Stanley Hotel | Accidentally Wes Anderson

Stanley Hotel

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Estes Park, Colorado | C.1909

Photo Credit: @peckafilm

Infamous for its role in Steven King’s “The Shining,” the Stanley hotel has quite the reputation. The 142-room Colonial Revival hotel was built before Estes Park was much more than wilderness, and Rocky Mountain National Park had yet to be established. 

In 1903, American inventor Freelan Oscar Stanley and his wife, Flore, moved to Estes Park on the suggestion of his doctor. Stanley had tuberculosis, and at the time, doctors believed that fresh air could help relieve the symptoms. Surprisingly, after one summer in Estes Park, Stanley recovered. 

Convinced of the merits of mountain air, the Stanley’s built a magnificent hotel in the wilderness to rival the ones on the east coast. The original hotel had 100 rooms, electric lights, telephones, en suite bathrooms, a staff of uniformed servants and a fleet of automobiles. In 1909, famed composer, John Phillips Sousa, directed the band at the hotel’s opening. 

The presence of the hotel contributed greatly to the development of Estes Park and the creation of Rocky National Park. However, Stanley sold the hotel in 1930, after which it fell into financial trouble for the next several decades. 

Stephen King took his fateful trip to The Stanley in 1974, and was thus inspired to create the Overlook Hotel in his 1977 bestseller, “The Shining.” The hotel’s pet cemetery also served as the inspiration for King’s “Pet Cemetery.”

Today The Stanley Hotel is fully restored and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Of course, rumors abound about whether or not the hotel is haunted. Regardless, the hotel hosts daily ghost tours, special bookings for its “haunted’ rooms, and even an on-site psychic.

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