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The Stanley Hotel

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The Stanley Hotel is, perhaps, the most recognized hotel in the United States. The 142-room Colonial Revival building is located in Estes Park, Colorado–around five miles from the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. Built by Freelan Oscar Stanley (of Stanley Steamer fame) in 1909, the hotel originally catered to the American upper class; the wide, panoramic views are some of the best available, and both the hotel and its surrounding structures are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Though history knows the hotel as The Stanley, fans of horror know the building as the Overlook Hotel. In 1974, writer Stephen King and his wife, Tabitha, spent one night at the Stanley Hotel. King was completing a residency in nearby Boulder. As the story goes, the couple happened upon the hotel by chance, deciding to book a room instead of heading back to Boulder. They soon realized they were the only guests staying overnight; the hotel was getting ready to close for the season, so King was able to hear first-hand about the hotel’s history. That evening, the bones of The Shining were conceived.

Since the success of The Shining, The Stanley Hotel has served as a location for several paranormal investigation shows, including Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures. Among its haunted places are Room 217, The Concert Hall, Room 401, Room 428, and the Grand Staircase. Guests have experienced everything from footsteps and moving furniture to ghostly giggling and laughing.

As of today, the hotel is open and taking reservations. It includes a restaurant, a spa, and several dining options. However, those looking for an additional layer to an already-great vacation (have we mentioned the views?) can take a guided tour, which features the hotel’s history and alleged paranormal activity. If you don’t feel like sleeping, you can also rent one of the hotel’s haunted rooms.