Saturday, December 26, 2015

La Concha Hotel, Part l

La Concha Hotel
The La Concha was built-in 1924 giving Key West, Florida its first luxury hotel. It quickly became the playground for U.S. presidents, gangsters, European royalty, and famous authors.

This hotel remains the tallest building on the civilian side of Key West and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

President Harry Truman on
"Little White House lawn" while staying
at La Concha.
Ernest Hemingway frequently stayed at the La Concha in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s. It is said he wrote several of his novels at this hotel. He also entertained his mistress—his future 3rd wife-- in the hotel’s bar and in his personal suite.

View from the rooftop in 1926.
By the late 1940s, the hotel had fallen on hard times. La Concha’s rooftop bar with its spectacular views was the only part of the hotel that remained open.

In the early 1980s architect Richard Ruth took on the task to restore this hotel to its former glory. The hotel reopened in 1986. Ruth’s efforts succeeded for many guests note the feeling of the past when they stay at the hotel.

But for others, this unique atmosphere has taken on a spooky feel. For they have seen one of the three ghosts that are known to haunt the La Concha.

The ghost seen and felt most often is the “tormented spirit” of a waiter who worked at the hotel in the 1980s.

It was New Year’s Eve at 1:45 A.M. and this waiter was hurrying to get back to the kitchen with a loaded cart. He cleaned up and placed stray party decorations—streamers and confetti on his cart as he made his way to the 5th-floor elevator.

This harried employee pushed the button and heard the elevator door open. He had his back to the entrance as he pulled his cart into what he thought was the elevator—but he stepped into an empty shaft and fell 5 floors to his death—his cart landed on top of him.

The elevator had malfunctioned and stopped at the 6th floor above him instead. The hotel chose to keep this accident quiet but soon after, staff and guests began to have strange experiences.

5th Floor hallway.
Many employees while on the 5th floor stated they felt they were being watched. Others reported having their shoulders tapped when the hall was empty.

To this day, hotel maids refuse to work on the 5th floor alone.

This waiter is also seen in the hotel’s kitchen. There have been reports of cooks seeing this ghost pushing a cart in one corner of this room.

Others have found colorful streamers and confetti on the 5th-floor landing near the elevator when no celebrations have occurred. One janitor who went to retrieve a vacuum to clean this mess—returned only to find the party decorations gone.

Various staff members have reported that their carts have been moved overnight. These carts are then found sitting near the entrance to the 5th-floor elevator.

Guests have reported hearing a squeaky cart roll past their rooms late at night.

They also report seeing a waiter, late at night, walking down this hall. They state this figure walked stiffly as if in a daze.

One guest tried to engage this figure in a conversation, but it ignored him and turned the corner. This guest then followed the waiter only to find no one in the next hallway.

Yet other guests have heard sounds of a party—when there is none. They report hearing muffled laughter and music echoing down the hall.

In Part ll of La Concha Hoteltwo other ghosts who reside at the hotel, including the ghost of Hemingway, are described.

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