Shadows in the Halls: The Ultimate Guide to Visiting the Stanley Hotel in 2023

We refuse to believe that there is a single person out there who hasn’t read or watched Stephen King’s masterpiece The Shining. Do you know that the hotel in The Shining was inspired by a real-life hotel? Stephen King took inspiration from the Stanley Hotel, which he visited prior to writing the novel. It was within the walls of the Stanley Hotel that King came up with the story of his award-winning book. So, visiting the Stanley Hotel should be on the bucket list of all King fans. 

The Stanley Hotel that was built in 1909 by businessman and inventor Freelan Stanley is a famous landmark in Estes Park, Colorado. The hotel offers 60-minute paranormal, The Shining, and historic tours, moreover, guests can also stay there as it is a working hotel, albeit haunted. Interested in visiting the hotel? Well, then, consult our article that offers the ultimate guide to visiting the Stanley Hotel, where we have explained everything from the hotel’s history to its tours and events. 

Visiting the Stanley Hotel – Let’s Start with History 

Freelan and Flora Stanley

In the year 1909, Freelan Stanley built the Stanley Hotel. Freelan was a businessman and an inventor, he and his brother, Francis, made a fortune by inventing the Stanley Steamer, a steam-powered car, and the dry plate photographic process. Despite having all that money, the man couldn’t buy a few years of life, Freelan Stanley was dying of Tuberculosis. His doctor recommended he relocate to the mountains where the air is fresh and give his lungs a much-needed break. Even though the cure for the disease wasn’t invented at that time, a dying name would try to grasp at straws, wouldn’t he? 

The Old Stanley Hotel

Anyway, Mr. Stanley moved to Estes Park with his wife. Not only did the inventor survive, but the couple fell so in love with the place that they decided to build a hotel there. The Stanley Hotel was as glorious as they come. Modeled after the old New England buildings, the hotel was equipped with state-of-the-art facilities like running water, and electricity, as well as a telephone in every guest room. Needless to say, the hotel was the epitome of fanciful and class. It had 11 contributing structures surrounding the main hotel including a concert hall and a lodge. 

The Shinning

The Shining - Visiting The Stanley Hotel -2

Visiting the Stanley Hotel and staying there for a night was what helped Stephen King come up with the story of his legendary novel, The Shining. The writer was trying to get rid of his writer’s block and decided to spend an evening amongst the mountains, at the Stanley Hotel. That night when King slept, he had a nightmare, King woke up with a start, petrified to the core. Somehow, he got out of bed and lit a cigarette. By the time he took the last puff of smoke, King had come up with the plot of The Shining. 

Visiting the Stanley Hotel, helped Stephen King with his writer’s block, maybe it will help set you on the path to fame too “smirks”. The Stanley Hotel was also the site of shooting for The Shining miniseries and the movie Dumb and Dumber. 

The Haunting of Stanley Hotel

“Any big hotels have got scandals. Just like every big hotel has got a ghost. Why? Hell, people come and go. Sometimes one of ‘em will pop off in his room, heart attack or stroke or something like that. Hotels are superstitious places.”

The Shining
Ghostly Hallways of Stanley Hotel

The Stanley Hotel is known as the most haunted hotel in Colorado and is regarded as the Disneyland for Ghosts. The hotel has hosted numerous paranormal investigations including SyFy’s Ghost Hunters and Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures. Room 217, where Stephen King stayed and came up with his book is reportedly haunted by an unknown entity. Even Jim Carrey, who stayed in the room during the filing of Dum and Dumber felt something eerie and got so spooked out that he ran out of the room, half-naked.  

The Vortex

Apart from its haunted rooms, the stunning staircase between the floors of the hotel lobby known as The Vortex is believed to be a paranormal portal. Guests have reported feeling dizzy and chills on the staircase. Some have even reported seeing Mr. and Mrs. Stanley, hand in hand, watching their hotel from the grand staircase.

The Concert Hall

Another haunted area that you can tour while visiting the Stanley Hotel is the concert hall. Freelan Stanley built the concert hall as a gift for his wife, Flora. Apparently, she loved the place so much, she refused to let it go. The spirit of Flora still haunts the concert hall, playing the piano well into the night. Another spirit who is quite fond of the concert hall is Paul. Paul used to perform many miscellaneous tasks at the hotel including imposing the 11 p.m. curfew. He is still doing this job quite diligently and does not shy away from shouting “get out” to wandering guests. 

Fourth Floor

If you are someone who loves children, we advise you to check out the fourth floor when visiting the Stanley Hotel. There you will be able to hear the tip toes and laughter of playing children. Although you can’t see them, because they are not of this world, but don’t brood, if the children are feeling extra naughty their shadowy figures might appear in a photo or two. Also, there is an underground cave system beneath the Stanley. In the olden days, employees used it to get around the hotel and perhaps some of them didn’t leave. According to the current employees, the smells of home-baked goods linger in the tunnel, with no apparent source. 

The hauntings of Stanley Hotel don’t end here. It’s a vast hotel with a rich history, brimming with stores. Each wall and door of the hotel has a story to tell, and you can only hear them by visiting the Stanley Hotel. The hotel is not a scary place, although jam-packed with paranormal activity, the ghosts over there are harmless creatures, unwilling to move on. So, when visiting the Stanley Hotel don’t forget to pay your regards to the permanent residents of the place. 

Visiting the Stanley Hotel – Tours

The Stanley Hotel Tours
Day (Historic)Standard Price – $25Children (ages 8 to 17) $20Hotel Guests – $23AAA Discount – $23Concert Hall, Hedge Maze, Lobby, Billiard room. The tour guide goes over the history of the Stanleys along with some ghost stories and of course how The Shining came to be. These tours usually take place during daylight hours.60 minutes 
Night (Ghost)$30During this tour, guests visit the most haunted areas of the hotel all the while listening to ghost stories. These tours take place after sunset.60 minutes 
Shining$30During this tour, guests are given an elaborate overview of the history of The Shining. They also get to see some sets from the movie, and the door of room 217 where King stayed. The Shining tours happen after sunset. 60 minutes 

History Tour

When visiting the Stanley Hotel, it’s a humble request to all paranormal enthusiasts and history buffs to opt for the History tour. During the tour, the knowledgeable guides will take you on a journey through the Stanley’s rich and fascinating history. They will tell you about the wonderful couple that built it, its construction process, the famous guests that stayed there, as well as the role the hotel played in shaping the town of Estes Park.

While touring different areas of the hotel, the guides will give you the heebie-jeebies by telling you spin-tingling stories of the paranormal activity that has been occurring over the years. This tour will give you a glimpse into the hotel’s haunted reputation, from Room 217 to The Vortex.

Ghost Tour 

If you are seeking a more immersive paranormal experience, then while visiting the Stanley Hotel it will do you a whole lot of good to opt for the Ghost tour. This tour will take you to the hotel’s most haunted parts including the concert hall and the basement tunnels. These tours are led by experienced paranormal investigators, and while on tour you will be given the opportunity to not only participate in real-time paranormal investigations but will also be allowed to use authentic ghost-hunting equipment. At the end of this tour, you will be left flabbergasted, questioning what lies beyond the realm of the living. 

The Shining Tour

Room 217 - Visiting The Stanley Hotel

The Shining tour is a new tour that the hotel started offering just a while ago. If you are a Stephen King fan, then visiting the Stanley Hotel without taking part in this tour would be an absolute lunacy. This is an indoor/outdoor walking tour through the west side of the Stanley Hotel. This tour will take you to the famous, The Shining Suite, you will get a glimpse into the infamous bathroom from the scene that sent most of us to paroxysms of terror and also the famous axe. You will be taken to see the room 217, where Stephen spent the night.

Visiting the Stanley Hotel – What Else to Do?

When visiting the Stanley Hotel there are a few other very interesting things that you can indulge yourself in:

A late-night séance – An apparitionist, Hannibal (Dear Lord) holds a late-night séance at the hotel that allows guests to communicate with the dead. About 2 seances are held every evening and the number of guests permitted to join is 13. The cost of taking part in this event is $100 per person. 

Underground magic show – This magic show, held under the hotel, as the sky turns orange, yellow, and red, is presented by Felix Jones, who charms the audience with illusions, his quick humor, and his mind reading. 

The vault – When visiting the Stanley Hotel, experience the “other spirits” as the hotel calls it, in this whiskey-tasting activity for $50 per person. Learn about the classifications, history, and the best way to enjoy them.  

Visiting the Stanley Hotel – Things to know 

  • If you want to opt for one of the tours offered by the hotel, make sure not to bring children under 8 years old. 
  • The tours require a lot of walking so be prepared. All of the tours are wheelchair accessible. 
  • Purchase the tour tickets in advance as they sell out pretty quickly. 
  • As the Stanley is a working hotel you will not be taken inside any of the rooms including room 217. 
  • When visiting the Stanley Hotel you will have to pay a parking fee of $10. 

Visiting the Stanley Hotel – Cost of Staying the Night 


Visiting the Stanley Hotel – RoomsCost 
Stanley Classic Queen From $349
Stanley Classic KingFrom $359
Stanley Deluxe King RoomFrom $409
Stanley Traditional Junior Suite From $429
Stanley Sunrise Suite From $499
Stanley Superior King Room From $509
Stanley Cascades Suite From $539
Stanley Elizabeth Suite From $549
Stanley Haberdasher SuiteFrom $559
Stanley Premier Suite From $779

The Lodge 

Visiting the Stanley Hotel – The Lodge Cost 
Lodge Queen RoomFrom $329
Lodge King Room From $339
Lodge King Suite From $409
Lodge Grant’s Suite From $449

Aspire Residences 

Visiting the Stanley Hotel – Aspire Residences Cost 
Aspire King RoomFrom $309
Aspire Double Queen RoomFrom $339
Aspire Double King RoomFrom $349
Aspire King StudioFrom $389
Aspire Queen Suite From $429
Aspire King Suite From $439
Aspire Two Bedroom Suite From $699

For bookings and information please visit the Stanley Hotel website.

Visiting the Stanley Hotel – Where to Eat?

Cascades Restaurant 

Even if you are just visiting the Stanley Hotel and not booking a stay there, you can still enjoy the delightfully scrumptious dining experience at the hotel’s famous Cascades Restaurant. This restaurant is located in the main building and caters to even the most discerning plates. It offers a menu inspired by the flavors of Colorado and Rocky Mountains cuisine.  From Locally sourced ingredients to creative culinary presentations, dining at the Cascades Restaurant is a one-of-a-kind experience. 

Whiskey Bar and Lounge 

Those who appreciate a good drink should definitely go to the Whiskey Bar and Lounge when visiting the Stanley Hotel. The interior is cozy and inviting and the whiskey selection is extensive. Apart from whiskey, there are other spirits, local beers, and craft cocktails also available. 

7 Most Haunted Hotels in the World: The Ultimate Guide to Getting the Heebie-Jeebies

Visiting the Stanley Hotel wasn’t enough to satiate your craving for the supernatural and the paranormal? Don’t worry we have got you covered. Just check out our article on the 7 most haunted hotels to pick out your next horror vacation destination.

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