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  • Writer's pictureBrian Childress

Stanley Hotel - Estes, Colorado

Updated: Sep 9, 2021

The Stanley Hotel is a 142-room Colonial Revival hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, United States, about five miles from the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. It was built by Freelan Oscar Stanley of Stanley Steamer fame and opened on July 4, 1909, as a resort for upper-class Easterners and a health retreat for sufferers of pulmonary tuberculosis. The hotel and its surrounding structures are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, the hotel includes a restaurant, spa, and bed-and-breakfast; with panoramic views of Lake Estes, the Rockies, and Long's Peak. The Stanley Hotel inspired the Overlook Hotel in Stephen King's 1977 bestselling novel The Shining and was a filming location for the related 1997 TV miniseries.

In 1974, during their brief residency in Boulder, Colorado, horror writer Stephen King and his wife Tabitha spent one night at the Stanley Hotel. The visit is known entirely through interviews given by King in which he presents differing narratives of the experience. At the time of his visit, King was writing a book with the working title "Darkshine" set in an amusement park, but was not satisfied with the setting. According to George Beahm's Stephen King Companion, "on the advisement of locals who suggested a resort hotel located in Estes Park, an hour's drive away to the north, Stephen and Tabitha King found themselves checking in at the Stanley Hotel just as its other guests were checking out, because the hotel was shutting down for the winter season. After checking in and after Tabitha went to bed, King roamed the halls and went down to the hotel bar, where drinks were served by a bartender named Grady. As he returned to his room, numbered 217, his imagination was fired up by the hotel's remote location, its grand size, and its eerie desolation. And when King went into the bathroom and pulled back the pink curtain for the tub, which had claw feet, he thought, 'What if somebody died here? At that moment, I knew I had a book.'"

As a result of the history and Stephen King connection, the hotel is very popular as it staying in Room 217.

Our experience: we visited the hotel while hiking through the Colorado Rockies and we noticed the hotel have started a hedge maze in recognition of the horror movie "The Shinning" which featured a hedge maze in the movie. Although we did not actually spend the night in the hotel, we walked through the main lobby, bar, gift shop, and lower floor which featured a snack bar. The staff were extremely cordial and the hotel and surrounding grounds were spectacular. This is a must see location if you are traveling though the Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park, Colorado.

Park location and contact:

333 East Wonderview Avenue

Estes Park, Colorado 80517

Contributor: Wikipedia

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