Part 3 of the eerie Haunted Hotels series by Holiday Goddess editor Vicki Arkoff. Sleep if you dare.

Stanley Hotel haunted exterior

The Stanley Hotel — Estes Park, Colorado

This picturesque 106-year-old grand hotel 7,500 feet above sea level at the entrance to Colorado‘s majestic Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most beautiful – and infamous — of the illustrious Historic Hotels of America.

Although The Timberline Lodge is the hotel fans most closely relate to The Shining, it was actually used in only a few establishing shots; all interior scenes were shot at Elstree Studios in England using a mock-up of the Timberline’s exteriors. King, as it turns out, ended up hating Kubrick’s film so much that he supported a 1997 remake filmed at The Stanley Hotel, the historic resort that inspired King to write The Shining in the first place.

the stanley dark sky

Before and since, The Stanley has been known as one of the most haunted places in the United States. In room 407, the pipe smoke of The Earl of Dunraven can still be smelled. Guests of room 217 (including King) sometimes experience extra housekeeping services—bags unpacked, blankets folded—possibly because of a deadly bone-breaking accident experienced there in 1911 by the chief housekeeper. King himself reported that he saw a ghost of a small child on the second floor. But room 418 is the hotel’s most-haunted room, says the staff, who insist they’ve seen the ghosts of children and even their impressions left behind in mattresses.

Stanley Hotel haunted classic queen room

Every year The Stanley celebrates the presence of the hotel’s supernatural, non-paying guests — as well as King’s literary work — with one of the most elaborate Halloween parties in the country:  the annual Shining Ball and Halloween Masquerade Party (which this year will be judged by Bram Stoker Award winning horror author Jack Ketchum, gore film make-up artist Mike D. McCarty, and Daniel Knauf, producer of “The Blacklist” starring James Spader).

The three nights of fright also include a murder mystery dinner and a Ghost Adventure Package including a room on the haunted 4th floor, a paranormal activity K2 Meter, a glow-in-the-dark Stanley Hotel squishy ghost and a REDRUM mug. The new “Doctor Sleep Package” honors the release of the sequel with nighttime reading copies of the Stephen King books “Doctor Sleep” and “The Shining” to take home from the guests’ luxury room. “We expect it will bring together people from around the world for something to remember forever,” says General Manager Frank Wetenkamp.

For your own eerie Shining experience, grab a stool at the hotel’s Cascades Whiskey Bar, just like the fictional Jack Torrance did, and order a Corpse Reviver from the bartender…who might or might not be a figment of your twisted imagination. But one thing’s for sure: he’s sick of customers doing Jack Nicolson impressions.

The Stanley Hotel haunted lobby

For more itinerary ideas for a fright-free Colorado vacation, visit http://www.colorado.com/.

Vicki Arkoff

About Vicki Arkoff

Vicki Arkoff’s magazine work includes MAD, Daily Variety and Entertainment Weekly. She is the author of authorised biographies on Paul McCartney and Frank Sinatra.