The Haunted Hotel KY – Full Review

The Haunted Hotel KY is a Haunted Attraction located in Louisville, KY.

3000 South 4th Street, Louisville, KY 40208
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Free Parking, Gift Shop/Souvenirs, Special Events, “Hi-Tech” Attraction, “Extreme” Attraction, You may be touched, Original Characters, Uncovered Outdoor Waiting Line, Indoor/Outdoor Attraction

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This attraction was reviewed on September 14, 2019 by Team Zombillies.

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Final Score: 9.21

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The Haunted Hotel is widely known as an extreme haunted house due to its intense nature, vulgar language, and the cast’s ability to touch. If you’ve got a personal space ‘bubble’ that you don’t like to be popped, then this is NOT the haunt for you. The most loyal Haunted Hotel-goers have come to expect lots of hands-on encounters that suck them into the show and leave them running out the exit feeling like they genuinely escaped a near-death experience.

Unbeknownst to many, the Hotel endured a fire this year during the summer that destroyed about 70% of the interior of the attraction. After completely rebuilding many of their scenes, returning visitors will be in for some surprises! With a few iconic scenes and characters combined with lots of new ones, it’s almost like a brand new show.

We visited The Haunted Hotel on their opening weekend this year and, even though we still received an excellent show, it seemed like they may still be getting used to the new setup. The tour was a tad shorter and the intensity seemed to be dialed down a notch or two compared to what we’ve experienced in the past. Although, we’ll make it a point to say that it sure didn’t feel like it was any shorter! The cast is still very’ uhh’ ‘interactive,’ and all of the new surprises kept us on our toes the whole way through.

Anyway, before we give the whole review away, join us as we recap our 2019 walkthrough of the legendary (and 70%-new!) Haunted Hotel…

Cast: 9.14

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Many haunters and avid haunt-goers agree with the concept of, ‘If you can’t scare them, entertain them.’ Well, the cast in the Hotel certainly did both, with a heavy emphasis on the scaring part! About half of the actors that we encountered never let up from the time we entered their scene until we were within the grasp of the fiends in the next scenes. Others, after their initial scares, would banter back and forth with us – while staying in character, of course – and most all of those left us with plenty of laughs or at least grinning from ear to ear.

Now’s probably a good time to mention that ‘bantering’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘casual conversation.’ The Hotel’s version of back-and-forth dialogue typically means shouting demands violently, severe griping with vulgar language if you don’t comply, and forcefully moving you around their scenes. Snowflakes beware! You will definitely melt here. If you want hugs, the Hotel can accommodate you, but these are a totally different type of ‘hug’ that you likely won’t be expecting. Also, don’t f**k with the diner ladies…

When it comes to quantity, it seemed like we didn’t run into quite as many characters as some of the spaces prescribed. The first area after the elevator, for example, took several seconds to get through and no actors were encountered until an entire scene or two later. Similar spaces were encountered in the outdoor section as well’ not quite the same as the non-stop pummeling we’ve received in years past.

While this certainly wasn’t the norm for this tour of the Hotel, the handful of these ‘dead spots’ that we found were noticeable enough to make things seem a bit ‘off’ for this attraction. At times, however, these breaks in the action served as welcomed chances to catch our breath from the ‘not-so-dead’ spots.

As mentioned, you can expect the dialogue to be generally crude, sinister-sounding, and typically high-volume. There were a few points where we had trouble understanding what they were saying with the loud music and other sounds going on at the same time. Though, we’re pretty certain we got the message: “You’re gonna die!”

We will add the caveat that not all dialogue was intended to be (directly) scary this year. In the workout room, for example, we discovered the hellish torture of being condemned to burning calories in sweaty spandex for eternity! That exchange was interesting, to say the least. Our encounters with “Bacon” and “Bacon Bits” outside, and the druggies and “Dimitri” (the elevator’s new attendant) inside were also quite memorable.

Out front, the Hotel had several queue entertainers that greeted us, with “Cici” and “Miracle” getting the bulk of our attention this year. As it turns out, Cici can show you a thing or two when it comes to circular saw blades (or “frisbees,” as she calls them), and Miracle (distinguishable by his dunce-like head topper) has a few interesting magic tricks up his sleeve. Pray you don’t have to see his clown nose…

Lastly, we can’t forget about The Hotel’s famous chainsaw chase finale! In years past, we’ve had as many as 4 to 6 of these guys maniacally sprinting behind us with little other purposes than to shred us to bits! This year was no different, except we only had the pleasure of getting 1 assailant chasing after us. However, we’ve still gotta give this guy plenty of kudos, as we saw him single-handedly covering his exit scene while following several skeered customers out into the surrounding neighborhood! (Don’t worry, the cops have the street blocked off for this very reason.) We’ll never know how some of these guys keep this going for hours on end.

Costuming: 9.3

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The Haunted Hotel is one of those haunts that seems to have developed its own “look,” and it’s working out for them pretty well.

Each of these characters, while being easily distinguishable from their cohorts, all give off the appearance that they haven’t showered or changed clothes in about 12 months. A thick sheen of grime and filth can be seen from head to toe, and even detailed as far as fingers and teeth on nearly every creature that you’ll encounter. Custom dental additions and colored contact lenses make for some of the most “complete” looks you’re likely to see this season.

Masks are worn by a select few fiends, particularly by the piggies in the outdoor section and a few others inside. While a few of these appeared to be carefully crafted in-house by Sinister FX, it looked like some were also purchased by other high-quality haunt vendors.

The costumes themselves also appeared to be high quality and distressed just as dirtily as the makeup applications. After coming here for as many years as we have, we’ve started to notice how each of the characters’ looks have evolved, and it’s evident that many of them take on the roles of creating their own costumes. We’ll acknowledge that many of them are quite skilled as well. While we didn’t notice as many “accessories” as we did last year (barbed wire, weapons, etc.), their absence didn’t detract much from the characters’ final appearances. Miracle and Cici were also a couple of the stand-out looks of the night, as well as Rahu the Nun, the bellhop/greeter outside, the Priest, and the diner ladies.

Customer Service: 9.65

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The Haunted Hotel is simple to find by way of GPS. They don’t have a designated parking lot, but street parking free to those able to find it (we never have much luck here, but we’re also lazy and don’t like to walk very far, lol). However, there are some nearby lots that do and don’t charge a parking fee. If you use any of these, know that the Hotel is not affiliated with them in any way.

Once on the street, we couldn’t miss the place if we tried. The road next to the haunt is always blocked off by police with flashing lights and the building itself has multiple ‘Haunted Hotel’ signs on the front. There was also a hue of fog floating through the air, several red neon lights, and a good-sized queue line that’s partially covered by pop-up shelters.

For Haunted Hotel newbies, the ticket booth is located around the right side of the building. A large ‘Tickets’ painting can be seen pointing you in the right direction – literally – to the ticket area once you start to get close.

The haunt did have stairs that we used to get to and from their multiple floors, but they were all safe, well-lit and scare-free. However, in the outdoor portion, while going in and out of some of their buildings, there were some small steps that were hard to see due to incredibly thick fog, so be mindful of those. Luckily, these also seemed to be scare-free areas.

We were able to find all the information we needed prior to visiting on their website. They even have a large FAQ section. Since this is a touch haunt, we appreciated the obvious warnings of such all over their website. If you go into this place not realizing they are a full touch haunt, then you’re not paying a bit of attention!

Any staff that we encountered were very friendly and helpful, and the ticket taker at the front door took all precautions needed to ensure we heard the house rules to the full extent (despite the monsters’ nearly incessant interruptions), and she didn’t stop until we heard her through.

Atmosphere: 9.7

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The Haunted Hotel takes place in an authentic and architecturally-historic old hotel building in downtown Louisville. That’s a mouthful, but the red brick exterior accented by bright red neon lights, combined with all of the queue actors and “Haunted Hotel” signage, makes it pretty obvious this is a haunted house well before entering. Add a thin haze of fog, screams coming from inside and outside, and people running from wound-up chainsaws and, if you can’t tell what you’re getting into by now, then we aren’t sure what to do for ya.

But wait, there’s more! Once on the property, you’ll find a decorated ticket booth nook in the side of the building, and there were quite a few queue line actors roaming about startling unsuspecting guests as they waited in line. As we waited our turn, we could see each group of poor souls entering the chamber that would soon result in their demise. Each time something knocked on the door for the next group, the door would open and, as the first group member would hesitantly take one step in the door, we could see the Hotel’s owner grabbing them and disappearing.

We don’t know about you, but we definitely had a, “We’ve got to get the heck out of here before it’s too late!” moment right before we entered. But at that point, there’s really no turning back…

Special Effects: 9.08

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The Hotel had a mixture of high-tech effects combined with authentic and realistically-created decor. With the understanding that the bigger half of the show was rebuilt from scratch, we were a little (just a little) surprised to see how well most of the scenes were resurrected. A few of the old “bells and whistles” may have been missing for our tour, but there were plenty of brand-new additions to behold for 2019′

Some of the new scenes include a dungeon-like area for a carnivorous creature, a moving chapel, a dingy diner, a gem of a gym, and a multi-colored fog tunnel that’s thick enough we couldn’t see our hands in front of our faces! Other scenes contained vintage vending machines, rotting body parts, large plants and animals, perplexing plexiglass, disorienting strobes and smelly sewers and swamps. Oh yeah, you might get wet if one particular guy feels like you need a shower…

Luckily, the fire didn’t seem to have much effect on one of the best elevator scenes we’ve found to date. The new attendant, Dimitri, was keeping it operating just as evil-y as ever! A custom soundtrack and flickering lights provided lots of scare opportunities that were well taken-advantage of.

Speaking of sounds, The Haunted Hotel had a great playlist on tap for its patrons. For most of the interior scenes, we noted a great technique where lower-volume background sounds were used in the dead spots between scenes, then they’d crank up the intensity with louder metal music to add an extra layer of chaos while the scares were happening. While this was very effective, aside from a bit of sound bleed on occasion, we also found several pretty long quiet stretches this year, particularly in some of the outdoor buildings.

Theme: 9.15

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For those that follow the Hotel and their videos, a plot twist was alluded to in 2018 that opened the door for lots of changes for 2019. If you haven’t been following along, something far more sinister and evil has taken root at this fine establishment, and it’s starting to take the form of something very… “otherworldly.”

If you haven’t watched their previous videos that reveal pieces of the theme, we highly recommend doing so. Be sure to watch their 2017 trailer and then 2018 (2019 hadn’t been published as of this writing).

In the opening scene, Dante (the new concierge) introduced us to their little ‘slice of Hell’ that most call The Haunted Hotel. He also told us that this place is “a nightmare disguised as a daydream, where every room, hallway, and corner is filled with Hell’s spirits and souls of ill repute and, above all else, that prison requires a sacrifice.’ He then pondered the question of which one of us wasn’t going to make it out alive while admiring the rings on our female group member’s fingers.

Overall, it seems that many portions of the Hotel are no longer in existence, as they’ve been taken over by otherworldly figures and beasts. It looks to be fast-spreading too! We feel this change provided more of a variety to different theming elements, but it was a little harder to follow.

Scare Factor: 9

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The Hotel continually receives recognition for being one of the scariest haunted houses in Kentucky… and for good reason. Portions of the haunt are absolutely relentless. It’s one of those haunts where we felt like we needed a breather in between some scenes because they wore us out trying to escape their grasps. Just when we’d think, ‘Oh, maybe they’re done trying to kill us now’ we’d get hit with a big ol’ NOPE! In the end, we came out sweating (nevermind the 85-degree weather).

As we’ve said many times already, and we’re going to say (type) it again, this is a full-touch haunt; the actors here will touch you. No, they didn’t touch in inappropriate ways, but they will certainly do so in ways that attempt to make you uncomfortable. Some did man-handle us a little by abruptly moving us around their scenes, while others did what we can most accurately describe as an “aggressive tickle.” With that said, they definitely used the touch aspect to their advantage; it was nearly impossible to predict when one of them would brush up against or grab us and what they were going to do when they did!

We became hostages to several types of scares including sneaky hiding spots, charismatic characters, things suddenly flying towards us, drastic disorientation, fierce fog and several good distractions. We also had a close encounter with real sparks! Scares were spread evenly throughout our group although there were only two of us. Regardless, one of us didn’t come out feeling like the other one was targeted more.

As we insinuated in Cast, the finale of the haunt wasn’t quite the chainsaw entrapment we’ve experienced in the past, but thee who wielded the tree-whacking weapon didn’t let up on us until we were away from the exit.

Lastly, it seemed like some of the actors let up on scaring pretty easily. It’s possible that maybe this year’s changes and the amount of time between the more dynamic areas resulted in less-demanding scares overall, at least when compared to some of this attraction’s previous iterations.

Entertainment & Value: 8.91

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Prices this year have remained the same as they were last season. General admission is $25.00 per person and Fast Pass tickets are $40.00 and will grant you access to a shorter line by bypassing the general admission line. For those that are in a huge hurry, they have a ticketing option that’s even faster, the VIP front of the line. They are $60.00 per person and grant you the ability to bypass all other waiting lines.

During our 2019 visit, it took us about 12.5 minutes to escape the unworldly creatures within, bringing their MPD (minutes of entertainment received per dollar spent) to 0.5. Although this is below average and our tour was shorter this year than in year’s past, the intensity rarely let up the entire way through. Staff also informed us that they’re timing the attraction at an average of 15 minutes for groups, so tour times may vary.

When looking at entertainment aside from the main attraction that’s included with the ticket price, the Hotel had quite a few queue entertainers during our stay. If you get the chance, we highly recommend interacting with them. They will help pass the wait in line, especially Miracle. He was a welcomed addition to the Hotel and has the ability to mind read and perform magic tricks.

Fans and previous visitors to the Hotel, this year is much different than last and we highly recommend a visit to see all of the new things waiting for you. For those that haven’t been before, if you’re looking for an extreme, in-your-face attraction and you’re not ‘one of those’ that says they’ll punch people if they’re touched in a haunted house, be sure to pay this one a visit!

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Guest Reviews
Guest Average: 9.41 out of 10

Austin Fields – 10/10December 3, 2021
The haunt was amazing they really interact with you. The hellvator and the actor was very cool! I …show more really loved it! I highly recommend it!

Trini Rodriguez – 10/10September 28, 2019
Best haunted house I have been to.

Connie – 10/10October 14, 2017
Best haunted house I’ve been too! They do a great job of really scaring people.

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Past Awards

2022 Awards

Most Interactive Queue Entertainers (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Scariest Haunt in KY (Given by: The Scare Factor)

Thomas Gribbons - Matt Perry (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Rat - Robert Skeeters (Given by: Team Zombillies)

2020 Awards

Highest Rated Haunt (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Highest Rated Atmosphere (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Highest Rated Special Effects (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Scariest Haunt (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Highest Rated Value (Given by: Team Zombillies)

2019 Awards

Most Creative Scene - The Rocking Church (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Most Intense Characters (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Scariest Haunt (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Scariest Haunt in Kentucky (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Highest Rated Atmosphere (Given by: Team Zombillies)

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