Estes Park, CO | Historic, Haunted Stanley Hotel

The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, CO which inspired the Stephen King Book "The Shining"

(800) 976-1377

Just six miles from Rocky Mountain National Park and towering above the small mountain town of Estes Park, The Stanley Hotel should be included in every visitors to do list. Painted bright white and designed with a Georgian architectural style, The Stanley Hotel has been part of Rocky Mountain National Park’s history since 1909 and even was the inspiration behind one of Stephen King’s scariest stories The Shining. Oh yeah, it’s also considered to be haunted too. (You know, just in case you’re into that type of stuff….)

Stanley Hotel History

When F.O. Stanley first arrived in Estes Park during the summer of 1903 on doctors orders, he had no idea he would fall in love the surrounding area. An accomplished businessman, Stanley quickly recognized that the small mountain town filled with a few colorful characters lacked many amenities. F.O.’s wife also missed her Denver society friends. He saw an opportunity to both make money and make his wife happy by investing in his new found home.

To start things off, Stanley bought 160 acres from Lord Dunraven, a wealthy landowner at the time, and quickly went to work building a luxury summer resort for businessman, dignitaries, and politicians. In 1909 The Stanley Hotel officially opened and though it took a few years to fully take off, the 138-guestroom hotel soon became a destination for summertime visitors. After Stanly’s death, the hotel changed ownership and became rundown. Today it has since been through a major multimillion dollar renovation, restoring the property back to it’s grandiose standards. Over the period of the hotels existence four Presidents, The Emperor and Empress of Japan, and Johnny Cash have all stayed the night.

The hotel also has some supernatural history such as a lady ghost that plays the piano in the music hall. It was the inspiration for Stephen King’s book, The Shining. Although the movie starring Jack Nicholson was filmed elsewhere, the later TV movie was filmed at The Stanley.

And then there’s the car – the Stanley Steamer. Yes, F.O. Stanley was the inventor of the steam-powered car and it made many trips up into the Rocky Mountains to reach the hotel. You can see the original Steamer in a small museum in the lower level of the hotel.

Stay in a Haunted Room

Take if from us, if you can, make sure to stay in room 217. Not only is it the presidential suite with some of the best views of Rocky Mountain National Park, but it’s also the room Stephen King stayed in when starting to write The Shining. It’s been rumored funnyman Jim Carry himself couldn’t even make it through a night in the room, so you know things must be a bit off. Bookings go quickly so make sure to reserve a few months in advance, and always remember to be nice to the folks at the reservation desk, since you know, they have the power to say yes.

Other famously haunted rooms include 418 where guests have repeatedly complained about the noise of young children playing in the hall outside, and room 407, which is where it is believed Lord Dunraven still resides. Rumor has it the Lord used to hide in the closet and stare at the nannies who lived in the room during the first few years of the hotel. (Creepy, we know) It’s so creepy some people won’t even go into the room according to hotel staff.

Stanley Hotel Ghost Tours

Don’t worry though you won’t have to experience this all by yourself, and if you’re really paranoid think second floor where the least amount of supernatural occurrences have been reported. Of course, if you want the full story make sure to check out the hotels ghost tours, where visitors walk through the hallways that it is rumored F.O. himself roams as his wife Flora plays the piano in the ballroom downstairs.

More Information:
The Stanley Hotel
333 Wonderview Avenue  Estes Park, CO 80517
Reservations: 1-800-976-1377