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The Stanley Hotel Estes Park

Planning a trip to Rocky Mountains National Park in Colorado and do not know where to stay? One of the area’s most beautiful and exclusive hotels is the Stanley Hotel Estes Park. It is just a few miles from the gateway to the national park. The Stanley Hotel has an extraordinary history and is an architectural gem that blends beautifully into the mountain landscape. In addition, the movie “Shining” was filmed here. This hotel is perfect for an anniversary, a wedding, or a romantic weekend for two. Check out our photos and tips from this place.

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Stanley Hotel Estes Park the view from the distance with the Rocky Mountains in the backdrop.

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The Stanley Hotel Estes Park – Our Experiences

Some of our readers know that we love the thriller movie The Shining. So, Chris and I decided to visit hotels where scenes starring Jack Nicolson were filmed. We took all the pictures that we presented in this article.

In a separate article, we described Timberline Lodge, Oregon, where scenes for the movie were also shot. We spent a fabulous winter weekend there in the Mount Hood area.

This post is about the beautiful Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, just outside Rocky Mountains National Park, which we visited during our 14-day Colorado road trip. We had a great time, and in this article, we share our opinions and pictures taken during our visit.

 huge vindow with columns in Stanley Hotel Estes Park with the mountain view.

The History of Stanley Hotel in Estes Park

It is an iconic Colorado landmark famous for its charm and history. The Stanley Hotel is a 140-room colonial-style hotel in Estes Park, about five miles from the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park.

It was built by Freelan Oscar Stanley, the famous Stanley Steamer, and opened on July 4, 1909, as a resort for the eastern upper classes and a health resort for pulmonary tuberculosis sufferers. The hotel and surrounding buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Today, the hotel houses a restaurant, spa, and bed and breakfast with panoramic views of Lake Estes, the Rocky Mountains, and Long’s Peak. It is a famous place, trendy, so if you want to stay there for the night, you should book your accommodation several months in advance.

Antique stairs with beautiful decorative carpets, wooden handrail and paintings hanging on the wall in Stanley Hotel.
Antique stairs with beautiful decorative carpets, wooden handrail and paintings hanging on the wall in Stanley Hotel.

The Stanley Hotel Was The Inspiration for Stephen King

One of the main reasons Chris and I visited this hotel was that the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park inspired the Overlook Hotel in Stephen King’s 1977 best-selling novel The Shining and its 1980 film adaptation.

Stanley Kubrick directed the horror movie. It also was the filming location for the 1997 miniseries TV. We are big fans of Stephen King’s works. We love his novels, so you can understand that the Stanley Hotel was one of the must-sees during our Colorado road trip. Also, we are big fans of Jack Nicolson, and his role in the movie Shining will stay with us for a long time.

Stephen King spent a night at the Stanley Hotel in 1974. According to King, he and his wife were the only guests there as the staff prepared to close for the winter. As he strolled through the nearly empty hallways, King realized that this might be an ideal setting for a ghost story. Stephen King stayed in room 217, the presidential suite with one of the best views of Rocky Mountain National Park.

An antique dark brown wooden desk lit gently by a lamp in the background of large windows with pollux and columns at the Stanley Hotel.
A fireplace in the Stanley Hotel and in front of it a leathern wooden armchair and a small round table with a beautiful old antique globe on it.

The Stanley Hotel Estes Park Features

The Stanley Hotel is an extraordinary place. It also offers four different types of accommodation, all of which are excellent. You can choose between:

  • The Stanley – the main hotel – has classic historic rooms.
  • The Lodge at The Stanley is a boutique hotel.
  • Aspire at The Stanley offers apartment-style residences for longer stays.
  • The Residences at The Stanley are sprawling condominiums on magnificent grounds overlooking Rocky Mountain National Park.
A view from the outside of the front wall of the Stanley Hotel with the famous Stanley sculpture standing in front of it.

Is it worth staying at Stanley Hotel Estes Park?

Should you consider staying at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park? Your decision should factor in both your budget and what you’re looking for, as it’s not the most budget-friendly option. However, the price is often seen as worth it, particularly if you’re planning a romantic event like an anniversary or looking to impress and pamper your loved one with an extraordinary getaway. This hotel is the epitome of comfort, elegance, and exclusivity.

Even if you decide against an overnight stay, the Stanley Hotel is still a must-visit. You’re welcome to explore its public areas, including the lobby, dining room, restaurant, and gardens. Consider pausing for wine or a meal at the hotel’s restaurant to soak in the exquisite surroundings.

The interior of the hotel is a treat in itself, ensuring that you won’t leave disappointed. Plus, take advantage of the guided tours offered to get an in-depth look at this iconic property.

A historic old car that can be admired in the lobby of the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park.

The Stanley Hotel Estes Park Tours

One of our many tours allows you to explore the Stanley Hotel’s colorful history. Read the information about each tour carefully on the official hotel website ,so you can choose the tour that best suits your needs. You can choose from The Stanley Hotel Historical Day Tour or The Stanley Hotel Spirited Night Tour.

Please, note that children under the age of eight are not permitted for both the Day and Night Tours. This includes infants being carried or being pushed in strollers.

The Stanley Hotel Historic Day Tour

Reservations are required for this tour. You can book a ticket through the official website. The price is $25 per person (but $23 for hotel guests). Children between the ages of 8-17 pay $20 per person.

During this tour, you will be immersed in the rich history of The Stanley Hotel. On this 60-minute tour, you’ll meet the history of Mr. F.O. Stanley, his wife Flora, Stephen King, and other notable visitors since 1909.

The Stanley Hotel Spirited Shinning Night Tour

This is a thrilling trip. Visiting the Stanley Hotel begins after dark. So you can go back in time and feel the atmosphere of Shining. You will get to know the dark corners of the hotel. It’s a unique opportunity to experience the hotel’s spirited stories with a knowledgeable storyteller in the atmosphere of the Rocky Mountain night. The price is $30 per person. Book it on the official hotel website.

 The sculpture of Stanley at the fron of the hotel.
 Stanley Hotel Estes Park

How to Get To Stanley Hotel Estes Park?

Take US-36 E and US-36 E/Denver Boulder Turnpike to get to the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park from Denver. It’s only 64 miles and the easiest and fastest way. You can see the hotel from afar, so you won’t miss it.

Looking for more inspiration for Colorado? Check our related posts:

 Stanley Hotel i Estes Park.


  1. I can see why you recommend staying here for a special occasion. It would indeed be a memorable accommodation, not only from the novelty of the movie, but it’s a piece of history. The location and panoramic views are simply incredible. I can imagine starting your day with a breakfast on the terrace with those views in the background.

  2. This is my kind of hotel, the views, the history, and the fact there is a “Shining tour” in the evening – fantastic. It looks like a fabulous place to come at any time of the year and I bet there are some wonderful walks to do nearby. If I ever get back to the USA I think this will be a place to stay.

  3. We would definitely want to check out the Stanley Hotel Estes Park if we stayed in the Rocky Mountains National Park in Colorado. Definitely a good choice for a luxury splurge stay. It looks like a movie set from the outside. With the inside charm I can see why it might be the inspiration for movies too.

  4. Great post about the Stanley Hotel Estes Park. I love historic hotels, but usually I am too stingy to spend money on staying there. So I like it that they offer tours for non-guests!

  5. I don’t think I could stay at this hotel, I was so freaked out by the film ha! To visit would be unique and a must see for the film fans. For this reason, it’s good to know they do tours for non-guests, the views are very pretty surrounding the property.

  6. What a classic luxury hotel! I love such hotels with history, scenic views and good food. I would love to take the ‘shining tour’ and go for long walks. 🙂

  7. The location is spectacular. And this is the first time I know of someone who actually visited a hotel after seeing it in a movie! That’s inspiration. I wish I could see this someday, your pictures make it look so beautiful.

  8. I love it when the hotel is a destination in itself. It has its own handsome persona that visitors would get attracted to. It’s amazing how they are able to maintain this historic hotel. I’d love to experience the spirited night tour and immerse myself in real life mystery!

  9. I love this post! I am a beginner filmmaker and screenwriter. I did not know the story behind Shinning. Well, I have never heard of the book before. But I am buying it and reading it in my cozy living room. Thanks to your post, I now feel inspired to write. I am not a fan of expensive hotels; I usually travel on a budget. But this hotel is worth spending extra money on. I have a trip planned to Tennesse already. So, I could convenience my husband to stay a night there.

  10. I’ve visited Stanley Hotel for several times, but never got a chance to spend a night there. I think one day we must spend a night or two here. It’s a beautiful architecture for sure. One time I did a tour with a big group of ladies. I got to play the piano in the ballroom and after the tour guide told us that it’s haunted. Oh, well.

  11. I love charming hotels with a history, and the Stanley hotel Estes Park seems just like the kind of place I would want to visit if I were in the Colorado area again. I have to admit though, I might have trouble sleeping there just thinking of possible horror stories lol. Interesting place!

  12. What a gorgeous and historic place to visit! I love the visiting film locations from my favorite movies, and this is so much cooler because it was not only the film location, but also the inspiration for the book! And then it is just so fancy and beautiful, what’s not to love?

  13. I was on a 3 week tour in the Rocky Mountains many years ago and only went to my hotels to sleep. So, booking into such a grand hotel was out of the question. But, like you suggest, I stopped there to take a look at the inside and yes, it was amazing.
    At that time, I had no idea that the hotel was the inspiration for the Overlook Hotel from Stephen King’s “The Shining”. That is good to know…now.

  14. The Stanley Hotel is one of my absolute favorite places. Not only is it a cool, historic hotel, but it is in one of our very favorite towns in Colorado. The tours they offer are so much fun!

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