The hotel’s Ghost and History Tour fit the bill, particularly the $15 price tag that bought us 90 minutes of history and mystery, ambiance and excitement. It was summer. I didn’t need a down comforter and the sheets at the Comfort Inn down the street were clean if not exactly crisp.
Toya, a.k.a. drama major and tour guide, knew how to weave fact and fiction into a story as memorable as it was hypnotizing. She embraced her role like a medium bridging the gap between mere mortals and lost spirits searching for a voice.
All this fuss about the notorious and infamous room 217 is just a ruse when it comes to the really spooky stuff. Apparently room 418 and the adjacent hallway boosts the most paranormal activity, at least according to guests and staff, including the lovely and talented Toya.
Originally the fourth floor was reserved for the children of guests and their nannies. For years
fourth floor guests have complained of the noisy children running up and down the hallways late at night, only to learn later there were no children registered as guests at the hotel during their stay. Stephen King didn’t complain; he just parlayed the experience into one of the best books (and movie) of all time, even though the original blockbuster produced by Stanley Kubrick wasn’t even filmed at the Stanley Hotel.
No sign of resident psychics in most hotels either, but in keeping with the Stanley Hotel’s penchant for the paranormal Madame Vera had set up shop on the basement level. Jim and I thought we might want to stop in, just chat, see if we set off any psychic bells. Besides, I
And of course, Madame Vera was busy. This was the Stanley Hotel after all where the uncut R-rated version of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining plays without commercial interruption in every guest’s room via Channel 42 all day, every day. This was the Stanley Hotel, the one featured twice on Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures; the same one featured on the Sci-Fi Television
show, Ghost Hunters. This was my very first experience with a haunted hotel. When the experience concluded below ground in the bowels of this boarding house, I decided it would be my last.
Probably about as much chance as being born with a silver spoon in my mouth.
The bottom line on the Stanley Hotel:
Verdict: It’s spooky, it’s classy, it’s a must see for the rich, the famous and the rest of us. Fortunately the Stanley Hotel can accommodate everyone via a room, a tour, a wedding, a conference or a psychic reading.
How to Get There: From the Denver area take Highway 36 northwest through the towns of Boulder and Lyons to Estes Park. Approximate driving time is 90 minutes to cover the 65 miles of two lane highway between Denver and this gateway to the Rocky Mountains National Park.
Ideal for: History buffs, nature lovers and anybody who loves a good ghost story.
Inside Tips: If you stay at the Stanley Hotel, be aware the hotel’s historic significance often equates to smaller rooms and less amenities, i.e. no coffee pots, refrigerators and air conditioning. Yep, no air conditioning. The walls are thin too, making you and your neighbor privy to all kinds of activities. The hallways can be noisy when guests, ghosts and tours are wandering the premises. Ask for a room in the Lodge (a separate building adjacent to original hotel) if you value amenities over history. The unique cocktails as well as the standard drinks at the hotel’s new Whiskey Bar (really classy spot) are stiff when it comes to the money and the alcohol.
Nearby Food: There are two places on site serving food. The Cascades Dining Room was pricey with a rather limited selection covering all the bases as well as some local and historical fare. Presentation was good, food even better, service very good. Pastries and hot coffee are what’s happening at the Steamer Café located in the basement of the Stanley Hotel. Long lines can wreak havoc with early morning departures in this small snack shop, so plan ahead. Ice cream or a cookie is the best option the rest of the day at your typical snack bar prices.