The Hotel That Inspired Stephen King’s “The Shining”

The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado.
The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado.
The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado.

For some, a visit for a few nights at a secluded mountain resort sounds like a peaceful escape. For others, it could be a nightmare-inducing situation straight out of Stephen King’s thriller, “The Shining.” The experience of staying at “The Stanley Hotel,” located less than 90 minutes from downtown DenverColorado is likely to fall somewhere in the middle depending on how open guests are to paranormal events.

The Estes Park resort was indeed the inspiration for “The Overlook Hotel” in King’s 1977 bestselling novel. Although Stephen King and his wife only stayed there for one night in 1973, they had the good luck of being the only guests – living guests anyway. King reported several spooky encounters including children’s voices in the hallways and a ghostly party in the dining room. Although the movie was filmed at a London sound stage, King returned to “The Stanley” to shoot the 1997 miniseries.

The 140-room hotel was opened in 1909 by former East Coasters Freelan Oscar and Flora Stanley. Longing for the sophistication of their former home, they opened the beautiful grand resort where it sits in stark contrast to the surrounding mountain wilderness. Renovations have helped the Colonial Revival hotel retain its “Old World” charm all these years.

The Stanley Hotel Colorado Hallway
Hallway in the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado.

The hotel is known for its haunted encounters. Many guests have reported sightings of the former owners behind the reception desk or playing the piano. Room 217, where King stayed that one night, has frequent reports of ghostly occurrences. In nearly every room, guests have encountered inexplicable situations – lights turning off and on, mysterious voices, and things being moved.

If you want a Stanley Hotel Shining experience, room 217 is available for guests. You can watch the movie and miniseries on a continuous loop on each room’s television. The hotel also offers ghost and history tours of the premises.

Address: 333 Wonderview Avenue, Estes Park, CO 80517
Tel: (970) 577 4000