The city of Boston is one of the oldest in the country. Known for everything from cream pie to The Boston Tea party, it’s one of the most iconic cities in American history. The old harbor town is a memorable place to explore and enjoy the scenery.
One of the most infamous buildings in this beautiful city is The Omni Parker House hotel. This grand, 515-room hotel is one of the most popular on the East Coast. The majestic building bursts with a rich history, diverse culture, and a ton of mystery.
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The Historic Haunted Hotel in Boston
The stunning Omni Parker House is the longest continuously operating hotel in the entire country. Steeped with history, it’s downtown location has seen so many notable events and happenings. Its shining oak walls hold countless stories and mysteries from the many years it’s been in existence.
The beautiful inn was founded by Harvey Parker in 1855. During the early eighteenth century, the idea of a large-scale hotel was completely unheard of. Traveling was seen by people as mostly a necessity for business, not for leisure or for entertainment. For this reason, travelers opted to stay at more practical inns when on the road.
As more travelers were drawn to Boston for cultural travel, more luxurious accommodations began to emerge. Small hotels that were suitable for families and women to stay in were created. These lodging houses began to pop up all over Boston and would eventually lead to the hotel industry format that we see today.
During this revolution in building more luxurious accommodations, Harvey Parker moved from Maine to Boston. The young man had little money but a strong desire to work hard and make a name for himself. He worked his way up until he became a coach driver for a wealthy suburban resident, giving him his first glimpse into opulence.
Parker would drive his employer into Boston proper and take his lunch break at John Hunt’s cafe. Eventually, the men got to know each other, and Parker saved up enough money to purchase the eatery from Hunt. He changed the name to Parker’s Restaurant and improved and expanded the menu.
Parker’s Restaurant quickly became a huge success. It attracted regular patrons that were part of the city’s booming upper class. Their business catapulted Parker’s success and he gained a business partner named John Mills. Parker’s ambition was revving to take on a new challenge and even greater success.
Parker purchased the neglected Mico Mansion in 1854. He quickly set to work transforming the property into a first-class hotel. His dream became reality as he erected the hotel full of old-world beauty and ornate and thoughtful design elements.
Stunning Amenities of The Omni Parker House in Boston
The Omni Parker House is 23,000 square feet full of stunning beauty. The detailed bronze front doors provide a memorable first impression as you enter the spacious, wood-paneled lobby. The plush carpet and decorative ceilings create a feeling of luxury from the top down.
The guest rooms are historically decorated with modern conveniences like flat-screen TVs, high-speed internet, and dry cleaning services. The suites offer stunning views of the city and nearby historical landmarks and architecture. Valet parking makes coming and going easy while exploring the city.
The full-service hotel has three unique restaurants with impeccable and delicious options. The fitness center is open 24 hours to allow you to burn off some energy. Grand meeting spaces are perfect for gathering with groups, especially the rooftop ballroom. A full-service concierge is available so none of your needs or wants go unmet.
The Ghost of Harvey Parker
With a hotel so rich in history, it’s no surprise that there have been mysterious sightings within the walls. Many unexpected sightings have been seen over the years. One of the most frequent has been a spirit that matches the description of the hotel’s founder Harvey Parker.
Parker seems to be partial to the tenth floor of his old business. Many guests have spotted him roaming the halls, checking on guest rooms. He’s even been spotted inside of rooms, waking guests from their slumbers.
Years back, a woman saw a ghostly, bearded man, standing outside of the guest room 1078. She reported that the man seemed to drift away when she went to the lobby to get security. When the guards checked the hallway, no one matching her description could be found.
Another guest woke to surprisingly find a man standing at the end of her bed while staying in room 1012. The man asked if she was enjoying her stay and then mysteriously vanished. When describing her visitor, it seemed that he had the same characteristics seen in Parker’s portrait hanging in the hotel lobby.
Other strange sightings have happened in the tenth-floor hallways. Mysterious lights and orbs have been seen floating about the halls. Lights have flickered on and off and items have gone missing.
The tenth floor has also been home to some eerie and unexplained sounds. Laughter and whispering have been heard drifting in and out of guest rooms. When guests look to where the sound comes from, no one is there. Security has even been called multiple times to the floor for noise complaints. However, when they arrive from the lobby, the noise has stopped and no one is there.
A rocking chair has been heard on quiet evenings on the floor. However, the hotel currently has no rocking chairs. The back and forth rocking seems to be echoes of the past. These mysterious sounds seem stuck between the tenth-floor walls forever.
Room 303 of The Omni Parker House
The tenth floor isn’t the only floor of the hotel to experience spiritual happenings. The third floor, most famous for being the former home of author Charles Dickens, has seen its own fair share of mystery. Specifically, guest room 303 seems to have quite a story to tell.
Charlotte Cushman, a famous 1870s actress, tragically died on the third floor of the hotel during the height of her career. Mysterious sounds have been heard throughout the floor since. The elevator even stops on the third floor mysteriously, without the button being pressed.
A businessman had an extended stay in room 303 that would leave its mark forever. The man would hang out in his room, drinking whiskey and puffing on cigars when he wasn’t working. He eventually died in the room.
Guests have reported hearing the man’s laughter during their stay in the room. They have even reported smelling his infamous cigars and whiskey, many years, and many cleanings after his fateful stay. The hotel received so many complaints about the room that management decided to convert it to storage space.
Notable Political Visitors
The rich history of the hotel includes it being graced by an astounding number of high-profile visitors. It has hosted everyone from politicians to movie stars. The hotel’s diverse guest list of power people is as impressive as the building itself.
Since the hotel’s founding, it has become a meeting place for all kinds of political heavy hitters. Every president since Ulysses S. Grant has walked to oak-lined halls. President Franklin Delanor Roosevelt, General Colin Powell, and President Bill Clinton have all met at the hotel for high-stakes meetings and strategizing sessions, as well as to mingle and network.
However, one of the most political figures to leave his mark on the hotel was President John F. Kennedy. In fact, the hotel is the very place he got his first taste of the spotlight and displayed the eloquence that made him so infamous. His very first public speech was given in the Press Room of the Omni Parker House.
In 1923, while attending his grandfather’s birthday party, little seven-year-old John F. Kennedy bravely commanded the floor and gave his speech. The Omni Parker House would go on to be a place near and dear to President Kennedy’s heart.
Leaving a permanent mark on history, the man that would go on to become one of our nation’s most treasured presidents, would launch his political career at the hotel. In 1946, John F. Kennedy chose the Omni Parker House to announce his bid for congress.
Then Kennedy would propose to his future wife, Jackie, at table 40 of the hotel’s infamous eatery. He would soon-after hold his bachelor party in the space. Today, many proposal-planning diners request table 40 for its historical significance.
Rich Cultural Boston History
The Omni Parker House has also been host to some of the most culturally significant figures in history. Here, many groundbreaking creative ideas were brainstormed. These gatherings led to some of the most infamous works of literature, theater, and film in history.
The Golden Age of Literature gave our country some of the most classic published works still read today. During this time, The Saturday Club was born under the stunning ceilings of The Omni Parker House. This forum served as a means for the most famous authors of the time to meet and have meaningful conversations.
Such literary legends as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne met at The Saturday Club to discuss their poems and novels. The hotel meetings inspired Longfellow to write his first draft of Paul Revere’s Ride. The Saturday Club also hatched the idea of The Atlantic Monthly magazine in 1857 to feature works of prominent writers.
In 1867, famed author Charles Dickens arrived at The Omni Parker House to much public fanfare. It was there that Dickens gave his first public reading of the holiday classic, A Christmas Carol. He practiced in front of the mirror that’s still hung in the guest room he stayed in today.
Parker’s Restaurant Dining
As famous as the hotel itself is its eatery, Parker’s House. Its diverse menu has expanded over the years to become one of the most popular dining spots in Boston. The iconic restaurant even created the state dessert of Massachusetts.
Boston Cream Pie was originally created in Parker’s Restaurant’s famed kitchen. The dessert was conjured up by the kitchen’s innovative baker. The eatery kept the recipe a secret until President Franklin Roosevelt asked to share its deliciousness at a state dinner. It quickly gained popularity and became the official state dessert.
Some of the most famous world-renowned chefs like Emeril Lagasse have trained at Parker’s Restaurant. The menu expanded and still features the classic New England cuisine today. It’s known as one of Boston’s most iconic restaurants and a must-visit when in the area.
Parker’s Restaurant now serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The restaurant’s stunning decor is the perfect backdrop to any meal. You’ll have the chance to enjoy dining in the very setting that so many historical figures have savored the fine cuisine. The experience will give you the opportunity to enjoy the original Boston Cream Pie and the restaurant’s famed dinner rolls.
Will you choose one of the restaurant’s delicious benedicts to start your day? The selection of fresh salads and sandwiches are a great way to refuel mid-day. The dinner menu, featuring classic New England style seafood and quality cuts of meat is a perfect way to end a Bostonian day. You may be so enamored with Parker’s that you need to visit multiple times during your visit.
Staying at the Omni Parker House
A stay at The Omni Parker House can be both memorable and convenient. Immerse yourself in old-world luxury while experiencing the best of Boston. The ideal location and amenities make it perfect for exploring the historic city. Plus, being known as one of America’s most haunted hotels, it’s a must-stay for supernatural enthusiasts.
The hotel is located at the bottom of Beacon Hill along the historic Freedom Trail. It’s School Street location puts you right in the heart of historic Boston. Your room will be footsteps away from amazing landmarks and must-see attractions.
Being in the center of history gives you the chance to explore and maybe witness some spiritual activity outside the hotel. Take a stroll over The Cutler Majestic Theater to possibly glimpse the ghost of the former mayor that died mid-performance. A short walk to The Granary Burying Grounds can give you the chance to witness the oldest graveyard in Boston and the ghosts that have been spotted there.
Haunted Historical Boston
With its rich history, Boston has no shortage of haunts and eerie places to explore. The stunning colonial town combines stunning architecture with a quaint New England vibe. There’s so much to see and do, that you’ll want to stay in the heart of it all.
The Omni Parker hotel gives you a chance to stay amongst the setting of significant historical events. You’ll be gracing the halls that so many politicians and literary champions did so many years ago. Who knows? Maybe you’ll catch a glimpse of one of the hotel’s infamous guests still hanging around.