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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Haunt Type(s):

Haunted House

Links:

The Haunted Hotel KY Facebook PageThe Haunted Hotel KY WebsiteThe Haunted Hotel KY Twitter PageThe Haunted Hotel KY on InstagramThe Haunted Hotel KY on YouTubeTickets to The Haunted Hotel KY

Contact:

Call The Haunted Hotel KYEmail The Haunted Hotel KYMessage The Haunted Hotel KY on Facebook Messenger

Features:

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 15, 2023 by Team Lone Wolf.

Final Score: 9.08

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Summary:

‘The hotel is home to all things gross, yet great! Horrific, yet beautiful!’ the eccentric concierge shrieks while they wait beside me. ‘And I’m so glad you get to enjoy it tonight,’ they add with a cackle. From beyond the elevator’s door, I can hear the sound of things taking place that I’m fairly certain are NOT beautiful. ‘Hey, I changed my mind. Can I cancel my reservation?’ I half-joke, stealing a glance toward the entryway we’d just stepped through – my only exit. ‘No!’ the employee snaps, wrapping an arm around my neck to drive the point home: I’m not going anywhere.

You see, I’d just checked in for my annual stay at one of the scariest spots in Louisville: the Haunted Hotel, where admission doesn’t take the form of coins… instead, it’s your immortal soul. And it was time for me to pay up.

One of the most long-standing haunted houses in the city, the Haunted Hotel is ringing in its 33rd year of delivering extreme, full contact frights to haunt fans from all over the country! 2023’s chapter to its ongoing storyline involves the recent loss of Thomas Gribbons, the hotel’s former proprietor. His soul has become trapped inside its walls, transforming the building into a living, breathing entity. Evil, hungry, and corrupting everything it touches, this hotel and its sinister ‘staff’ are ready to devour anyone foolish enough to step through its front door!

(Important Note: I experienced this adventure COMPLETELY ALONE and did not enter with any other guests.)


Cast Score: 9.45

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Cast Review:

Shortly after the Hotel began admitting guests for the night, I started seeing some freakish faces in the crowd. Tall, mysterious Reginald often paused to stare down patrons without saying a word. Zizzle, wearing a permanent smile on his yellow mask, made many groups shriek and bolt when he suddenly slid at them on the sidewalk. Despite his grungy clothes and creepy mask, I found Jimmy to be quite charming. But I quickly learned not to drop my guard around anyone working here… upon noticing one of his hands had turned up missing, his female friend came over, stared at me with eerie black eyes, and threatened to give me a beating with “Sticky” for taking it! (Fortunately, she decided against that – but she didn’t let me out of her sight afterward.)

While the roamers were awesome about creeping on waiting guests and setting the tone for the haunt, things got even crazier once it was time to enter… and they wasted no time checking me in. Big, imposing Grippy greeted me at the front door (and by “greet”, I mean dragged me through it). Gustav and Ulrich, the elevator attendants, were a devious duo and worked their scene perfectly. (The way Gustav slowly counted off the floors on his hand was so unsettling!) The sleazy security guard gave me an uneasy laugh when he indicated the live monitors and suggested I “put on a little show for him” in my room later. The Haunted Hotel is something of a rated R haunt, so I really shouldn’t have been surprised when the maid in the messy, clothing-strewn laundry dangled a bloody tampon in my face and insisted that they “found it in my panties!”… that didn’t make it any less nasty! Stumbling across what looked like a grimy shower stall, I was given a sponge by the cleaning lady and forced to get down and clean up a dead body while she spritzed it, and me, with water. Eventually, I managed to reach my nice, spacious room – aided by Franklin, the stern bellhop. Unfortunately, it was still in the process of being cleaned by Tempest, the hotel’s head maid… she did not appreciate the intrusion, and showed it by throwing me on the bed and giving me a HARD paddling! Ouch!

The number of actors they had working for a haunt of this size, and so early in the season, was amazing – and almost overwhelming at times. I witnessed incredible energy from all of them, but also appreciated how an effort was made to include real acting instead of just tossing people around (a mistake that’s easy for a full contact haunt to make). Most were interactive and quick with a response to my comments and behaviors (and, for the queue actors, those of the other guests outside). Heck, some would *demand* a response in return – and there’d be hell to pay if you didn’t spit it out!

One small opportunity: actors working together in a scene should be mindful to avoid shouting over each other. I ran into this a couple of times, which is unfortunate because I know they probably had some delightfully demented words coming out of their mouths.


Costuming Score: 8.68

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Costuming Review:

When I wasn’t too fearful to lay eyes on the hotel staff, it was obvious most of them had seen far better days. Many had pale, sunken faces, like the darkness infesting the hotel had drained them of life… or their souls. Some actors with exposed collarbones and chests also had them painted up to add some depth to their look, and I saw a couple of male actors with grimy bellies. Dark ichor seeped from the eyes and mouths of other characters, particularly Tempest and the girl in the church with a pentagram seared into her forehead (loved that!). Masked actors had their eyes properly blacked out. There were quite a few pairs of creepy contacts being worn; Jonathan Mercer- one of the characters downstairs- seemed to have the best use of them… his cloudy, bloodshot eyes, paired with a pale, veiny face and a maniacal smile full of fangs, gave him an almost demonic appearance. Many costumes were appropriate to the theme: former uniforms or business attire that was distressed and grunged up. Meraki and Franklin’s outfits were among the nicer ones I saw, and I also liked Sonder, who had a real fox tail and other neat things adorning her dress – along with one crazy bird skull mask! A lot of other masks were utilized throughout the haunt, both latex and those of more rigid materials; there was a maniac in the maze outside wearing a really cool one with a long, Pinocchio-esque nose, and chainsaw-wielding Scrooball’s (hoping I spelled that right) mask included a toothy, unnerving grin to match his psycho behavior.

There were a few actors in clothes that seemed kind of plain between the two sections of the haunt. I saw some rips in fabric here and there but felt they could be grunged up a bit more (remember, this hotel is super dirty and the characters in the camp live outside). Actors should also take care to avoid poking or jabbing guests with protrusions from masks, costumes, or accessories.


Customer Service Score: 9.6

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The Hotel was clearly visible from the street, with the front of the building lit up in red and a large logo displayed on it. There were many options for parking; you could hunt around for a free spot on a nearby street, or pay cash to park in any of the lots surrounding the property. The gravel lot right across the street is run by the haunt this year – it’s $5.00 to park and the money is donated to a local church. Employees with bright orange wands were present to direct cars in and out of the lot. Once I was parked and arrived on the property, I easily found the ticket booth around the right side of the building. This was also where you could buy merch, with the offerings shown on a wall next to the booth. (It would be great if they’d consider adding a separate merch stand, at least on busy nights. Having to wait in the ticket line again to buy a shirt is a touch inconvenient.)

A big change for 2023 is that the haunt is using a new “sliding scale” pricing system for tickets, meaning peak nights will be more expensive, so make sure to check their website for how much it will be before going! When I went, General Admission was $25, Fast Pass was $40, and Front of the Line was $60. It is incredibly easy to find this information on their website, along with their dates, where to purchase tickets online, and answers to most questions a customer would typically have.

The VIP ticket line was clearly marked on the side of the building (Front of the Line patrons are escorted right to the door), and the GA line was also easy to find and enter: a maze of white barriers beside the front lawn. Security was present and a staff member wanded down each group to ensure nothing harmful was brought in. Everyone I encountered was at least professional, if not friendly and talkative, and seemed genuinely interested in providing a good experience for customers.


Immersion Score: 8.73

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Immersion Review:

The tall, ramshackle building seemed to loom over the sidewalk, bathed in a malevolent red glow. At the top, the words ‘Haunted Hotel’ flickered ominously. The more I stared at it, the more I shifted nervously on the pavement and wondered: ‘Do I really want to stay here…?’ Those waiting in line with me seemed to feel the same way. Random creepers frequently lurked among us, and it was hard to tell if they “worked” there, or had somehow escaped the confines of their hellish home and were seeking new victims in the crowd! When it was getting close to my turn to enter, I could feel my throat drying, my palms growing sweaty. You could see groups being yanked through the door in front of you, but you couldn’t actually see them leaving… screams and chainsaw roars, audible from somewhere dangerously close, hinted they might’ve met a grisly fate.

Although this was definitely a haunted house, and had some rather unpleasant surprises, care was taken to make it feel like you were actually checking into a hotel. The tour began in the front lobby, with luggage- long abandoned- stacked in various spots. From there, a rickety elevator ride sent you off into the house… only to unceremoniously drop you into the ground level basement! Additional theme-appropriate scenes included the security room, laundry, restrooms, amenities (spa, church, etc.), and guest rooms. Venturing outside, I soon found that a large number of “homeless” had set up camp around the building… and I was just as unsafe there, too! And when I thought I’d finally escaped this hotel of horrors, I still wasn’t out of the weeds – chainsaw-brandishing lunatics waited near the end, and they were chasing guests all the way out into the street!

From the minute I arrived, I was immersed, and it didn’t take long for me to mentally sink into the environment. However, there were some moments that briefly took me out of it. Non-character staff outside should wait to enter the lobby until it is clear of customers; that front door is a threshold and once a group passes through it, they’ve officially started the show. I also wasn’t a fan of having patrons wait in front of the elevator door for it to return. You can hear… things… happening in there, and it spoils one of the best scenes in the entire haunt. (I will say Meraki, the concierge, saved some of the immersion by interacting with me the whole time.)


Special FX Score: 8.77

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Special FX Review:

Once it was time to send me to my room, I was shoved into a pitch black elevator to begin the wildest ride of my life! Like I mentioned above, great care was taken to make the haunt feel realistic, and their team had a heavy hand with scenery and sensory effects. Lighting was appropriately utilized to accentuate scenes, such as the stark, cold blues in the freezer, or the soft, warm glow of the spa. Real water trickled from multiple sources. A thick, damp haze filled the basement, where I encountered a nasty discovery in the form of the hotel’s BIG bug problem. The floor in the freezer was intentionally slippery (watch your step!). Venturing upstairs, I narrowly avoided a rat about ten times the size of those in NYC when it chewed through a wall! Trying to navigate the blinding fog permeating the homeless camp outside proved hazardous – placing my hands in the wrong spots could’ve resulted in a SHOCKING surprise. I didn’t fare much better when I reached a makeshift garden… let’s just say some of those plants were real man-eaters!

An effective soundtrack played on and off during the walkthrough: quiet and hair-raising when necessary, only to launch into a sudden roar of metal to strengthen the impact of some scares. Less loud, but frantic music played out in the queue to heighten guests’ anticipation, making it seem like we were headed into a place we really shouldn’t be at! In addition to music, sound effects were used to add depth to scenes, like dripping water or groaning pipes. Most areas of the house, and the outdoor portion, also had a large amount of texture and detail added. Layers of dust, gore, and grime coated many surfaces. Thick strands of cobwebs glistened off the light fixtures. (Seriously, what the heck were those maids I saw even doing? The place was filthy!) A damp, musty odor polluted the basement. The walls of some rooms had a lot of wear and tear; wallpaper peeling away, holes rotted through. The Haunted Hotel is very much a heavy, gritty, grungy haunt – and believe me, they take immense pride in having that reputation.


Scare Factor Score: 9.1

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Scare Factor Review:

It was mentioned further up in this review, but in case you missed that, this is highly important: the Haunted Hotel is a FULL CONTACT haunted house. Purchasing a ticket means you consent to being touched, and possibly getting wet or dirty – so dress appropriately. And let me tell you, they abused this privilege liberally the whole time I was there. Actors grabbed me, dragged me, pushed and pulled, picked me up (!!!), got my face and shirt grimy, and completely soaked my head with a “baptism”. Mercer, who I mentioned up in Costuming, was especially crazy – he and a handful of his castmates were responsible for that baptism, I spent about half of my time outside dangling over his shoulder, and he kept handing me off to other actors for further torment. (Tell me again what I did to deserve all of this? I’d love to know.) With that said, not all scares were of the physical variety. I’m going to call out Sonder again, this time for the sneak attack directly following an actormatronic – never saw her coming! Double tap! More animated scares were triggered further into the walkthrough, including one where a wall fell apart, revealing a live monster ready to leap out! Some characters went for psychological fear; the aforementioned Scrooball cornered me in a hallway, stared into my eyes, and laughed… while slowly scraping his chainsaw blade close to my neck.

Honestly, it felt like I was being creeped out, threatened, or hunted around every turn. My anxiety was running high and I often felt apprehension when it was time to enter the next room. At the risk of sounding dramatic, it genuinely felt like whatever evil had consumed the hotel was coming for me next… and I wasn’t sure if I’d ever get out of there! Not every scare worked on me, but there was a whole lot of screamin’ going on throughout my stay.

And now for the one big negative: no scares on stairs, please! Actors chased me up the staircase and I had to shout those words to make them stop. There’s nothing wrong with taking a few steps up to keep the pressure on, but taking it any further is just asking for a fall to happen. Let’s keep each other safe!


Entertainment & Value Score: 9.01

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E&V Review:

My terrifying tour of this hotel lasted approximately 19 minutes, resulting in a MPD (minutes per dollars spent) score of 0.76. That comes out a little below the ‘one minute per dollar’ minimum I prefer in a haunt, but for the sheer intensity I suffered and the quality of work put into the show, I felt it was completely worth the $25 base admission price. If you’re able to make it out alive (and it sure ain’t easy), no extra activities are included with your ticket. However, reaching the exit doesn’t necessarily mean you’re done… I was immediately scooped over an actor’s shoulder and carried off to the mercies of the monsters waiting outside!

You’ll check in – but will you check out?! Swing by the Haunted Hotel this season if you dare, and find out for yourself… they’ll leave the light out for you.


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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)



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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