Stanley Hotel

Estes Park, Colorado | C.1909

Photo Credit: Accidentally Wes Anderson


“…Every big hotel has got a ghost. Why? Hell, people come and go. Sometimes one of ‘em will pop off in his room, heart attack or stroke or something like that. Hotels are superstitious places.” - Stephen King, The Shining.

When author Stephen King spent a night at The Stanley Hotel with his wife Tabitha in 1974, they realized they were the only guests in the entire place. The Hotel was getting ready to close for the winter. During his stay, King was working on a new novel but was unhappy with it; so, he roamed the Hotel’s long, empty corridors and grabbed a drink by himself at the hotel bar.

Sound like an eerily familiar scenario? That’s because King’s night at The Stanley Hotel sparked the inspiration for The Shining, King’s popular novel later made into the horror film by the same name. Nestled in the Rocky Mountains, The Stanley Hotel is the basis for the story’s setting, the isolated and imposing Overlook Hotel.

Like the Overlook, The Stanley Hotel has some ghosts of its own. Opened in 1909, the 138-room Hotel was built by Freelan O. Stanley, an entrepreneur known for inventing the Stanley Steamer automobile. A Tuberculosis diagnosis brought Stanley to Colorado, and after he settled in, he opened the Hotel with his wife Flora. The Stanleys successfully ran the Hotel for twenty years.

After selling the Hotel in 1930, Stanley returned each year to visit. He later died of a heart attack in Massachusetts one year after his wife; but, he may have made one more visit to his beloved Hotel. It’s said that Stanley can be seen roaming the lobby and billiards room. Sometimes, the Hotel’s ballroom piano will start playing by itself…a favorite pastime of Flora’s when she was alive.

One thought on “Stanley Hotel

  1. August 31, 2023

    Visited here a couple of years ago. It's magnificent!

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