The Stanley Hotel

The Stanley Hotel is one of the more prominent and well-known landmarks in Estes Park.  Some would say that it is haunted, citing unusual occurrences such as the sounds of music in the ballroom or footsteps of playing children on the upper floor when no one is around.  Others say they have seen ghosts or experienced things disturbed in their rooms.  Tales of the paranormal abound here and have been one of the reasons people visit this historic hotel in droves.  Personally, I remain skeptical about all the ghost stories.  After all, being from Missouri, you would have to Show-Me…      

Stanley Hotel

Construction of the hotel began in 1907, funded by Freelan Oscar Stanley of Stanley Steamer fame.  Mr. Stanley and his wife Flora had moved to Estes Park from Maine in search of drier air for relief from his tuberculosis.  Being quite wealthy, Flora decided that she would like to have a guest house built to entice their many friends to come pay a visit.  After about two years and using only hand tools, the hotel was complete and opened on July 4, 1909.  The hotel was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. 


OK, enough of the history lesson…  The Stanley hotel may be best known for its role in the creation of the Stephen King novel and movie "The Shining".  While staying at the hotel (in Room 217) with his wife in 1973, Stephen King was inspired to write the horror story that would later become a major motion picture.  Interestingly enough, and much to Mr. King's dismay, none of the movie's scenes were shot at the Stanley and much of his story was changed in the movie.  Because of the this, he decided to bring his story to life in the form of a mini-series in 1997, with many of the scenes shot on-site.   

Room 217, Stanley Hotel

Adding a little bit of comedy to the macabre, many scenes from another popular movie, "Dumb & Dumber", were filmed at the Stanley in 1997.  Who could forget the bar scene in the "Hotel Danbury" when Lloyd proclaimed, "WE LANDED ON THE MOON!".  

We had visited the Stanley Hotel in the past, but this time we decided to take a guided tour to see some of the things and hear some of the stories that we would have otherwise missed.  Our guide mixed a little of the history with some of the haunting tales, which made for an interesting visit.  Outside of the famed Room 217, which is supposedly one of the most haunted rooms in the hotel, is the circular staircase to the upper floors.  Our guide called it "the vortex" and described the staircase as a potential source for paranormal activity in the hotel.  She indicated that photos taken looking up the spiral sometimes shows apparitions of children peering back down over the railing.  In many other places in the hotel that we explored, the guide encouraged photos be taken, since (apparently) sometimes the presence of ghosts may be seen only by the camera.  I snapped a few shots….no ghosts. 

"The Vortex" - no ghosts here...

Oh well, ghosts or no ghosts, it was an entertaining way to spend the afternoon.  It really is a beautiful place with an interesting history and cool architecture.  Not to mention the restored Stanley Steamer in the hotel lobby...

Stanley Steamer