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“Shining” at the Stanley Hotel…

During my road trip of 2018, I was blessed to be able to spend time with my dear friend, Darby. She has the coolest name right? Anyways, she invited me to stay at her homestead while I toured some of the many wonderful things that Colorado has to offer. At the VERY tippy top of my list was the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. Why? Well, if you must know, the Stanley is known for film and tv locations, along with something of a haunted, spooky past. So let’s check in and see what we find!


Darby and I headed to the Stanley after the most perfect afternoon of shopping and eating in Estes Park, along with hiking in the Colorado Rockies.  As if our day could not get any better, we had a ghost tour scheduled at the Stanley for the evening.  I don’t think it gets any better than being at the hotel where Stephen King himself not only stayed but got inspired to write “The Shining.” (If you haven’t read it, you have homework, or go stream the movie).  Side note, people get this Hotel confused with the one from the Jack Nicholson movie. The “idea” of “The Shining” was BORN at the Stanley…the MOVIE was filmed at “The Timberline Lodge” on Mount Hood in Oregon. BOTH are considered “The Overlook Hotel” in the book.  Hopefully that made sense.


The Stanley Hotel, with its 140 rooms and 14,000 square feet, allows guest to check in for an evening or for a long term stay. Opened in 1909, it was one of the first in this area of the Country to have electricity, phones, and bathrooms in the rooms. In the shadow of the Rockies, it was a jewel found amongst the snowy wilderness- almost out of place.  Ironically, the hotel was on a decline in the 1970’s until Stephen King paid a visit, and it became one of the hottest hotels for a peek at the “other side.”

Because we were there for a ghost tour, so we didn’t have to pay to get in or for parking. Normally they charge a $10 daily fee for folks to come check out the hotel. So if you can’t take a ghost tour, or can’t afford a stay, you can at least pay the nominal fee and take a look around. They will let you know what is open to the public, and what is only available to the guests. When you pay the $10 at the gate, they give you a Stanley Medallion to keep or use at the Whiskey Bar inside. A win win.


The haunted rooms, specifically the one Stephen King stayed in, was room 217. There are also spooky tales around rooms 401, 407, and 428. Basically, the 4th floor is a hot spot.  The grand staircase, which is front and center the minute you walk into the hotel, has had many ghost sightings of a woman and child walking the stairs. I will say, the vibe on the stairs is unsettling as there are many portraits of the Stanley family staring at you- very “Haunted Mansion.”


Take a trip to the basement, as there are lots of photos of the filming of the Shining TV series and props from the movie. This is also where the ghost tours gather before heading out into the damp and dark. I will be writing another post about JUST the ghost tour, so look for that soon!


Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!


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