When you first walk into The Driskill Hotel, you wouldn’t think it’s haunted. From the dozens of columns brilliantly lining the lobby, to the spotless marble floors, the hotel is gorgeous. The ambience screams luxury and comfort. But if you listen closely, it also screams bloody murder.
Look, this place was built in 1886. That’s plenty of time for some messed up stuff to go down within the walls of The Driskill. For example, did you hear the one about the young girl who fell to her death down the grand staircase? How about the two “suicide brides” who killed themselves in the same bathtub in the same room, 20 years apart to the day?
Who knows if these ghost stories have any truth to them, especially after all this time. Maybe the halls of The Driskill are crawling with spirits out for revenge. Maybe not. You can decide for yourself.
Brief History of The Driskill Hotel
Located right smack in the middle of downtown on 6th Street, The Driskill Hotel is one of the most historically iconic landmarks in all of Austin. Conceived and built by Col. Jesse Driskill, the somewhat recently renovated (1996) hotel features 189 guest rooms and suites, a killer bar and a high-end grill.
In case you don’t run into his ghost while visiting, a large portrait of Mr. Driskill can’t be missed, as it’s located at the center of the main lobby staircase. In either scenario, making eye contact is not recommended, as he will relentlessly stare into your soul until you cry.
The bar really is fantastic, and reasonably safe from the paranormal. If you haven’t been, stop in for happy hour and order an Old Fashioned. It’s to die for (that’s well-placed pun #2, for those of you keeping score).
There are three main legends attached to The Driskill Hotel that have caught the attention of ghost hunters everywhere. Keep in mind that I have no idea whether these stories are true. If you’re curious, I suggest doing some Googling to decide for yourself.
The first legend, chronologically, is of a girl who died in 1887 after chasing her ball and accidentally falling down the grand staircase. Listen carefully in the halls and you can still hear the sound of giggling and a ball bouncing down the stairs.
The second story is perhaps the most creepy of all. The tale of the “suicide brides” describes two separate occasions in which a bride, for reasons unknown, offed herself during her honeymoon. While some claim both of these tragedies occurred in Room 525 in the bathtub, exactly 20 years apart from each other, there are many versions floating around the Internet. Regardless, it does seem there have been at least two suicides at The Driskill, which is more than enough for me to know that I wouldn’t be caught dead in Room 525 (annnnd he’s on fire: pun #3).
And of course, Col. Jesse Driskill himself has been known to check on his hotel from time to time. Reports of cigar smell and fussy lights continue to baffle Driskill staff. Some believe these incidents point straight to Driskill, who died four years after the hotel opened.
So Is The Driskill Haunted or Not?
I don’t really buy the whole paranormal activity thing, so I tend to think a lot of these unexplained phenomenon are just tricks your mind plays on you when you’re freaked out. With that said, I don’t care how nice The Driskill Hotel looks on the outside. Under the shiny, luxurious surface, there is some spooky sh*t going on.
If you find yourself walking through the halls on any floor, you’ll notice that the walls are lined with the creepiest paintings of all time. Like, seriously. If you’re already known as one of the most haunted hotels in the U.S., there’s absolutely zero need to put up random Victorian-era portraits of people who clearly have a staring problem. Hundreds of these, around every corner. Just staring.
I was often alone while venturing through said hallways. It gets quiet. A little too quiet. I also made the mistake of putting my ear up to Room 525 for a bit. That sucked. Even the ghosts were like, “Why are you doing this to yourself?”
The bottom line is I have no idea whether The Driskill Hotel is actually haunted. I, for certain, was extremely uncomfortable pretty much the entire time I was there. Something’s going on and, even if it’s in my own head, the ghost stories add eerie depth to the overall experience.
Whether paranormal or not, the rich history behind The Driskill Hotel is remarkably present, and worth checking out for yourself.
@AndyChuckChase is dying to know:
Do you think The Driskill Hotel is haunted?
Find out more about haunted places in Austin: