Vacationing On The Dark Side

Full of yesteryear’s charm, The Stanley Hotel, just six miles from Rocky Mountain National Park, is a magnificently restored historic hotel with million-dollar views. Opened in 1909, The Stanley Hotel is named for F. O. and Flora Stanley. They had moved to Colorado from Massachusetts in the hope that the fresh clean mountain air would cure Mr. Stanley’s tuberculosis. Even though he had been given a death sentence, he miraculously recovered.

Grand, remote mountain resorts serve as the perfect escape for getting away from it all. But that very privacy and seclusion can also create an eerie, creepy feeling, especially if said mountain resort has had more than its fair share of ghost sightings.

“Mr. Halloran, what is in Room 217?”

You may recognize “The Stanley” as The Overlook, the possessed hotel in the screen adaptation of Stephen King’s novel “The Shining.” The Shining tells the story of a man and his family who spend the off-season during the worst of winter as the hotel’s caretaker. The man subsequently goes crazy, partly from the isolation, partly from the ghosts that haunt the hotel with seemingly a direct portal to hell. Come to find out, truth isn’t always stranger than fiction.

“I love crime, I love mysteries, and I love ghosts” – Stephen King

If you do, too, then The Stanley is a perfect destination. Stephen King and his wife stayed at The Stanley in 1973, and happened to be the only guests that evening. He essentially had free run of the place, and as he roamed the vacant halls in complete solitude, he says he had several paranormal experiences that later served as a backdrop in the book. The movie version of “The Shining” was not filmed in the hotel, but King returned to the Stanley to film a mini-series version of the novel years later. Both versions are continuously played in the guest rooms on Channel 42.

Horror film lovers unite

Masterfully flaunting what it already has going for it, The Stanley is hosting the first annual Stanley Film Festival, May 2-May 5, 2013. The film festival will showcase classic and modern horror films from both established and emerging new filmmakers. With the hotel’s haunted history, there is no better place than The Stanley to begin a new tradition that will celebrate the horror genre, and pay homage to the resident spirits. On opening night, the festival will start with a welcome party in the grand ballroom. Guests will be able to hobnob with the filmmakers, and enjoy complimentary hors d’oeuvres and an open bar.

Whiskey neat, please

In addition to the welcome party, and the film viewings, guests will also be treated to an outdoor whiskey tasting party, complete with live entertainment. The Stanley has the largest collection of whiskeys in the state of Colorado. Schmooze and booze with the filmmakers and other guests.

Sunday, bloody Sunday

The weekend culminates on Sunday with the Bloody Mary Awards Brunch. The votes will be tallied and the winners announced, all while nursing hangovers from the night before with a bloody mary bar and a proper brunch.

Going ghost hunting

The hotel offers a variety of ghost hunting tours that guests can partake in. For guests interested in staying in a haunted room, simply ask to upgrade at check-in.


The hotel restaurant, The Cascades, prepares exquisite food, much of it local, and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They received Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence last year. There is an outdoor sculpture garden to explore, or spend an afternoon at The Parlour Spa, pampering yourself. The Stanley Hotel, in Estes Park, Colorado, is about 40 miles northwest of Boulder, and approximately 70 miles from Denver.

Author Bio: Kevin Caldwell is a creative writer for San Francisco Hotel Guides. Kevin travels often and enjoys sharing his experiences and tips with others. You can connect with Kevin on Google+ to read more of his work.