Nothing provides a chill up the spine like a good ghost story with a haunted hotel as the perfect setting. Pulling up to Sinister Suites in Griffin, Georgia to see a hotel that has been transformed into a haunted house…what a brilliant concept and the goldmine of ideas (in our opinion) for a haunted house!
It is rare to journey inside a haunted attraction actually using the building and its history in the overall theme. The history of the Griffin hotel listed on Sinister Suites’ website is unbelievable and absolutely worth the read before you enter. The tales of the old hotel and some of the residents now haunting inside were truly chilling. A quick summary of the tales are the tellings of a freak show and a man named Bellemore who disguised himself as a bellhop; killing all of the employees inside the hotel including a family named the Meadows. Our team was eager to see how they incorporate the bear fights, the Meadows family and young Cecilia, the freak show that burned down, and to meet Bellemore, the psychotic bellhop in person.
Melodies from the 1940s softly playing as you approach immediately transport guests into the time period, setting a tone and theme we were eager to explore. To our dismay, Sinister Suites didn’t utilize much of the historical location they acquired. What you see and experience inside does not fit the facade, the time period, or the stories you read about before entering. Instead, it seemed as though a bunch of characters and insane situations were thrown into a house. Normally, we wouldn’t complain about the scenes we witnessed during our tour but to be set up a completely different way, original to any other haunted attraction we’ve seen only to experience a standard haunted house walk through was disappointing.
The flow of the tour itself was off and at this haunt, if there isn’t a guide with you leading the way (which completely ruined our experience) it is inevitable you will get lost on your journey. If we could offer a suggestion, have the guides be dressed as bellhops that will lead you to your room only to learn the history of the ghosts and freaks on your adventure through the hotel. What better way to incorporate the backstory than to spread “Missing” or “Wanted” posters all around the ballroom (where the queue line forms) of the characters you’ll meet once inside to allow guests the opportunity to see and read what they are about to witness. A few simple changes could have completely transformed our walk through and would have made this a stellar haunted attraction.
Other than an actor using the word “BOO” to scare us at one point, some of the actors we encountered were tremendous. Contortionists, a few great characters (the comedic clown was a fantastic addition), even one who performed the most amazing rendition of “Let it Go” we’ve ever heard…”Will you help me hide a body…Kill them now…kill them now…” A few of the scenes we experienced were incredibly thought out and executed just not enough for the size and scale of this building. With enormous rooms to utilize, including what appeared to be 12-15 foot ceilings, why not have the scares come from above? Only one of the scenes we walked through actually incorporated the scale of the walls (a floor to ceiling swing!) it was the first time we were aware of the size of the rooms we were in. This scene could have been a phenomenal scare had the actress in the room been directed a different way (her scares were lackluster, at best).
Unfortunately, this haunted house didn’t meet our expectations. Let us be clear. This is a good haunt, not great. With so much potential and a stellar location, we could envision how much could have been done with this experience. Hopefully, we will have an opportunity to see them in the future with a cohesive theme that fits their incredible location. The possibilities are endless with this one but for now it needs some work.