The Stanley Hotel

By Miguel Vieira

Located in Estes Park in Colorado, the Stanley Hotel has a prominent reputation for being a paranormal hot-spot and served as inspiration for Stephen King’s The Shining, which eventually lead to a successful film. After Stephen and his wife Tabitha, spent the night at the location, which was then about to close up for the season, they ended up staying in an empty part of the hotel (room 217, which is still pretty infamous). With empty halls and chairs already stacked up on tables, they were the only guests in that entire area. That night, he had a nightmare of his toddler son running through the halls and screaming, being chased by a fire-hose with a look of pure fear. He claimed to then have woken up drenched in sweat, terrified. But as he smoked a cigarette to calm his nerves, King’s famous novel began to shape in his mind. Three years later, the book was published, being recognized as one of his three greatest literary successes.

In 1903, Freelan Oscar Stanley (also the inventor of the steam-powered Yankee car) was diagnosed with tuberculosis and stayed in Estes Park to recover for the summer, as requested by his doctor. Because of his swift and steady health improvement, he decided to go back every year, impressed with the scenery and appreciative of what was done for him. (In those days, the said treatment was sunlight, a proper diet, and fresh air.) Stanley then lived until he was 91, a heart attack taking his life in Massachusetts. The Stanley Hotel was opened in July of 1909, built by Freelan, though construction was underway in 1907 when he was fully recovered. Back then, it was used as a resort for the upper class and as a health center for those suffering from tuberculosis.

The Stanley Hotel acquires forty-eight guest rooms within the main building, as well as the concert hall, the lodge, and the hedge maze. (Mostly decorated to represent the twentieth century.)

The Main Building

Intended for the enjoyment of male tenants, a smoking lounge paired with a billiard room was created with a dark-stained wood finish and a granite fireplace, embodying the activities that were popular among men back then. Stanley was a fan of billiards himself, as it was one of his favorite ways to pass the time, although he did not smoke or drink, due to his recovery. Going up onto the second floor is a staircase that separates into two individual curving staircases, carpeted in a dark grayish brown. Although, there are elevators available to use if you prefer. In the main building, there also resides a gift shop and a music room.

The Concert Hall

It is claimed that Stanley built the Concert Hall as a present for his wife, Flora. It was built in 1909, east of the hotel as a separate building. Matching the music room in the main building, the walls are creme colored while the floor is laid with a light wood finish. Below the floor used to reside a two-lane bowling alley but was later removed.

The Lodge – The building sitting between the main hotel area and the concert hall is the lodge, resembling the main hotel, only smaller in size. It was completed in 1910, though Stanley planned to use it as a resort for the wintertime-when the main hotel was closed. It now maintains a bed-and-breakfast, unavailable to the public.

The Hedge Maze – Though it was previously used to simply be an area for guests to behold the beautiful mountain scenery and that doubled as a driveway for Stanley Steamers, it was updated to what is now a hedge maze.

Quick Facts:

  • The Stanley Hotel was investigated by both the Ghost Hunters team and the Ghost Adventures crew.
  • Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels stayed at the hotel along with the Dumb and Dumber cast and crew and was the profile for “Hotel Danbury” in the film.
  • On the first set of stairs in the main building, a female apparition was captured on camera. (Cannot post picture due to copyright)
  • Probably one of the most known rooms of the hotel, the one where Stephen King got his inspiration, 217 is said to be haunted by an older woman named Mrs. Wilson, who is completely against unwed couples staying together. These couples can oftentimes feel a cold presence between them. Since she was a housekeeper in her time, for people have also reported that they will return to find their laundry folded, but who knows if that’s actually paranormal.
  • The hotel offers ghost tours, in which a guide will show guests the paranormal locations around the area.

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