The Stanely Hotel has a reputation and it hasn't always been one that's welcomed with open arms - at least, not for those who spook easily. The hotel itself is quite stunning, featuring classic decor and features that date back to the early 20th century. This allure of the past is what brings people in but for some, it's also what keeps people out.

However, the unexplained events that transpire in the Stanley - from mysterious figures wandering the halls to unusual sounds - are mostly hearsay from those who have claimed to experience them. In terms of the hotel's historical significance, its charm, and the overall experience of spending the night, the Stanley offers a stay that's second to none.


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The Story Behind The Stanley

The hotel was built in 1909 in Estes Park, a scenic - and also very remote - part of Colorado that showcases the incredible beauty of the Rocky Mountains. Its 360-degree overlook of Rocky Mountain National Park has drawn in the likes of many famed figures throughout history, including Margaret Brown, a survivor of the Titanic, Theodore Roosevelt, and even the Emperor of Japan. One of the most famed guests associated with the Stanely, however, is none other than horror author Stephen King.

It was in his novel The Shining which immortalized the Stanley in all of its glory, from its remote wooded setting to the long, at times eerie, hallways that the hotel is known for. The hotel served as the inspiration for the novel and later-adapted movie starring Jack Nicholson, and to this day, the Stanley embraces its pop-culture history. So much so, that each room TV in the hotel features The Shining on a 24-hour loop - talk about creepy.

It's important to remember, though, that the Stanley was only the inspiration for the film - the actual scenes were shot between an England film studio and the Timberland Lodge, which was used for the exterior shots. The original room was also changed - it was actually room 217 that King stayed at during his time spent at the Stanley, not room 237.

The History Of The Stanley Hotel And Its Owner

The hotel, which was designed with classic Georgian influences, was the brainchild of Freelan O. Stanley, of Stanley Steamer. The idea for the creation of the hotel came from an unlikely source after his doctor recommended more fresh air. Thus, Stanley went forth and built the hotel on what is now 32 acres of land in Colorado's Estes Park. Stanley had been diagnosed with tuberculosis and it was believed during that time that fresh air was the best way to treat it. While we know today that fresh air is healthy, it's not a cure; however, this action was responsible for honing Stanley's love for Estes Park, which is why he and his family decided to stay.

Of course, those who visit the hotel do believe that Stanley is one of the spirits that wanders the halls. It's said that his apparition has been spotted in the Billard's Room and in the hotel's lobby, while his wife, Flora, is rumored to have been heard playing the piano. Supposedly, the piano keys move on their own and many attribute this to the fact that Flora had a love for playing the piano.

Is The Stanley Hotel Worth Staying At?

In short, the answer is an overwhelming yes. Despite its haunted history, the Stanley Hotel is a true feat; a work of art that's worthy of being explored in full. Its picturesque setting coupled with the serenity and tranquility that comes from being shrouded in woodlands is second to none. It provides visitors with easy access to Rocky Mountain National Park which is full of great hiking and scenic views, but the hotel itself offers plenty of on-site services, as well. It's said that the fresh air in Estes Park is what helped to nurse Stanley back to better health, and there's something to be said about the nature and atmosphere around the hotel.

Stanley Hotel Services & Activities

  • Day and 'Spirited' Night Tours: $24/person daytime, $28/person nighttime
  • Rock climbing and hiking in the Rockies during the summer
  • Stanley Live: Live music and events at the hotel
  • Brucefest: Experience the horror of The Shining at the hotel that started it all; packages range from $300-$600
  • Aiden Sinclair's Underground: A magical speakeasy lounge experience
  • Dining: Cascades Restaurant, Brunch & Co., Whiskey Bar, Colorado Cherry Co., 517 Club

Stanley Accommodations

  • The Stanley - Original, historic hotel rooms (classic, deluxe king, superior king, suites & junior suites, 'spirited rooms known for unusual activity, and the presidential cottage)
  • The Lodge - Boutique, modern hotel accommodations (two queens, king, mini-suite)
  • The Residences at the Stanley - Apartment-like accommodations featuring one, two, three, and four-bedroom lodging options (good for long-term stays)

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