Scary Places · October 28, 2023 0

The Stanley Hotel, Colorado: A Haunted Retreat

The Stanley Hotel, located in Estes Park, Colorado, is a historic and grand hotel that has earned its reputation as one of the most haunted places in the United States.

It’s famous for inspiring Stephen King to write his horror novel “The Shining,” which was later adapted into a film by Stanley Kubrick. Here are some key details about The Stanley Hotel:

Historic Significance:

The Stanley Hotel was opened in 1909 by Freelan Oscar Stanley, an inventor and entrepreneur. It was designed in a neoclassical Georgian style, and its architecture exudes elegance and charm.

The hotel was initially meant to provide a refined and luxurious retreat for guests in the Rocky Mountains.

The Shining Connection:

The Stanley Hotel’s claim to fame came when author Stephen King and his wife, Tabitha, stayed at the hotel in 1974. During their stay, King had a vivid nightmare, which inspired the plot of “The Shining.”

The fictional Overlook Hotel in King’s novel is based on The Stanley Hotel. Consequently, the hotel has capitalized on its connection to the story.

Paranormal Activity:

Over the years, numerous reports of paranormal activity have come from guests, staff, and investigators. Common ghostly phenomena include disembodied voices, strange noises, unexplained apparitions, and moving objects. Some of the most well-known spirits rumored to haunt the hotel include F.O. Stanley himself and his wife Flora.

Ghost Tours:

The Stanley Hotel offers guided ghost tours, where visitors can learn about the history of the hotel and its alleged hauntings. These tours are popular with those interested in the paranormal.

The Concert Hall:

The hotel has a beautiful and historic concert hall, which is also said to be a focal point for ghostly encounters. Pianos are known to play by themselves, and guests have reported seeing apparitions in the hall.

Room 217:

Room 217 is perhaps the most famous room at The Stanley Hotel, thanks to its connection to Stephen King’s novel. This is where King and his wife stayed, and it is considered one of the most haunted rooms in the hotel. Guests have reported a range of unusual experiences in this room.

The Stanley’s Appeal:

Beyond its haunted reputation, The Stanley Hotel continues to attract visitors due to its historic charm, beautiful location in the Rocky Mountains, and various amenities. It’s a popular destination for weddings, events, and getaways.

Preservation and Recognition:

In 2011, The Stanley Hotel was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, recognizing its historical significance and architectural beauty.

Whether you’re drawn to The Stanley Hotel for its historical charm, its association with “The Shining,” or a fascination with the paranormal, a stay at this iconic hotel is sure to be a memorable and unique experience. Just remember to keep an open mind and a keen eye for any potential ghostly encounters.

The Story

The connection between The Stanley Hotel and Stephen King’s iconic novel “The Shining” is a story of serendipity and creative inspiration. In 1974, Stephen King and his wife, Tabitha, embarked on a trip to the Rocky Mountains, ultimately leading them to Estes Park, Colorado, and The Stanley Hotel. Little did they know that their visit would give birth to one of the most famous horror novels of all time.


During their stay at The Stanley, King and his wife experienced the hotel’s eerie and almost otherworldly atmosphere, which was heightened by the fact that they were the only guests at the time; the hotel was about to close for the winter season. The resulting isolation and desolation of the grand, yet eerily quiet hotel would have a profound impact on King’s imagination.

One night, King had a vivid and unsettling dream. He dreamt of his young son being chased through the corridors of the hotel by a fire hose. This surreal and disturbing dream was a defining moment. It served as the initial spark that would later become the foundation of “The Shining.”

Inspired by the dream and by the overall ambiance of The Stanley, King began to craft his novel. The fictional Overlook Hotel in “The Shining” was a manifestation of his experiences at The Stanley. While King took creative liberties and adapted the story to fit his own narrative, the hotel’s architecture and its sense of isolation served as a direct influence on the eerie, haunted hotel featured in the book.

Once “The Shining” was published in 1977, The Stanley Hotel found itself forever linked to the story, thanks to its role as the real-life inspiration for the fictional Overlook Hotel. The hotel’s connection to the novel soon became a source of intrigue and curiosity for fans of King’s work and those interested in the paranormal.

Over the years, The Stanley Hotel embraced its role as the “real” Overlook Hotel. It began offering special packages and tours for fans of “The Shining,” inviting guests to explore the hallways and rooms that echoed the setting of King’s novel. The hotel even hosted events and screenings related to the story.

Today, The Stanley Hotel continues to embrace its association with “The Shining,” offering themed accommodations, tours that delve into the novel’s connections with the hotel, and special events that cater to fans of Stephen King and his iconic work. It stands as a testament to the power of a chance encounter and a vivid dream, and how a single visit to an extraordinary place can ignite the imagination of a master storyteller.