Most Haunted Hotel in Sydney: Ghosts of the Russell Hotel

Most Haunted Hotel in Sydney: Ghosts of the Russell Hotel

History of the Russell Hotel

The Russell Hotel was built in Sydney in 1887, but the history of the site it was built upon dates back even further. The hotel’s foundations were laid upon the ground that once harbored the Convict’s Hospital, built-in 1788 as the first general hospital in Australia. This hospital was as much a place of healing as it was of death. Many were treated here, particularly during the outbreak of the bubonic plague in Sydney.

Outside of Sydney's most haunted hotel, the Russell Hotel.
Outside of the Russell Hotel. One of the most haunted and historic buildings in Sydney.

In addition to running as a hotel, this building has also been utilized as a sort of hostel for sailors and rumored to have been an unofficial brothel for some time. A darker side to the Russell Hotel’s history reveals a number of murders, including that of a sailor who was murdered by a prostitute and that of Senior Constable Henry Murrow, killed in 1897 and found with a mysterious wound in the back of his head. This turbulent past is thought by many to have contributed to the high concentration of paranormal energy contained within the Russell Hotel.

Inside the haunted Russell Hotel, Sydney.
One of the sitting areas inside Sydney’s most haunted hotel.

Ghosts of the Russell Hotel

The Russell Hotel is nestled within The Rocks, one of Sydney’s oldest and most historic areas. This seems to be the perfect setting for one of the most haunted hotels in the city. Of particular interest within the Russell Hotel, from a paranormal perspective, is room number 8. This is said to be the most haunted room in the entire hotel and is the location where a sailor was murdered. He was allegedly murdered within this room by a prostitute many years ago and has remained ever since. He is said to manifest and show himself to lone women sleeping within the room. Always appearing at the foot of the bed, startling the sleeping women within.

The most haunted room in the Russell Hotel.
The notorious Room 8 within the Russell Hotel, though to be the most haunted place within the building.

Though this is the most active room for ghostly phenomena within the hotel, there are said to be other areas that are haunted and more spirits residing within the hotel. Both Room 20 and 24 are rumored to be haunted with some guests reporting to have paranormal experiences within them. Even the downstairs area of the hotel is said to be haunted, with many people claiming to sight the apparition of a woman down there. She tends to wear white and is usually seen making her way through either the kitchen or the bar and dining area. Typically she is described as wearing period clothing that makes her appear as either a nurse or a maid.

Inside the most haunted room inside the Russell Hotel.
Inside Room 8 where the ghost of a sailor has been sighted by multiple people.

Another of the more common paranormal events to be reported at the hotel is that of disembodied footsteps, all throughout the building, but usually heading up the stairs. People have also reported suddenly dropping temperatures, feelings of uneasiness, electronics turning on/off by themselves, screams emanating from emtpy rooms and sighting people who tend to disappear into thin air shortly after. These reports of ghosts and strange phenomena have supposedly all been amplified ever since recent renovations were undertaken on the hotel. Maybe this has sent the spirits into a restless frenzy.

Haunted stairs inside the hotel.
The stairs where disembodied footsteps have been heard.

Staying at the Haunted Russell Hotel

The Russell Hotel is a charming accommodation option within Sydney. It is an excellent place to submerge oneself in the history of Sydney. Its location is unmatched, being just a short walk from the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which can even be spotted from the rooftop patio of the hotel. If you are unable to stay at the Russell Hotel, it also has a restaurant and bar, which offer up amazing food, drinks and service.

The place where Australia's first general hospital stood.
A plaque commemorating the hospital site that the Russell Hotel sits upon.

If you are interested in learning more about the haunted history of Sydney, Australia, I recommend checking out the Quarantine Station over at Manly.

Thanks for reading!


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Amy is a world traveller and explorer of creepy locations. She has visited some of the most famously haunted places around the world in search of evidence of the paranormal. Follow Amy's Journey:

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