The Haunt on the Hill

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If anyone has been down to the northern side of the Oceanfront in Virginia Beach, they would not have missed the beautiful and elegant hotel resting on a hillside.

Overlooking North Beach in the busy city of Virginia Beach, Virginia, sits the Cavalier Hotel. Previously the hotel boasted stunning views and dramatic chandeliers hanging in the lobby with glossy checkerboard floors and sharply contrasting blue paneled walls. Today, the Cavalier Hotel is undergoing a total transformation. I wonder if this transformation has stirred up any of its past hotel guests?

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That’s right ladies and gentlemen…the Cavalier Hotel is said to be haunted. Claims reported have been of elevators that run when they are empty, toilets that flush of their own accord and guests report that their room towels have been changed from time to time. But these are only little occurrences compared to the tragedies that were said to begin only two years after the hotel opened.

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The Cavalier Hotel was originally built on what was then a very secluded strip of beach. The seven-story Y-shaped building was designed by Neff and Thompson and completed in 1927. It has been a presence on Virginia Beach’s oceanfront ever since, and was at the time of its construction one of the fanciest hotels in Virginia. Most of its hotel rooms featured views of the ocean and all had private bathrooms. The hotel also featured many dining facilities and a large pool, which is very common at accommodations now days.

 

 

The hotel was built during the period of prosperity known as the roaring twenties, and was a major element of the development of Virginia Beach as a resort area. The hotel was operated successfully until 1942, until it was commandeered by the United States Navy as a training center during World War II.  It was returned to its owners in 1945 and then the property was used as a private club for a time in the 1950s and 1960s.

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After thirteen months of labor, the Cavalier Hotel opened and was once the haunt of the up and up of society, hosting such guests as Adolph Coors, author F. Scott Fitzgerald, and actors and actresses including Judy Garland, Will Rogers, Bette Davis and Jean Harlow. For three decades the Cavalier hired a wide variety of big-name bands. Performers included such greats as Tommy Dorsey, Frank Sinatra, Benny Goodman and Bing Crosby. Now guests report that the piano in the ballroom sometimes plays by itself. Maybe it longs for the music of the past? It was nicknamed the “Aristocrat of the Virginia Seashore” because it was the spot to see and be seen. Even several US Presidents stayed or visited the hotel.

Perhaps it is the claims of the creepy feeling of something always lurking that causes visitors to draw such connections to a haunting. Guests have reported they feel like they are being watched in what was the Pocahontas room. One legend is of a waiter who supposedly walks through the walls of the ballroom.

It is said that during the roaring twenties, the Cavalier skirted Prohibition by driving guests on covert trips to the local speakeasies. This was not enough to keep brewery owner Adolph Coors from a mysterious fall that ended in his death on June 5, 1929. Whether suicide, murder or an accident, people have reported sensing someone still lingering and cold spots appearing randomly throughout the sixth floor. Some have reported that they can hear a sound outside of something hitting the concrete below. Ever since, receptionists claim they receive calls from the sixth floor regularly and upon investigation find the rooms locked and empty.

Local lore claims that the hotels first owner shot himself on the sixth floor as well, but it seems unconfirmed as hotel staff said the initial owners of the hotel were a group of people investing in a business venture and they had it until it was purchased by the Dixon family.

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The hotel’s front desk is also occasionally plagued by guests calling to complain of a cat meowing and scratching at doors in the grand hallways. Rumor has it that a young girl’s pet cat escaped one night and drowned in the swimming pool with the little girl drowning trying to save it. Though the ghost of a little girl has not been sighted; people occasionally report strange sounds coming from the pool and wet footprints that led nowhere.

 

Visitors report mysterious orbs in their photographs and hearing footsteps where no one is seen walking. A popular tale involves the sightings of an older African-American gentleman dressed in a bellman’s old staff uniform. Guests report that he stands on the staircase of the fifth floor and warns people to not go on the floors above because there are ghosts up there. When people tell the hotel management, they say there hasn’t been a bellman in decades.

Overall, whether you believe the stories to be true or not, the Cavalier hotel is one of the most beautiful locations at the Virginia Beach oceanfront. It has played host to many of the well to do of the past and the present and is certainly a local piece of history and a hauntingly beautiful one at that!

 

Thanks for reading!

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