When I was a child, I loved ghost stories. I would head to the local library at least once a week and check out a new book or two… and regardless of how hard my mom tried to steer my to a new section of the library, I always left with at least one ghost story in hand. My husband probably likes ghost stories even more than I do. (Another reason that he’s my perfect match.) In fact, whichever one of us dies first, we will likely haunt the other one for the remainder of their days just for ghostly giggles. So when my husband booked us for a weekend getaway at The Historic Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado – I was all about it! The Stanley Hotel is not only the most haunted hotel in Colorado, it’s probably the most haunted hotel in America.
America’s most haunted hotel?
If you have never heard of The Stanley Hotel, you have probably at least heard stories about it. The hotel was the inspiration behind Stephen King’s horror novel-turned-movie, “The Shining”. Did anyone else just get a shiver up their spine? Seriously, that movie is creepy! I’m approaching my mid-30s and still haven’t been able to watch it all the way through.
The first time I tried to watch that movie was Halloween night when I was in the 6th grade. My best friend had a TV in her room (I was so jealous), and her mom let us rent a VHS tape from the video store (I’m showing my age, right?). Why that mother let two 12-year-old girls rent “The Shining” is beyond me. But I digress… We made it about a third of the way through the movie before we were screaming, with our heads under the covers until one of us got brave enough to run over to the TV and hit the stop button. (I guess this was before VHS players had remote controls, too. — geez, I’m old.)
Anyway, for those who have never seen the 1980 film starring Jack Nicholson, it’s about a guy who becomes a winter caretaker at an old hotel and moves his family there. The guy goes crazy and his psychic son starts seeing disturbing visions as a demonic presence starts interfering with their lives. The movie plays on a continuous loop on Channel 42 in the hotel. While the movie was not actually filmed on-site at The Stanley, the haunted hotel in Colorado inspired the famous horror movie.
Why is the Stanley Hotel in Colorado haunted?
Despite it’s reputation, the Stanley Hotel doesn’t have a particularly dark past. But after the Stephen King book was published, countless stories of hauntings have surfaced. People have reported hearing someone playing the piano in the middle of the night or seeing apparitions in their rooms. The hotel, in a great PR move, capitalized on it and now offers ghost tours in the haunted hotel. While people do claim to have had encounters with ghosts at The Stanley Hotel, none of the ghost stories are threatening in nature. I guess you could say, if there are actual ghosts at the Colorado hotel, they are nice ghosts.
Our experience in the most haunted hotel in Colorado
While The Stanley does have an old, somewhat spooky atmosphere, I wasn’t at all fearful about staying at the haunted hotel in Colorado. No scary little girls were walking the halls says “RED-RUM”. (Movie reference). No dark figures lurked in the corner of our room. No unexplained footsteps, music, or giggles filled the late night silence.
We stayed on the 4th floor, which supposedly has the most paranormal activity. But no ghosts decided to visit that weekend. (Well, that’s my story.) My husband will tell you he woke up feeling like someone was sitting on his chest. I personally think he just had heartburn from the fast food we ate earlier that night. The picture below is a print out of some of the ghost reports people have experienced on the 4th floor.
Haunted or not, the Colorado hotel is cool. It has an old-fashioned charm to it, and is located in one of the most beautiful parts of the United States.
If you’re looking for things to do in Estes Park check out Pages of Travel.
Our room seemed a bit outdated and dingy. I think they could keep the historic feel and still touch up the rooms and add air-conditioning. The biggest downfall about staying at The Stanley is the price. The room did not justify the cost that came with it. But if you are looking for something different and unique, it is worth the experience. You can visit the hotel and take one of the paranormal tours without actually staying in the hotel. But if you love a good ghost hunt and are brave enough to spend the night in a haunted hotel, put The Stanley Hotel on your list!
Have a question or comment about the most haunted hotel in Colorado? We’d love to hear from you. Leave your thoughts about The Stanley or any other haunted hotel where you’ve stayed in the comments below.