Tucked away in the rocky mountains of Colorado sits a
grand hotel. From the outside it looks like the perfect
snowy getaway, but inside it harbors a secret. This lavish
hotel has more than living guests staying within
its walls. This hotel is haunted.
Or at least so they say. Lol
The historic Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, CO opened its
doors in 1909 after being built by Freelan Oscar (F.O.) Stanley
and his wife Flora who visited the area in 1903 and
accredited it for F.O. ‘s remarkable recovery from consumption.
Their goal was to create a place they could return to year
after year that also met the fancy East Coast standards
Flora was used to and thus The Stanley was born. To this
day the hotel remains a lavish getaway, but not all is as it
appears. This hotel is also considered to be one of the most
haunted locations in the US and, when you book your
stay, you can even select to stay in one of their “spirited rooms’” that
are said to have more paranormal activity than others in
the hotel. So of course that was one of the rooms I booked.
Pulling up to The Stanley I was geeking out HARDCORE.
Y’all know I love anything spooky and The Shining is a movie
I watch every year around Halloween so I was absolutely
stoked to be staying at the hotel (my first haunted hotel even)
that inspired it all. (I feel like it is important to note that The
Stanley merely served as the inspiration for the book/movie
The Shining and was not where the movie was filmed. I believe
that the hotel where the movie was shot is actually located
in Oregon and is called the Timberline Lodge.)
After arriving at The Stanley I made my way up to the fourth
floor where my room was located and to what is supposedly
the most haunted floor in the hotel. Back in the day this
floor was where wealthier children and their nannies
stayed and guests have reported hearing the sounds of
children in the hallway. Ooooo spoookyyy. Lol But in all
seriousness if I heard a child laughing in the hallway outside
of my room you had better believe imma be checking
out immediately. Big nope to child ghosts.
After I unloaded my bags and checked out the room I set off
to explore the rest of the grounds. I found the room where
Stephen King stayed (room 217), a couple of their more
famously haunted rooms including room 401, and even did a
walk through the hedge maze (granted at this time the hedge
maze had just been planted so it wasn’t that difficult of a
thing to do, buuuut it was still fun).
There was also this beautiful walking path and garden right outside that I explored.
After my exploration I was feeling some hunger pangs so I
went and ate dinner at their onsite restaurant, Cascades
Restaurant & Lounge. The food I had here was some of
the best food I have ever had and while a little on the pricey
side I highly recommend you eat here (not that there are
many other options nearby unless you are wanting to
drive all the way into Estes Park. lol).
After dinner it was showtime. Apparently it was my lucky night
because that night in The Stanley they were hosting a
show by Aiden Sinclaire, a magician that I watched
perform on America’s Got Talent.
His show was called “Illusions of the Passed” where together
we would all take part in a séance and interact with
those who had gone before us. It was so spooky
(definitely didn’t help me sleep), but entertaining and I
absolutely loved it. (I have to admit that I don’t really think we
actually contacted any spirits, but y’all this man is an extremely
talented illusionist.) He did an amazing job and I even got the
chance to be involved in the show since I was sitting in the
front row! I would go back to any of his shows again in a heartbeat.
After Aiden’s show it was bedtime….or I guess what would
be more accurately described as me laying in bed with all
the lights on watching TV and jumping at any and every
sound that I heard. Lol I legit did not get more than maybe
an hour of sleep that night just because I scared myself
so much! I personally didn’t experience anything paranormal
and I really wish that I would have taken the opportunity to
walk around the hotel at night and do some “ghost hunting” instead
of laying in bed paralyzed like a scaredy cat. *sigh* Next time.
The next morning I took part in a tour of the hotel and
grounds. The tour guide told us the history of the hotel as
well as a few of the ghost stories that have helped keep this
hotel on the map. It was super informative and again this is
something I highly recommend you do if you plan on staying here.
Our first stop on the tour was to the music room. In here you can
see Flora Stanley’s piano. Flora loved playing the piano and
apparently not even death could put a stop to that as you can
still occasionally hear music coming from this room. Rumor
has it that a man decided to test his skills on the piano and, angered
by his audacity, Flora slammed the keyboard cover down on
top of his fingers. That man should have known better than
to touch a lady’s piano without permission.
Next stop was the dining room. In June 1911 chambermaid Elizabeth
Wilson went room to room with the other chambermaids
lighting backup acetylene lamps after a storm took out the
power to the hotel. Elizabeth entered room 217 candle in hand
unaware of a gas leak within the room. Upon entering an
explosion occurred and she was thrown through the floor
into the dining room below. Elizabeth survived, but suffered
two shattered ankles. F.O. Stanley paid for all her medical
expenses and made her head chambermaid and she remained
working at the Stanley until her death in the 1950s. Elizabeth
is another one of the ghosts thought to haunt this hotel with
her main place of haunting occurring in room 217
(the “Stephen King room”). She has been known to complete
maidly duties such as tidy the room and put your shoes neatly
by the door, she has tucked in guests, and has even been known
to force unmarried couples apart who dare to share the same bed.
We continued through the rest of the hotel visiting all the
main spots both in terms of history and hauntings. One really
cool thing that we saw was this random set of stairs across
from the haunted room 401. If you venture over to the stairs
and look up this is what you will see…
The final stop on the tour was through the underground tunnels
that sit beneath The Stanley. (Fun fact! The Stanley was
actually built on top of a cave system which is where these
tunnels come from!) As with most creepy tunnels this one
has been known to also have it’s fair share of paranormal moments.
Currently the tunnel’s purpose is to aid staff in getting around
the hotel and some believe the ghosts that haunt the tunnel
are actually former staff members! Oh and a gray cat. Lol
And that was my stay at the gorgeous Stanley Hotel. I really
would love to go back and stay again sometime especially for
Halloween since they host a Halloween party called The Shining
Ball every year. Have you visited The Stanley? What haunted hotels
have you stayed at? Let me know in the comments!