Hanging Out In La Posada del Sol, Mexico’s Most Haunted-Ass Hotel

May 5, 2023 | Bucky Turco

Mexico City, Mexico – From the outside, La Posada del Sol doesn’t look like much, just another grouping of dilapidated, graffiti-covered buildings with boarded-up windows. Widely known amongst urban explorers, the location is notoriously hard to access: Round-the-clock security and green steel gates adorned with barb wire makes entry nearly impossible, unless you’re resourceful. I got in because I found a guy who knew a guy. (Sorry for being cagey: I don’t want these guys to get in any trouble. Find your own guy if you want to get in.)

After making my way past the guard station, I ducked into a darkened doorway toward a grand ballroom with a Masonic-inspired black and white checkered floor, imposing fireplace, and oversized stained glass windows; I looked around in awe. How could anyone let a place like this go? Then I spotted a massive Olmec sculpture in a spacious courtyard garden just outside and I got another jolt; this crumbling urban paradise was more of a mini-city than a hotel complex.

The site is enormous, about a half-block long, and made up of several buildings–constructed of tezontle and other stone materials—rising seven stories high, that contain over 600 rooms. Most of the stairwells are decorated in colorful, Talavera-patterned tiles. The stunning grounds include murals by famed Mexican artists, such as Arturo García Bustos, Guillermo Monroy, Arturo Estrada Hernández and Roberto Cueva del Río. There are multiple gardens, fountains, terraces and patios, plus a theater, creepy tunnels and a beautifully-decaying Catholic chapel embedded with astrological icons. 

The eccentric businessman Fernando Saldaña Galván is responsible for this exotic compound, and in the early 1940’s, he enlisted renowned architect Juan Sordo Madaleno to build what he envisioned as becoming the most extravagant meeting grounds ever created for artists and intellectuals. From its name, translated to English as “The Inn of the Sun,” to its many architectural elements, carvings, and artworks that draw heavily from several disciplines and pay homage to various ancient cultures, Galván incorporated esoteric symbolism throughout the property. 

In 1945, due to mounting debts and permit issues, construction abruptly stopped and the hotel was quickly shut down soon after it opened and way before it was fully completed. In one telling of the story, Galván was devastated that his dream never materialized, and in a state of horrifying rage, killed his entire family before hanging himself in the bell tower, near a statue of St. Francis of Assisi and the wolf, forever cursing the site and anyone who enters it. Yes, according to local lore, La Posada del Sol is one of the most haunted places in the world and I was inside it, all alone, an easy target for the vengeful spirit of Galván. 

One Spanish-language website summed up the legendary location like this: “All of us Chilangos have heard of the Posada del Sol, located in the Doctores neighborhood; we have heard its legends, myths and rumors, but few have really dared to visit it since it was abandoned in the 1940s.”

In addition to tales of Galván’s murder-suicide, there’s another legend involving a young girl in the 1960’s who supposedly went missing from a nursery on the grounds and was found dead. To this day, there’s a makeshift altar in room 103 with a little white dress hanging above it, where candy is left by security guards to avert the curse.

It is also believed that dozens of students were executed after being raped and tortured by a notoriously corrupt police chief named Negro Durazo a decade later. One neighborhood resident who recalled hearing about the rumored atrocities, told a local paper: “They say that they locked the students in the back of La Posada del Sol, so that the screams would not be heard due to the width of the walls.” Regardless of which version of events is true, the results are the same: La Posada del Sol has remained deserted for decades and it’s widely believed that it’s because of the terrible spirits who inhabit its walls. 

Before he took his own life, Galván had the following passages carved into a stone tablet on the hotel grounds, that read in part: “I recommend that the vain and the angry without merit be appraised, who tried to humiliate me, overloaded me with difficulties, or climbed over me to increase their own ostentation and patrimony, while I have worked with no truce and no hope…” —F.S.G. (February 22, 1945)

Tips for Exploring La Posada del Sol…

  • Bring extra drinks in case your stay unexpectedly gets extended.
  • Dress appropriately: Mexico City is chilly in the morning and gets warmer in the afternoon.
  • Wear sneakers that are good to run in.
  • Carry 500-700 pesos in bribe money and a cell phone that can quickly connect to a Spanish-speaking friend if you’re still a level one DuoLingo speaker.