Set atop one of beautiful Virginia Beach’s highest hills overlooking the Atlantic, the Cavalier Hotel is not only ‘The Grand Dame” of Virginia; it is among the country’s most notable and luxurious historic hotels. Built of limestone and brick during the Roaring Twenties and the Big Band era, it was host to ten Presidents, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Bob Hope, Doris Day, Frank Sinatra, and even Scarface and Al Capone.
The hotel is brimming with political history. In this place, Richard Nixon frantically burned some of the Watergate Papers in the Hunt Room’s massive fireplace, big enough for a person to walk inside.
Steeped in luxury, southern hospitality, history, and paranormal activity, the Cavalier is Virginia’s answer to Colorado’s famous Stanley Hotel. Within its walls, guests will find 85 opulent guest rooms, a luxurious spa and signature bourbon distillery onsite, three restaurants, a resort-style pool, a Beach Club, access to a secluded beach, and 4,430 square feet of elegant function space for any grand occasion.
Of course, you will also find some interesting ghosts who make The Cavalier Hotel one of the five most haunted places in Virginia.
Room 606 and the 6th Floor
The most famous ghost at the Cavalier is Coors Brewery Company founder Adolf Coors. On June 5, 1929, he either fell from the window of room 606, was pushed, or committed suicide by jumping six stories to his death on the pavement below.
The cause of his death was never formally investigated, but his wife, who shared the room with him at the time and who was the only witness, said he either jumped or fell. And so the 6th floor and room 606, in particular, is a hotbed of paranormal activity, most of it attributed to Mr. Coors. People have witnessed a replay of his gruesome fall and heard the sound of his body thumping against the pavement.
The front desk regularly receives reports of peculiar occurrences within the room, windows reportedly open by themselves during the night, voices and shuffling sounds are heard from within, and several EVPs have been recorded. Others find that their towels have been taken from the rack and thrown to the floor. In addition, several people have seen Coors’ ghost haunting the halls.
A local author who leads ghost tours tells the story of holding up a picture of Adolph Coors as one woman in the tour gasped. Apparently, she attended a wedding at the Cavalier in the 1970s, and a man no one recognized kept showing up in the pictures. She recognized the man as Adolph Coors.
Coors is not the only ghostly inhabitant of the 6th floor. One husband and wife who stayed in room 606 recorded a man who identified himself as Mike via the spirit box said there are ‘multiple’ ghosts there, including a few murder victims. While this was being recorded, the chandelier began rocking back and forth. All of these are documented occurrences.
When the hotel was closed during the winter months, the reception would repeatedly receive falls from the 6th floor, although no workers were there. Watchmen would check on the rooms calling, only to find no one there.
The Cavalier Hotel Ballroom
The Roaring ’20s earned its name for a reason. It was a time of dramatic social and political change that imbued the culture with a sense of increased freedom and vitality. Although prohibition put the kibosh on selling and buying liquor, men and women went underground and enjoyed their newfound criminal status by drinking and dancing the nights away.
The piano in the grand ballroom is a testament to this era, and many have heard it play by itself, its keys moving up and down, creating music with no one there. Haunting music played by a haunted piano is only one reason why The Cavalier Hotel is one of the five most haunted places in Virginia.
A Little Girl and Her Cat
This little girl who was vacationing with her family at the hotel let the family cat get out of the room. Some say that she saw it fall into the hotel pool and jumped in to save it. Unfortunately, both drowned.
The cat is now heard scratching on doors as if they get in or out of rooms, and several voice recorders have caught it meowing as well. Some have reported seeing a ghostly cat roaming the halls, and others have caught glimpses of a cat’s tail turning a corner, only to find no cat.
The little girl can also be seen walking near the pool while still looking for her furry friend. And people have called the front desk complaining of a cat in the building.
When the hotel was renovated in the 2010s, cat prints repeatedly showed up in the freshly-laid foundation in the stairwell; some are still visible to this day.
A Female Ghost and Her Dog
The Becca Restaurant within the hotel frequently sees the ghostly apparition of a female who shows up without a reservation, wanting to dine. She reportedly also walks about the room with a ghostly dog at her heels.
Miscellaneous and repeated phenomenon
- Elevators throughout the hotel move on their own without anyone pushing buttons. How do we know this? It’s happened when the hotel was closed for renovations.
- A ghostly African American bellhop warns people to be careful of the ghosts on the 6th floor.
- A forlorn WWII soldier wanders the halls.
Unfortunately, paranormal investigators aren’t allowed to have active investigations at the hotel, but nothing prevents anyone, including investigators, from renting rooms here and pulling out your equipment while in your room.
Although the Cavalier Hotel doesn’t embrace its ‘hauntedness’ as some hotels, it was host to the three-day Eastern Paranormal Investigators Co-Op Conference in March 2010, which saw participation from some of the paranormal world’s most prominent big game hunters.
Regardless, the hotel’s ghostly legacy makes it one of Virginia’s five most haunted places.