Hands down, The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, CO is my favorite Colorado Hotel and, in my opinion, should lead a tourist’s list of “must sees” while visiting our State. The hotel, known for its architecture, magnificent setting, and famous visitors, is probably know best for its inspirational role in Stephen King’s novel, “The Shining”. I knew it would make my list, and with snow in the forecast for tomorrow, I decided to hit Estes Park today.
The Stanley is credited for inspiring horror novelist Stephen King to write The Shining. In 1974, King and his wife Tabitha spent one night in Room 217 while on vacation during their short residency in Boulder, CO. Upon arrival, they discovered that they were the only overnight guests. Apparently the hotel staff was just getting ready to close for the season, and King and his wife were the only guests in the entire place — that place with all those long, empty corridors. He and his wife were served dinner in an empty dining room accompanied by canned orchestral music.
Following their solitary meal, the Kings were shown to Room 217. That night, a dream struck King with inspiration for his next book. He dreamt of his three-year-old son running through the corridors, looking back over his shoulder, eyes wide, screaming. He was being chased by a fire-hose. King woke up with a tremendous jerk, sweating all over, within an inch of falling out of bed. He got up, lit a cigarette, sat in a chair looking out the window at the Rockies, and by the time the cigarette was done, he had the bones of the book firmly set in his mind. According to King in later interviews, the Stanley served as his model for the Overlook Hotel, the ominous setting of the novel. The hotel in King’s book is an evil entity haunted by its many victims. Room 217 of the Overlook Hotel features prominently in the novel, having been the room at the Stanley where King spent the night.
In 1980, The Shining became the basis for a film adaptation directed by Stanley Kubrick. Kubrick’s vision for the movie differed from King’s significantly in many ways, including the portrayal of the Overlook Hotel. The exteriors of Kubrick’s Overlook were supplied by the Timberline Lodge on the slopes of Mt. Hood in Oregon. Inspiration for the interior sets (erected at Elstree Studios in England) came from the 1927 Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park. (Reference – The Stephen King Companion” Beahm, George Andrews McMeel press 1989).
If you go for a visit or to stay, dinner at the Cascades restaurants in the hotel is a must. Follow your meal with a night ghost tour which will take you through the hotel’s most haunted spaces and introduces visitors to the paranormal phenomena surrounding the 100+ year old hotel…
Taken with my Canon 6D and EF 24-105mm lens using in- camera HDR mode (+2) with the dial set to AV at f8, ISO 640 (tripod and clicker)
“People think that I must be a very strange person. This is not correct. I have the heart of a small boy…It is in a glass jar on my desk.” Stephen King