The muse for Stephen King’s The Shining, a Colonial Revival landmark built by an entrepreneur seeking a healthier life in the Rocky Mountains, a property on the National Register of Historic Places situated in Estes Park amid some of Colorado’s most iconic mountain scenery — The Stanley Hotel is no ordinary place to stay.
1. WHILE STEPHEN KING’S VISIT TO THE STANLEY INSPIRED THE SHINING, THE MOVIE BASED ON THE NOVEL WASN’T FILMED AT THE ESTES PARK HOTEL.
King and his wife stayed the night in room 217 (room 237 in the film), and The Stanley’s mysterious ambiance is touted as the inspiration for the Overlook Hotel, the ominous setting of his 1977 best-selling novel The Shining. However, Stanley Kubrick’s film based on the book wasn’t filmed at The Stanley, though it has served as the filming location of other productions, including “The Shining” miniseries and “Dumb and Dumber.”
Meanwhile, many guests at The Stanley report feeling the spiritual energy of past guests and employees, including hotel founders F.O. and Flora Stanley. Learn more about Stephen King’s stay and the hotel’s history, architecture and rumored paranormal past on the Stanley Tour and Stanley Night Tour. Or book the Illusions of the Passed Tour for an evening of mystery and storytelling hosted by master magician and “America’s Got Talent” veteran Aiden Sinclair, who uses antiques and artifacts from tragic moments in history to bring the past to life.
2. THE HOTEL HAS A LONG, STORIED HISTORY.
Tuberculosis-stricken Freelan Oscar Stanley relocated to Estes Park from the East Coast in hopes that the fresh air and plentiful sunlight of the Rocky Mountains would cure his illness. Stanley — cofounder of the famed Stanley Motor Carriage Company — and his wife Flora fell in love with Estes Park’s mountain scenery, but Stanley thought the town lacked upscale amenities and resolved to construct a luxury hotel.
Construction of The Stanley Hotel’s main building, one of 11 structures in the original complex, began in 1907 using material from land now known as Rocky Mountain National Park (most of the lumber is from the Bear Lake wildfire of 1900). The hotel, which welcomed its first patrons in 1909, continues to attract visitors seeking the physical and mental benefits of Colorado’s splendid high-alpine landscapes — and F.O. Stanley’s developments continue to influence the prosperity of Estes Park.
Stanley established the town’s first bank and a sewer, power and water company and funded the construction of the road from Estes to nearby Lyons. He also helped restore the area’s wildlife population, and his friendship with naturalist Enos Mills helped facilitate the creation of Rocky Mountain National Park in 1915. More about The Stanley’s history >>
3. THE 47-ACRE STANLEY HISTORIC DISTRICT HAS A VARIETY OF ACCOMMODATIONS TO SUIT EVERY TRAVELER.
Historic appeal mingles with modern touches in guestrooms situated in The Stanley’s main building. All rooms boast perks like flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, and courtyard or mountain views, while deluxe and superior-king rooms offer handmade bedding and Jacuzzi tubs.
For an elegant bed-and-breakfast getaway, consider The Lodge at The Stanley, a cozy, dog-friendly inn that includes daily breakfast (four-legged pets are treated to homemade peanut butter and banana dog biscuits and plush beds). Open in 2016, Aspire Residences is the newest addition to The Stanley’s collection of accommodation options. The double-king rooms, studios, and one- and two-bedroom suites feature wraparound views of Rocky Mountain National Park and Lake Estes, plus coveted amenities like mountain-chic décor, air conditioning, hypoallergenic bedding and plush pillow-top mattresses.
4. TABLE, ONE OF THE HOTEL’S EXQUISITE DINING OPTIONS, OFFERS ONE-OF-A-KIND CULINARY JOURNEYS.
Savor an intimate, five-course meal facilitated by a resident or guest chef, winemaker, brewer or distiller on Friday and Saturday evenings at Table, a chic pop-up restaurant that presents a different culinary personality weekly. Past chefs at Table include Brendon Flood of Denver’s Bistro Vendome and Nate Singer of Boulder’s Blackbelly Market.
Other places to satisfy your appetite at The Stanley include Cascades Restaurant, a steakhouse and American restaurant that serves up locally inspired dishes made with sustainable ingredients (we recommend the buffalo ribeye), and The Whiskey Bar & Lounge at Cascades Restaurant, where you can peruse a menu of more than 1,200 varieties of whiskey and scotch — Colorado’s largest selection.
5. JUST OUTSIDE DOWNTOWN ESTES PARK, THE STANLEY IS LOCATED LESS THAN 6 MILES FROM ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK.
From taking in the gorgeous views on Trail Ridge Road to spying on moose and elk and hiking through wildflower-peppered meadows, the opportunities to explore the wilds of Rocky Mountain National Park are endless — and The Stanley is the perfect headquarters for your adventures. Book a Family Winter Adventure Package, which pairs a stay at The Stanley with Kent Mountain Adventure Center excursions in the national park, including snowshoeing, cross-country skiing or ice climbing. Browse packages for families, couples, skiers and thrill-seekers >>
6. IT’S THE PLACE TO EXPERIENCE COOL COLORADO EVENTS.
While The Stanley is growing as a home for intimate concert experiences, including past live musical performance from Mary Chapin Carpenter, Murder by Death and Leftover Salmon, the property is expanding its year-round cultural programming in 2017. In June, the iconic hotel plans to open a Pavilion Events Center, a 250-seat indoor-outdoor amphitheater and the health-focused Estes Park Wellness Center.