We took ours to the hotel that inspired The Shining. Our family spent Monday night at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado.
Even though I'm a huge scaredy cat, I've now spent the night in two haunted hotels. When we checked into the Clown Motel in Tonaphah, we didn't realize what a reputation the place had -- or that there's a cemetery adjoining the parking lot. This time, our haunted hotel stay was deliberate.
The first time Hubby and I drove through Colorado, I knew that The Stanley, the hotel that had inspired the Overlook Hotel in The Shining, was there somewhere. Sidewinder is a fictitious town so I went through every single hotel listing in the AAA book and couldn't find it.
By our next trip, I'd learned that it was in Estes Park and was hoping we could find it. Things were more complicated before smart phones and GPS. But once you're looking in the right town it's almost impossible to miss --
The first time we stopped there, which was a few years back, the tours for the day were completely sold out. Even if you're not staying the night or taking a paid tour, you can see a lot of the main floor. Doorways to the music room and billiards room are open but roped off. They keep a close eye on that staircase. Going up to our room, we were stopped and politely asked which room we were staying in.
There's a staircase at each end of the three guest floors. I kept getting myself turned around and losing track of the elevator, not to mention which floor I was on. After the tours were done for the night and the visitors in the lobby had gone home, Teenage Son and I roamed the halls to get pictures without strangers in them. This is the staircase outside Room 217.
While we were taking that picture, a couple asked if we were ghost hunting and offered to show us around their room, which was one of the notoriously haunted ones. I'm pretty sure that following a guy back to see his haunted hotel room is one of those things you're not supposed to do, right? We politely declined the opportunity to visit Room 401 and its womanizing ghost.
I loved the old elevator and rode it every chance I got, even by myself a couple of times. And although I was sure that I'd get spooked in the wee hours of the morning (and that my husband and sons had some plan to make sure it happened), nothing about The Stanley was scary.
There are a couple of spots on my photos that I could claim are orbs if I was so inclined. I blame my camera lens and beginning photography skills. Harder to explain was the wall of the room the boys slept in. A two foot wide patch of plaster was very hot to the touch. We moved a chair to make room for the rollaway bed and the hot spot moved with it. The best explanation I could think of was that the sun had warmed the wall, which was opposite a window, but it was just as hot the next morning.
The building was gorgeous and I want to read more about F. O Stanley, the man who built it, and his wife. I wonder if there are any other haunted hotels I could talk my husband into visiting. He's not into ghosts, but the history of this place alone made it worth the trip.
Next on our list of dream hotels, The Inn at Old Faithful. I just checked, and it looks like that one is haunted too.