Opened in July of 1909, the Stanley Hotel provides breathtaking, panoramic views of Lake Estes, the Rockies, and Long’s Peak. Located six miles from Rocky National Park, the 140 guest room hotel is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places and the Historic Hotels of America. Just an hour from Denver, Colorado, the Stanley Hotel boasts over 14,000 square feet of historical luxury.
The hotel was constructed by F.O. Stanley after buying 160 acres in 1903. The grand hotel was built to cater to the American upper class and was a popular Summer vacation place for families worldwide. The main building was constructed in 1907 and took over two years. F.O. Stanley died in 1940 after finishing his grand hotel, developing a severe, power and water company, and forming Estes Park’s first bank.
By the 1970s, the hotel’s reputation for splendor and luxury was fading into a history of horror and hauntings. The hotel was not only a popular vacation site, it was also the inspiration of Stephen King’s “The Shining” after Stephen and his wife Tabitha stayed in room 217. The couple were the only guests for the night as the hotel was being closed up for the season. After many creepy occurrences, Stephen King was inspired to write his 1977 bestseller. The Stanley Hotel served as inspiration for the Overlook Hotel. It was later turned into a horror movie. The movie currently plays as an uncut R-rated version on channel 42 in a continuous loop.
In the movie, a father accepts a job as caretaker of the hotel to care for it as it becomes snowed in for the Winter. He is told by the owner about the previous caretaker, who got cabin fever and killed his family while taking care of the hotel for the Winter. The new caretaker’s young son has psychic abilities and has premonitions. He is able to see the past and future, including the ghosts who still haunt the hotel. The young boy has premonitions about blood, ghosts, and murder happening in the hotel. As the family spends their Winter trapped in the hotel, the caretaker falls into a madness and tries to kill his wife and child.
Not only was the hotel featured as the inspiration for a chilling story, it is also featured as one of America’s most haunted places. It is renowned by specialists and experts in paranormal activity as one of the nation’s most active sites. Frequent ghost sightings include hotel creator F.O. Stanley and his wife Flora. They are spotted around the hotel, ensuring their great masterpiece continues to thrive and flourish through the times. Guests report hearing Flora Stanley’s famous Steinway playing without interference and finding F.O. Stanley featured in photos taken in the Billiard’s Hall, his favorite place while alive.
Ghost hunters also report hearing or seeing children running and playing, including hide-and-seek in the hotel hallways. Ghostly figures are seen in the ballroom. One ghost hunter reported seeing a giant table jump over two feet into the air. Another reported having his bed moved, his closet doors locked and unlocked, and a thick glass cracked that was sitting by his bedside.