Grand Chateau Tongariro Hotel

Grand Chateau Tongariro is a New Zealand hotel and resort complex located close to Whakapapa ski-field on the slopes of Mount Ruapehu. It is also close to the volcanic peaks of Mount Tongariro and Mount Ngauruhoe, within the borders of the Tongariro National Park, New Zealand’s oldest national park.

The Grand Chateau Tongariro Hotel building was finished in 1929 and remains in a pre-Depression era style, despite subsequent refurbishment.

Chateau Tongariro Hotel
Chateau Tongariro Hotel


Chateau and Mount Ruapehu in winter, 1950
Chateau and Mount Ruapehu in winter, 1950

In 1887 the Ngāti Tūwharetoa paramount chief, Horonuku Te Heu Heu Tūkino gifted the Maori tribe’s land to the people of New Zealand. The intent was ensure the area, including the sacred peaks of Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro, was protected for all time, for all people.

In 1923, the Tongariro National Park Board investigated a site for a hostel to encourage tourists to visit the newly formed National Park. In 1925 the New Zealand Government offered to lease the land and lend up to £40,000 to any company which would build and operate a hotel on the site. That same year a new road was pushed through towards Mt Ruapehu using labour from the Whakapapa prison camp early in 1925. Until then the trail to Whakapapa had been a rough and potentially dangerous trek with many kilometres of untamed country to cross on foot or horseback, wild rivers to ford and mountainous terrain to navigate.

The Chateau was designed by Timaru-based architect Herbert Hall , who based his design on the Canadian Resort of Lake Louise and design it in a neo-Georgian structure of four stories and basement.

The foundation stone was laid in early 1929. Using a workforce of over 80, with the construction company offering an incentive of free accommodation and a free suit to workers. Most of the labourers were recruited from the Waikune Prison. Construction was completed on 1st August 1929.

The Chateau was commandeered by the New Zealand government as an asylum when an earthquake damaged a hospital in Wellington and then served as a rest and recuperation centre for Air Force personnel returning from service in World War II. In 1948, newly renovated, the Chateau reopened to provide accommodation for visitors to Mt Ruapehu and the Tongariro National Park.

In January 2023 the Grand Chateau Tongariro Hotel announced it would close permanently from February as result of a seismic assessment highlighting safety issues with parts of the building.

Reported Hauntings

Grand Chateau Tongariro Lobby in 2000The Grand Chateau Tongariro Hotel’s spooky tales date back to its use as a women’s asylum in the early 1940’s, following the temporary closure of the Porirua Lunatic Asylum due to the 1942 Wairarapa earthquake. The staff tell stories of a nurse named Charlotte, who was said to have died in one of the rooms. It is believed that Charlotte continues to make her presence felt in the hotel, particularly in one of the rooms which was said to be her favourite.

Staff and guests also report mysterious instances of fires stuttering in their fireplaces, and curtains moving as if blown by a strong breeze, despite no breeze being felt. Many also remark on the hotel’s resemblance to the Overlook Hotel from Stephen King’s The Shining, which was based on the notoriously haunted Stanley Hotel in Colorado.

Is it possible the presence of former staff, patients and soldiers still linger in the halls of this remote landmark? If you have a tale to tell about the Grand Chateau Tongariro, let us know in the comments below.


    1. Katrena R Maxwell

      I’m going there to work and I’m Maori! If anything I would like to talk to the owner or Manager to have the Chateau blessed by a strong Tohunga or priest that knows a histroy of this place and can put the spirits to ease.
      Otherwise I know alittle of what I must do to protect myself if these things accure in my presents. We are from Taranaki and I feel we are peaceful humble people!

      1. Mila

        My cousin went there and the tv was static when they first went into there room which is werid because usually tvs are turned off when guests arrive. They also opened their depot one night and a wine bottle was randomly in the middle of the hallway.

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    1. Arthur

      We took a photo of the mountain from the lounge room area. Looked nice framed by the big window. Posted it on Facebook – and a friend commented that the parked car that was in bottom left of the picture was “interesting”. Looked just like a car to us. Until we zoomed in – there was a ghostly white face looking back towards us. Can only do text here so can’t share the photo unfortunately.

  2. olive

    Me and my older brother were in one of the long hallways with the rooms stretched out between the walls. There was absolutely no one else in the hall but there was a cleaning cart left outside of a room, with some dirty plates in it and had a little Pedal down to prevent it from moving. We then started to hear whispering and it felt really creepy so I said out loud, this place must be haunted or something. It was exactly when I said that when the cleaning cart started rolling down the hall at a very fast speed, and crashed into the wall and all the plates flew out and shattered everywhere. We stood there nervously laughing because we thought that was really weird, and then suddenly this really old cleaning lady came out the lift and looked at the cart and just started cackling with laughter. We were so freaked out and we ran away

  3. Hayden

    I read that Charlotte has haunted room 308. My pregnant wife and I were in room 312 last week at the end of the hall on the top floor. It was a very windy night. As soon as we stepped from the hallway to the room we felt cold. We asked if we could have a second heater as the hallway was warmer. We had the heater going for a few hours while we enjoyed the hotel foyer. When we went to bed we still didn’t feel the room was warm enough so we left it going. I woke up a couple of times to my wife saying she couldn’t sleep. Finally at about 2:30am I woke up and I was hot but my wife was freezing and she was uneasy and wanted to move rooms. I went down to reception and asked to move. We got shifted to a room in the new wing and we went straight to sleep. It may have been the weather that night that made her cold and uneasy but after reading and hearing about other experiences on that floor I thought it worth mentioning ours incase someone else had a similar experience.

    1. Sue

      We stayed there recently. I woke up to a vibrating noise, went to the bathroom and observed the glass shower screen was back against the metal support handle of the bath and I watched it vibrate against it while trying to figure out why – thinking boilers in the basement for the central heating or even seismic activity. I moved the screen away from the handle and it stopped. Next morning whilst in the shower I pushed the screen against the handle to see if the vibration was still there but the screen kept springing back to about 5mm away. I couldn’t get it to rest against the handle – very weird.

  4. Carol Whitmore

    Hi we stay there every year for the Mid winter ball, I only stay in the newer part of the Hotel Tongariro part not the Ruapehu part my friends stay in rooms 314 and 315 and want us to stay next year on that floor – no way I sense things

  5. Wendy

    Hi, I was a cleaner there in 1996 for about 9/10 months. I had an experience in room 308 that still crosses my mind to this day. I went in to service the room, however I didn’t usually work on the 3rd floor but I was needed on 3rd this day. The bathroom door was closed, when I went to open the door it was locked, I knocked even though I knew the customer had already left, I knocked and tried again. I actually started to worry that maybe the customer were still in there and something was wrong. I asked one of the porters to try and he too couldn’t open the door so I rang my manager to come up which she did and she promptly opened the door first try. I continued on as normal but this event still crosses my mind at times. We always tried to be in pairs when we had to go to the basement which was daily. Other than that room most I found fine. 305 had a presence so in the evenings when I did turn down I would always leave an extra chocolate.

  6. Bern

    I went to stay at the Chateau in April 2014 for a surpirse long weekend get away with my partner. We were staying in room 312 which at the time we had no idea of any apparent hauntings in the rooms near buy. We had an amazing time and a good nights sleep the whole weekend, but the morning when we woke up to get ready to leave, I got up and went into the bathroom to brush my teeth and my girlfriend was still lying in bed, she was chatting to me through the door way while i was brushing my teeth and then one of our room swipe cards just slipped of the table and onto the floor in the bedroom, ( my girlfriend was still in bed, and I was in the bathroom) we both stopped and looked at each other and tried to figure out what just happened, as I leaned through the doorway to look at the table the second swipe card just slid off the table onto the ground as well.
    Needless to say we both jumped up and got ready and checked out as fast as we could. It was very creepy and I cant explain how it happened.
    I have been back and stayed since but I request to stay in the new wing.

  7. Niamh

    Me and my boyfriend were in room 122. At about 10:30pm I was trying to get him to come and play cards with our mates in the foyer. I came in and he was watching tv on channel 8. He refused to come down and almost instantaneously with the tv remote on the bed, the channel changed to a horror hotel movie on channel 11. My boyfriend jumped and turned the tv off then gladly came with me as he was terrified to be in the room alone. Next morning we turned it back on and it was still on channel 8. With that we also had a large amount of blood on our shower curtain which neither of us knew where from.

  8. Char

    My husband and I stayed in room 315. I could not sleep and in a half awake half dream state I saw a nurse and psychiatric patients being shackled to beds. It was super creepy and I didn’t sleep a wink. I will never stay there again.

  9. Sarah

    I stayed in room 312 one night in transit south on a business trip. It was off season & there were few guests. I think I was the only guest on that top floor in the old wing. For unknown reasons I felt uneasy all night, and although it’s such a gorgeous hotel, I didn’t sleep at all & was totally creeped out. If I ever stay again, it will only be in the new wing.

    1. RAY

      I have stayed there before with no experience of paranormal activity however I want to experience it as this is very exciting and intriguing to me

  10. I was there today with my friends and we had a tour they told us that the room was haunted so we wanted to cheek it out we unlocked the room and the bed had a shape of a human and the shower curtain had blood on it even though no one had been in the room for months they told us the story and for the rest of the day we just had the name charlotte in our heads and we are going back in a few weeks to stay again I am never going in that room again

  11. Colene McBride

    I stayed at the Chateau back in 2008, unfortunately I dont remember what the room number was these days, but im pretty sure it was in the old wing. I was staying there with my Mum. I had alot of trouble getting off to sleep as I couldnt get comfortable, at one stage I felt the sheets lift & someone get into the other side of the bed, at the time I just assumed that for what ever reason it was my Mother, I asked her in the morning & she hadnt moved all night.

  12. Mia Bennett

    I recently stayed at the Chateau and stayed in room 308, with my mum. During our first sleep (we stayed 2 nights) I got really hot and then cold and woke up nauseous. You feel really uneasy and cold walking into that room. While dozing off to bed we heard distinct footsteps above us, then we remembered we were on the top floor. We also did some photographs all around the hotel on different cameras and caught over 5 orbs all over the building and outside. One in the elevator being brown and the others being clear/white and one being pink. When exploring the basement (lowest level) we came home and looked at the pictures and saw a figure of a woman standing in the hallway staring at us. My Nana who also stayed in a different room after 11pm heard footsteps walking from the hallway and stopping right outside her door, this happened about 3 times she said. Needless to say this hotel is haunted.

  13. Lissa pryor

    I stayed in room 111 a couple of nights ago. The room was hot when i got there and I rang reception to ask how to turn temp Down. They are manual wall heaters so I turned them both to off. One in my room and one in the bathroom. After dinner out I went to my room and checked the heaters which were now cold. Good! So I went to sleep happy. In the morning it was warm in my room. I checked the heater and it was hot again and the knob was on hot!??

  14. Kim

    I stayed at the Chateau in August 2016. We stayed in room 101 and had no problem- apart from leaving my hair straightener in the bathroom (after being positive I had put it in my bag). On the last day went into the basement to have a swim and sauna. I left my son and his dad in the pool and went into the sauna alone. After about ten minutes I felt someone or something reach up and touch my leg. I said I know you are there but please don’t touch me again. I left not long after that totally freaked out.

  15. Don

    We stayed in room 224, woke up in the middle of the night with the room sweltering hot, then we heard a woman’s voice in a whisper, we tried to open the door and the door wouldn’t open, rang reception and there was no answer, then the room went freezing cold, tried the door again and it opened straight away so we went out into the hall, waited for a few minutes, went back into the room and everything was normal. Weird.

  16. Jacob

    I stayed in room 311 on jan 27th 2019 for 1 night With my uncle and cousin there was 3 single beds as soon as we arrived things did not feel right walking Down the hall way it felt cold and the chairs were placed in random spots not even facing anything but a wall some doors were old and did not have key cars well we arrived in 311 and opened our door there was 3 beds 2 beds had paintings on it but 1 dint my uncle was wearing is watch but as soon as he went in the bathroom and came back out it was on his bed he was a bit shocked my name is Jacob and we were doing a little video for instagram and it had been recording for 39 seconds so I said let’s see what’s on page 39 of the bible then it said god will appair to Jacob I mean I was a little shocked there is nothing wrong with that I guess it just shocked my out of all the pages in the book it was that one. And it was getting late around 12ish so we decided to call it a night so we can wake up early and be the 1st ones up the mountain in the morning just before we went to bed I heard someone running down the hallway and I could hair doors banging and people screaming at this point I was absolutely sure it was haunted my bed started moving out of no where I had enough I yelled out to my uncle and he said go back to bed so then I did I made it through the night barely but in the morning the tv was fallen over the picture was upside down and the shower was running it was so crazy don’t stay at this hotel and if u do nva stay in 311 308 312 they are most haunted rooms

  17. Eva Judge

    We stayed in the hotel where I abruptly woke up a few min past 4am to what felt like a strong tap on my forehead. I thought my husband may have accidentally tapped me but found him fast asleep on the far side of the bed rolled up in the opposite direction. I checked and there was nothing on the floor that may have fallen off the bead head. The room was at the time super hot. After a while I heard a crack from around the corner then the room cooled right down. Suffice to say I didn’t sleep for the rest of the night.

  18. Ebony

    Hi there, I grew up in the town near the Château so I didn’t ever stay there. But on school and family trips, we’d stop and look around on our way to the mountain.

    Cause we were local and knew the workers. We could look around and check out the different levels during the day. One time, my brothers and I went to the cinema because we’d been told it was haunted. I think it was ground or basement level (this was 16 years ago). I remember the hallway had red walls or curtains hanging along the side. The hallway had a yellow kind of light to it which made it feel dusty and old. We were fine walking along (I was 8, my brothers 11 and 14). As soon as we got to the cinema door, we heard a loud bang from the other side. My brother opened the door but there wasn’t anyone inside or anything playing from what we could hear. It spooked us a bit so we went back to the foyer.

    The second time I was there was as a teenager. We stopped by to see a friend who worked there while on a family trip to the snow. She gave us a tour and we ended up on the 3rd floor. She made a joke about the bars on the windows holding people. We got to the end of the hall and there was a really oddly angled room with a crib in it. I was so scared because noises were coming from the room nearby. Suddenly, one of her coworkers “jumps” out of the room and does a shake as if she’s shaking off something yuck. Apparently, she was cleaning the beds and felt something finger like crawl up her back.

    If you get the chance to speak to the workers. Do. They are likely to have their own experiences about it. Just be respectful when you do cause they still need to work there at the end of the day.

  19. Anonymous

    Hi I was staying there at 1 may 2022 and I was walking by room 308 I look back and I said a lady wearing a white dress and she kept on following me down though the hall way

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