The Stanley Hotel served as a model for the fictional Overlook Hotel in Stephen King’s novel “The Shining”

Opened on July 4th, 1909, the Stanley Hotel is widely known for its magnificent architecture and surroundings. It is located in Estes Park, Colorado and is very close to the entrance of the Rocky Mountain National Park.

The 420-room Colonial Revival hotel has been featured as one of America’s most haunted hotels and was the main inspiration for the novel The Shining written by Stephen King.

The Stanley Hotel  Photo Credit


It was built by Freelan Oscar Stanley Photo Credit

The hotel was built by the inventor Freelan Oscar Stanley who also built the Stanley Steamer. Stanley’s poor health forced him to move West because he needed the mountain fresh air to get better. Once his health was restored he purchased 160 acres from Lord Dunraven and built the first main building of the hotel.

The structure was completed in 1909 and featured running water supplied by the Black Canyon Creek, elevator, a telephone and dual electric and gas lighting. Until 1983, the hotel was closed every winter because it was not equipped with heat.

The hotel was closed during winter season  Photo Credit


The keys of the hotel with portraits of Stanley and his wife  Photo Credit

He built a whole complex of buildings including the main hotel, a concert hall, carriage house, and The Lodge. A hydroelectric power plant was built for the hotel which brought electricity to Estes Park for the first time.

An antique Chickering piano  Photo Credit

The whole complex is in the Colonial Revival architectural style and it was Stanley’s first choice because of its popularity in New England. Today, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

There are a lot of stories about paranormal activity on the site. There are ghost tours for visitors through which they can learn about the history of the hotel and understand the reason for the mysterious activities. Many people believe that the ghosts of the owners are still around and the sound of children playing in the halls is common. The most famous room in the hotel is the room 217. It is the room where Stephen King and his wife spent one night while they were on vacation.

The hotel inspired Stephen King to write his novel ‘The Shining’ Photo Credit



The “haunted halls” of the Stanley Hotel were the inspiration for the famous halls of the fictional Overlook Hotel in King’s novel  Photo Credit

According to Wikipedia, King had the strangest dream about his 3-year old son running through the corridors, scared and screaming being chased by a fire-hose.

When he woke up he lit a cigarette and by the time the cigarette was done he had the main bones for the novel firmly set in his mind.

Marija Georgievska

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