This Western US Hotel Is A Must-Visit For Horror Movie Fans

Although it might be known that Colorado has underrated national parks, the state is also a prime destination for those who love all things spooky. Less than an hour away from Boulder, on the doorstep of Rocky Mountain National Park, is Estes Park. The picturesque town is home to the four-star Stanley Hotel, which opened in 1909. In 1974, iconic horror author Stephen King had an odd experience when he spent the night in the Stanley Hotel's room 217. During his stay, King had a nightmare involving his son. This ultimately led him to write "The Shining," published in 1977.

The novel was later adapted into an acclaimed film in 1980, directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall as Jack and Wendy Torrance. In "The Shining," the Torrance's and their young son Danny (who happens to have a sixth sense) stay at the Overlook Hotel on their own during the winter.

Due to paranormal influences, Jack slowly begins to lose his mind, setting forth a reign of terror on his wife and son. While the movie was not filmed at the Stanley Hotel, it was King's inspiration for the Overlook Hotel.

The Stanley Hotel is now known as one of the most haunted hotels in the country. Many claim that there are guests who never left and that a spiritual portal at the hotel is to blame for its supernatural activity. With that said, the Stanley Hotel has unique offerings for aficionados of "The Shining" and the paranormal.

The Stanley Hotel offers The Shining tours

The Stanley Hotel, designed in the Georgian Colonial Revival style, is your typical lavish lodging establishment. It has luxuriously decorated rooms and fine dining courtesy of their Cascades Restaurant. However, the Stanley Hotel also knows it primarily attracts individuals who want to experience "The Shining" for themselves. In 2015, the hotel added a hedge maze to its grounds as a nod to the hedge maze featured in Stanley Kubrick's film adaptation.

Then, in 2022, the Stanley Hotel introduced The Shining Tour (seen in the TikTok above). It's open to all, even those not paying for accommodations. The one-hour tour costs $30 and allows guests to see a recreation of the infamous room 237. In Kubrick's "The Shining," the room has a notable female ghost and a marvelous vintage bathroom.

This and other rooms recreated from the film can be found at the Stanley Hotel's renovated Caretaker's Cottage. The tour provides photo opportunities, historical context, and information about the hotel and Stephen King. The Shining Tour also touches on the hotel's paranormal reputation.

Tours are offered daily, and tickets can be reserved online. Kids must be 8 years old or older to participate, and the tour is unfortunately not wheelchair accessible. In addition to "The Shining Tour," the Stanley Hotel has an hour-long night tour. The $30 tour takes guests around the hotel's paranormal hot spots. Looking for something more lighthearted? Check out the Historic Stanley Hotel Day Tour. Prices range from $20 to $25 a person.

Stephen King's Haunted Room 217

The Stanley Hotel's grounds are massive. Per a brochure from the Stanley Hotel, there are 14 buildings on 68 acres. With this in mind, it has several lodging options for guests. They can stay at the Stanley Hotel, the Lodge, the Residences, or Aspire. The Stanley Hotel and The Lodge emphasize the hotel's historic ambiance. On the other hand, the Residences and Aspire are for those who prefer modern and perhaps less haunted accommodations.

The Stanley Hotel has what it refers to as "spirited" rooms or rooms that are said to be home to ghostly guests. Stephen King's room 217 is among them. It's said to be haunted by the Stanley's former housekeeper, Elizabeth Wilson. While she did not die there, she did sustain injuries in the room when a gas leak caused an explosion in 1911.

Wilson's ghost is said to cause minor inconveniences for guests. Room 217 is on the fourth floor and can be reserved by calling the Stanley Hotel. However, this is not the only allegedly haunted room on the fourth floor.

Other "spirited" rooms where paranormal activity has been documented include rooms 401, 407, 418, and 428. Book one of these rooms if you dare, but take note that staying in any of the Stanley Hotel's four establishments will cost more than $300 a night. Likewise, availability for the "spirited" rooms is scarce.