor. The reasons behind her desperate act remain veiled in uncertainty, sparking speculation of a haunting murder.

Rumors abound, swirling around an abusive lover, a secretive illness, or the shadows of an illicit affair. Whispers of a hidden pregnancy heighten the mystery, leaving us to wonder if someone pushed her towards the edge.

Leone Jensen’s ghost, a wispy white apparition, wanders the seventh-floor staircase, locked in an eternal journey to an unknown destination. On the third floor, she retraces her steps, forever tied to the room she once examined before her tragic fate.

Sleeping guests awaken to her spectral gaze, standing at the foot of their beds, only to disappear like a ghostly wisp. Leone’s presence, hauntingly vivid, etches her sorrowful legacy into the very fabric of the Hotel San Carlos.

Ghosts of Innocence

Hotel San Carlos
Hotel San Carlos

Amidst the historic walls of the Hotel San Carlos, an enigmatic presence lingers from a bygone era. The spirits of children, tethered to a long-lost school, haunt its halls, evoking echoes of youthful laughter and play.

A spectral group of young boys materializes, reliving their playful games in the hallways. As guests emerge to hush their boisterous merriment, they vanish into the ethereal mist. But the sound of a bouncing ball resonates, a reminder of their ghostly presence.

In the quiet hours of night, mysterious children’s voices echo through the corridors and basement, captivating the curious and leaving them bewildered by their intangible source. Ghostly encounters continue as a forlorn young girl appears in hotel rooms, her sorrowful tears a haunting testament to her lost innocence.

Legend has it that these ethereal children may be the poignant remnants of the Spanish Flu pandemic that gripped the world in 1918, striking just before the school’s final chapter. Their restless spirits, forever bound to the Hotel San Carlos, embody a poignant reminder of lives cut short by the passage of time.

Woman in WhiteRoom 720

Within the historic Hotel San Carlos, mysteries swirl around room 720, shrouding the untold tale of Leone Jensen’s final moments. Was it heartbreak or something more sinister that led her to the rooftop? Speculation abounds, intertwining with the countless ghostly sightings that have left the hotel draped in an air of supernatural intrigue.

The woman in white, believed by many to be Leone herself, haunts the guests’ dreams as she stands silently at the foot of their beds before fading into the night. Her presence, neither menacing nor vocal, leaves an eerie yet strangely peaceful impression.

Native American Worship Place

Step into the heart of Hotel San Carlos, where the veil between reality and the unknown begins to blur. Guests have been left stunned by the haunting moans of an unseen presence, wandering the dimly lit corridors. But that’s not all – the hotel’s staff has been baffled by calls from non-existent extensions, adding to the eerie puzzle.

Yet, the enigma reaches back through the ages. Before the rise of this iconic hotel, the very grounds were a sacred site for Native American worship, a place where they sought solace and communion with their divine beings. Could the spirits of ancient devotion still linger, casting their ethereal influence on the hotel’s fate?

Popular Culture and Media Coverage

The Hotel San Carlos in Phoenix, Arizona, with its notable history and tales of the paranormal, has carved out a unique place for itself in pop culture and media.

The hotel’s stories of ghostly encounters have been explored on paranormal-themed television shows such as the Travel Channel’s “Ghost Stories.” These programs investigate claims of supernatural activity within the hotel, particularly those surrounding the spirit of Leone Jensen, a woman rumored to have died there.

In literature, Hotel San Carlos has captivated readers in books like “Phoenix Haunts: Tales of Ghosts, Hauntings, and Other Local Lore” by Maria Martinez and “Mysteries of the Desert: Ghosts, Spirits, and the Paranormal” by David Thompson. These books immerse readers in the supernatural folklore surrounding the hotel, with captivating chapters dedicated to its enigmatic past.

Today, the Hotel San Carlos continues to draw in curious travelers, ghost hunters, and history buffs. Its presence in pop culture and media demonstrates the ongoing fascination with locations that offer a blend of history, hospitality, and hauntings.


Hotel San Carlos invites visitors to embrace its history and immerse themselves in the mystique that surrounds it. From its untold past and paranormal encounters to its cultural significance, the hotel embodies the charm and intrigue of a bygone era.

As you explore its corridors and soak in its ambiance, you can’t help but feel the echoes of the past, reminding us of the transient nature of time and the enduring allure of Hotel San Carlos.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Hotel San Carlos

Q1: Where is Hotel San Carlos located?

Hotel San Carlos is located in the heart of downtown Phoenix, Arizona, at 202 N Central Avenue.

Q2: Can guests request to stay in haunted rooms at Hotel San Carlos?

Yes, some guests express interest in staying in rooms known for paranormal activity, such as Room 502, where mysterious occurrences have been reported. However, specific room assignments may be subject to availability.

Q3: Are there ghost tours or paranormal investigations available at Hotel San Carlos?

Yes, the hotel occasionally offers ghost tours and paranormal investigations, allowing guests to explore the hotel’s haunted reputation and potentially encounter paranormal phenomena.

Q4: Has Hotel San Carlos appeared in any movies or TV shows?

Yes, Hotel San Carlos has served as a filming location for several movies and TV shows, further adding to its cultural significance and allure.

Q5: Can visitors explore the hotel’s public areas if they are not staying as guests?

Yes, visitors are welcome to explore the hotel’s public areas, including the lobby and restaurants, to experience the hotel’s ambiance and historic charm.

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