Once in Estes Park we realized that we had never toured the Stanley Hotel and it was about time that we did that. For those of you who have seen or read Stephen King's 'The Shining', the Stanley was the inspiration for the story. Here's the really disappointing part, the Stanley isn't located high up in the mountains in a desolate area above Estes Park ... its actually behind the Safeway within the city limits of Estes Park. (Sorry to be the one to burst that bubble) Even though the location is kind of disappointing the hotel itself is very large and quite grand. We walked around the entire building and looked around inside just like all the other tourists who were there. It was a lot of fun although, I had always pictured it different... more macabre somehow. (Oh yeah... there isn't a maze either... another bubble popped, oh and no living topiary...pop!) We couldn't go upstairs (guests only) and there weren't any ghosts down in the lobby (that I could see) So, I'm assuming they were all upstairs taking midday naps...thats what I would have been doing!
The Stanley has some amazing mountain views and is worth a visit just for that. Just imagine sitting on the big wrap around veranda with a view like this:
We parked around the back of the Hotel. From there you could access many of the rooms (no view, so probably the 'affordable' rooms are in the back) There were a bunch of cute little flower gardens and these cool gates located every 20 feet or so. The Hotel was really striking because of its attention to detail. Even the fire escapes had little details that made them more like works of art rather than a tedius life saving structure.
I really can't believe that it took us so many years to really look around the Stanley, but I'm glad we finally did. I think the kids even enjoyed themselves a little bit.