Historic Hotel That Inspired Stephen King's The Shining
Something sinister lurks in room 217, and yet it's one of the most popular rooms. Room 217 of The Stanley Hotel is where the nascent scenes of the classic horror novel The Shining first played out in the mind of author Stephen King, who stayed in the historic estate overlooking the Rockies when it was nearly empty. A winding mountain road leads to the secluded, sprawling property, which was built in 1909 and has housed luminaries such as John Philip Sousa and Theodore Roosevelt—and allegedly a few ghosts. It's understandable why the old-fashioned, New England–inspired building is a beloved haunt: every inch has been meticulously cared for, decorated with gleaming wooden floors, soaring ceilings, and traditional furnishings.
Up in one of the classic rooms, a pillow-topped, queen-size bed unfurls majestically on the plush carpet, swathed in stately linens. Decorated to look like a comfortable, upscale home, most of the hotel's rooms feature unique accents, such as cushy chairs and framed artwork. Views of the mountains or courtyard draw the eye toward the enormous windows, and a walk-in closet waits to be filled with puffy parkas and snow pants.
Downstairs, Cascades Restaurant serves up regional Colorado cuisine next to a blazing fireplace. After breakfast and a quick cup of coffee in the hotel's on-site café, docents lead brave groups on The Stanley's approximately 90-minute Ghost & History Tour through the hotel's most haunted spots, including rooms and passages where ghosts have allegedly been sighted trying to chew eyeholes out of shower curtains. Tours lead into The Stanley's underground tunnel, as well as past the famed room 217.
Estes Park: Cultured Mountain Town with Outdoor Excitement
Perched 7,500 feet above sea level, The Stanley Hotel is surrounded by crisp, clean air and gorgeous scenery. Estes Park, the hotel's host town, is awash with outdoor activities that immerse adventurers in natural splendor. Gentle, trained horses await to trot the trails of the Rocky Mountain National Park, and skilled guides lead whitewater-rafting trips down the roaring Colorado River. Hairpin curves whip around Trail Ridge Road, which opens up to gorgeous views of the mountains. After all the adrenaline, a wine tasting at one of the large area vineyards ends the day of snow-capped exploration.