Standing atop the former site of the Mansion House Hotel, is The Westin-Poinsett in downtown Greenville, SC. Once home to the likes of John C. Calhoun and other Southern aristocracy, the Poinsett now plays host to a new set of affluent social callers. However, it seems not all of the current boarders are of this world.
Built in the mid 1920s during a heyday for textiles in the upstate, the Poinsett was once the twelve-storied jewel of the city. But in time, changes and hardship came to the area, and around 1980 the hotel became a nursing home filled with the elderly poor of Greenville. It remained that way until conditions forced its closure a handful of years later. Until the building’s most recent renovation, a little more than a decade ago, the hotel sat barren, attracting the homeless who sporadically filled its rooms with bottles and waste. Although closed off to the public, one could sneak into the abandoned building and see the deplorable conditions in which the vagrants lived, and often died. Amongst the quiet, unlit rooms other, more eternal, tenants took up residence.
In 1997, developers purchased the abandoned property and began extensive renovations. The Westin-Poinsett opened soon after. Today, guests report catching a fleeting glance of an elderly man who suddenly appears in their room and then vanishes just as quickly. Another business traveler saw an indiscernible figure that remained in a third story window a full five minutes before dissipating into thin air. The spirit appeared to remove his black coat before dissolving, leaving the man too petrified and perplexed to move. Perhaps the mysterious figure was one of the seniors or vagrants who’d come to meet their maker under the hotel’s roof. Or maybe it was an older soul, one who lived before the hotel’s construction and remodeling of the hotel, a spirit who remained to see a transformation from the world he’d once known.
Visitors can find both kinds of spirits at Greenville’s Westin-Poinsett Hotel, and guests never truly drink alone.