The Most Haunted Hotel in Colorado

Breya Bergom |
The Stanley Hotel PC: Stanley Hotel

The Stanley Hotel has a notorious reputation for being known as the #1 most haunted hotel in the USA according to USA Today. The vast building is over 100 years old and has been said to house some paranormal entities.

According to Rocky Mountain PBS, Freeman Oscar Stanley visited Estes Park in 1903 in hopes to cure his tuberculosis. Unexpectedly, he fell in love with the area which lead him to build a luxurious hotel. He began his construction of the hotel in the 1900s. The hotel consisted of 11 buildings and overall took two years to build. Stanley brought in large tourism crowds. It is considered the gem of Estes Park. As expected, The Stanley hosted many elite guests such as US President Theodore Roosevelt and the emperor and empress of Japan.

the stanley
The Stanley Hotel was a hotspot when it first opened in 1909. Stanley had originally opened it for his extravagant English acquaintances. PC: Stanley Hotel

Not only did the hotel tend to rulers and wealthy individuals, but also inspiring authors. The Stanley Hotel was the inspiration for Stephen King’s The ShiningAlthough King grew up in Maine, he had grown up knowing of The Stanley. The struggling author (at the time), lived in Boulder, Colorado. He decided to stay at the hotel at the end of the tourist season in October of 1974. He observed the hotel shutting down operations for the winter, which heavily influenced the plot for his first bestseller, The Shining. The Shining consists of author Jack Torrance becoming a winter caretaker for the isolated Overlook Hotel, which is strategically located in Colorado. Throughout the book, Jack begins to unravel the hotel’s dark secrets and becomes determined to terrorize his family. Sound familiar?

the shining
Though the Stanley Hotel heavily inspired and influenced Stephen King’s hit novel, The Shining, it was not used to film the movie. The Timberline Lodge (pictured above), is located about 60 miles away from Portland, Oregon, and was used to film the movie’s outside shots. PC: Shining by Stephen King

Although King perpetuated a haunting tale of the hotel, it wasn’t exactly unfounded. In 1911, room 217 experienced an explosion that took out 10% of the hotel. Luckily, there were no deaths. Many guests who’ve stayed in its rooms report that items have been moved, their luggage unpacked, and lights have turned on and off according to Nightly Spirits. King stayed in room 217 and recounted his abnormal dreams stating, “I dreamed of my three-year-old son running through the corridors, looking back over his shoulder, eyes wide, screaming. He was being chased by a firehose. I woke up with a tremendous jerk, sweating all over, within an inch of falling out of bed.” King wasn’t the only star that stayed in this room, though. Actor Jim Carrey also stayed in room 217. His hit film Dumb and Dumber used the room for filming. Carrey apparently got so spooked that he ran from the room, half-naked in the middle of the night.

Another popular place where spirits reportedly tend to be the most present is the concert hall. Stanley gifted his wife, Flora, the concert hall. Flora is said to have loved the hall and is known to play the piano during the night. Additionally, guides state that many nannies would take children to the fourth floor to “spend their time back in the day” as stated by ABC Action News. Coincidentally, guests have reported hearing children playing, running, and laughing. Surely the pet cemetery located on the hotel’s grounds doesn’t help its case. Guests have said to have seen ghosts of cats and dogs roaming around The Stanley.

The Stanley is known for its haunted reputation, but the hotel has now embraced it and is bringing in some tourists for this sole reason.

The Stanley Hotel PC: Stanley Hotel

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2 thoughts on “The Most Haunted Hotel in Colorado

  1. The interior shots from The Shining were based on decor from The Ahwahnee hotel in Yosemite. The interior shots were actually filmed on a sound stage but made to look exactly like the The Ahwahnee. Even the elevators there look exactly like the scene where the elevator doors open and the blood comes rushing out.
    If you google photos of the hotel, you’ll definitely recognize some the of the scenes from the movie.

  2. Fabulous article! And fortunately the hotel “let Stephen King go” so that he could write that great novel. It was risky on his part to tempt the Spirits. The only thing I’ll question is the Spirits’ need for lighting:

    “Many guests that stay in the room report that items have been moved, their luggage unpacked, and lights be turned on and off according to Nightly Spirits.”

    I thought that Spirits could see in the dark. But The Stanley sounds like a place to visit… maybe not room 217, though.

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