If you’ve ever been as far up the Blue Mountains as Katoomba, you would have seen the Carrington Hotel. It stands high on the hill overlooking the city of Katoomba. A 19th Century hotel that once housed the Dalai Lama and was the setting of a horrific murder.
It's regal exterior and matching interior are a nod to the old world. Built by Sydney hotelier Harry Rowell in 1883, the hotel was originally named the Great Western and was a popular destination for international travelers, who reveled at the great beauty of the Blue Mountains.
Image: Carrington Hotel, late 1920s Paul Innes
The Carrington was the foremost popular hotel in the Southern Hemisphere, rivaling Raffles in Singapore.
The hotel is the only 19th-century grand hotel still in use in New South Wales. Although its international prestige has worn off since its restoration in 1998, it remains an everlasting symbol of the area’s rich cultural history.
In its heyday, the Carrington saw many famous figures pass through its doors, from the Dalai Lama to the Duke and Duchess of York who dined in the Grand Dining room in 1927, as did the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester in 1946.
But the intrigue of the Carrington goes beyond its earthly encounters. Many visitors have reported ghostly sightings around the hotel and many locals firmly believe the hotel is haunted. Guests have heard babies crying and seen children running around the hotel when there have been no infant guests occupying the hotel. Other reports range from ghostly figures walking down the hallways and cold chills in the Pool room.
Image: New year's Eve Dinner 1934, Paul Innes
John Davidson, former employee of the Carrington hotel, sheds light on the mysterious past of the Carrington Hotel.
People seem to think the hotel is haunted, but I haven’t heard or seen anything happen in my time, that would indicate the presence of ghosts.
He goes on to talk about the supposed murder that happened within the walls of the Carrington Hotel. According to Davidson a former chef of the hotel was murdered by his wife after she discovered him having an affair in one of the hotel rooms. His body was brought down rooms and laid covered on the larger of the two pool tables in the Billiards room.
Its pretty crazy to think that happened here, and that room is so dark and cold it’s easy to picture a bloodied body laid over the green billiards table.
This story, however, is more hearsay than fact. Potentially a myth circulated by the inhabitants of Katoomba.
Despite the lack of murder or the presence of ghosts The Carrington Hotel remains a reminder of a glorious and glamorous past, one where dukes and duchesses danced around ballrooms, drank wine and ate decadent dinners overlooking the romance of the Blue Mountains.
Image: Carrington Hotel, Katoomba, 1934, Paul Innes
Header: Masonic Ball Held At the Carrington Hotel, Katoomba 1909, Paul Innes