Best Place to Hobnob With a Ghost

Queen Anne Hotel

1590 Sutter (at Octavia), 441-2828,

Planted on the outskirts of Pacific Heights, the Queen Anne Hotel is a decadent Victorian in shades of crimson and pink, pretty typical for a haunted house — which it's purported to be. The hotel opened in 1890 and was originally Miss Mary Lake's School for Young Ladies; it passed through various hands (among others, church caretakers' and bordello owners') before 1980, when its current incarnation was born. According to one of the concierges, inexplicably sealed doors and ominous sounds in the middle of the night are routine. While reports describe wispy apparitions and the cold spots generally associated with spectral sightings, the resident phantom — believed to be the ghost of Mary Lake — is apparently cordial: Visitors have told of coming back to their rooms to find their luggage unpacked, or waking up in the middle of the night to discover they've been tucked into bed. Though the elongated hallways and morbid period portraits on the scarlet walls are très Shining, the Queen Anne's 48 guest rooms and suites are elegant and comfortable (and start at $95) — nothing to be scared of.

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