The Stanley Hotel is a 420-room Colonial Revival hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. Approximately five miles from the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, the Stanley offers panoramic views of Lake Estes, the Rocky Mountains and especially Long's Peak. It was built by Freelan Oscar Stanley of Stanley Steamer (steam powered automobiles) fame and opened on July 4, 1909, catering to the upper class. The hotel and its surrounding structures are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Stanley Hotel also hosted the horror novelist Stephen King, serving as inspiration for the Overlook Hotel in his 1977 bestseller The Shining and the 1980 film adaptation well as the location for the 1997 miniseries. Today, it includes a restaurant, spa, and bed-and-breakfast and provides guided tours which feature the history and alleged paranormal activity of the site.
The Stanley inspired Stephen King to write The Shining. In 1974, King and his wife Tabitha spent a night in Room 217 while on vacation during their short residency in Boulder, Colorado. Upon arrival, they discovered that they were the only overnight guests. "The hotel staff were just getting ready to close for the season, and we found ourselves the only guests in the place— with all those long, empty corridors." He and his wife were served dinner in an empty dining room accompanied by canned orchestral music. "Except for our table all the chairs were up on the tables. So the music is echoing down the hall, and, I mean, it was like God had put me there to hear that and see those things. That night King had a dream which would inspire him. "I dreamed of my three-year-old son running through the corridors, looking back over his shoulder, eyes wide, screaming. He was being chased by a fire-hose. I woke up with a tremendous jerk, sweating all over, within an inch of falling out of bed. I got up, lit a cigarette, sat in a chair looking out the window at the Rockies, and by the time the cigarette was done, I had the bones of the book firmly set in my mind."
In 1980, The Shining became the basis for the film adaptation directed by Stanley Kubrick. Kubrick's vision for the movie differed from King's significantly in many ways, including the portrayal of the Overlook Hotel. The exteriors of Kubrick's Overlook were supplied by the Timberline Lodge on the slopes of Mt. Hood in Oregon. Inspiration for the interior sets (erected at Elstree Studios in England) came from the 1927 Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park.
In 1997 The Shining TV miniseries was produced, with The Stanley Hotel as the primary shooting location.
The Hotel has also been used as a filming location for other movies and TV shows; most notably, as the fictional "Hotel Danbury" in the 1994 film Dumb and Dumber.