In March of 1903 a particularly well-dressed man arrived in Estes Park, Colorado. He set his suitcase down and marveled at the beauty of the Rocky Mountains. The man smiled at his wife, but quickly turned away as another coughing fit took hold of him. She looked at him with a sad smile. Both of them hoping that the dry cool air of Colorado would help his tuberculosis.

The man and his wife spent the entire summer hiking around in the Rocky Mountains. Was long before it had even officially become Rocky Mountain National Park. They fell in love with the beauty of the surrounding area. The climate had also done wonders to help his tuberculosis. So much so that the man and his wife decided they would return to Estes Park every summer.

That man was F.O. Stanley

He would go on to build the Fall River Hydro-Plant, most of the town of Estes Park, and of course the ever famous Stanley Hotel!

The Stanley Hotel Historical Plaque

The Stanley Hotel with its original main building consisted of a concert hall, lodge, and a hedge maze. F.O. Stanley envisioned a sprawling manor that would comfortably host not only his immediate social circle, but much of the East coast elite. It took one year to complete construction, and the party was on!

The Stanley Hotel Bar

The Stanley Hotel Lobby

It's Party Time!

Mr. Stanley returned every summer with his entourage and continued to invest in the Stanley Hotel almost as a pastime. The vast majority of his business endeavors went very well as he made his mark on everything from photography, by advancing the techniques of dry plate development, to the automotive industry with The Stanley Steamer. The Hotel on the other hand was a different story. It broke even at best for years until it was eventually sold to an investment company.

A Stanley Steamer in the hotel lobby

The Stanley Hotel changed owners consistently throughout the years and even ended up back with Mr. Stanley only to be sold yet again. All the while the hotel was hosting rich and famous individuals from all over the world.

What about the Ghosts?

The Hotel took on serious notoriety in 1974 when it was visited by an up and coming author at the time, Stephen King. Stephen and his family spent just one night in room 217, but the impression the hotel left on King was dramatic. So much so that it inspired him to write his hit novel The Shinning.

Ever since then hotel has been hopelessly entangled with the paranormal. Each year tourist and paranormal investigators alike flock to the hotel in hopes of catching a glimpse of one of the many spirits that are said to call The Stanley Hotel their eternal home…

Ron walking up the front stairs of The Stanley Hotel

We weren’t fortunate enough to see any ghosts ourselves, but we did have a wonderful afternoon enjoying a beer on the hotel patio. In fact it is the only place in the world where you can find The Shining Ale which is brewed by Estes Park Brewing exclusively for The Stanley Hotel.

Beers on the hotel patio

Restaurant on the hotel patio

Can I go without staying there?

The grounds are open every day to visitors and guests alike to come see not only the main building, but also the other 10 buildings all around the area. The hotel is right in town and so I would highly recommend stopping buy if you are in Estes Park. That address is:

333 Wonderview Avenue
Estes Park, CO 80517

GHost Tours

If you would like a closer look at the hotel both The Day Tour and The Night Spirit Tour happen every day and have several time slots available.

The Day Tour
- Adult $23.00
-Hotel Guest $20.00

The Night Spirit Tour
- Adult $28.00
- Hotel Guest $25.00

The tours book up a few days in advance, and so I would schedule online ahead of time if you would like a more in depth look at the hotel.

But What If I Want To Stay There?

Even better! Guests to the hotel actually have several options for lodging. The Stanley Hotel, The Lodge, Aspire Residences, and The Overlook. All of which are on The Stanley Hotel grounds and can provide a variety of accommodations to suit your needs. Prices vary depending on the room, and they are all a bit pricey, but considering the history and notoriety of the hotel, that's no big surprise.

For more information you can visit there website here The Stanley Hotel

Us in front of The Stanley Hotel

Mountain view from The Stanley Hotel

A visit to the Stanley Hotel transports guests back in time. Enjoy feeling like a turn of the century aristocrat as you glide down the magnificent staircase to the hotel bar for a cocktail or take in the Rocky Mountain views from the infamous front porch. But be warned, spend too much time at the hotel and maybe, just maybe, you might encounter one of it’s ghostly guests that never left!

Have you been to The Stanley Hotel? Do you have a tale of a ghostly encounter? Leave a comment below and tell us about it!

The Stanley Hotel is the most famous hotel in America | Inspiration for Stephen King's The Shinning |

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Ron Sefcik is the co-founder of Unearth The Voyage.

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