House Crazy Sarah loves to explore historic structures so when she had the brilliant idea to hop on over to Estes Park, Colorado for the long weekend to tour the infamous Stanley Hotel, there was no talking her out of it (because all work and no play make her a dull girl).
The Stanley Kubrick version of The Shining is one of my favorite films – creepy and weird and who doesn’t love a crazy Jack Nicholson. Plus, I can somewhat relate to the isolated writer with young child who goes bat-shit crazy in the Colorado mountains.
With the Stanley Hotel’s signature red roof and gleaming white exterior, it’s hard to miss this foreboding beauty nestled in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.
In reality, the Stanley Hotel was not actually one of the filming locations used in the Kubrick movie. The film crew shot some exterior scenes at the Timberline Lodge in Oregon and most interior scenes were done on a massive sound stage in Hertfordshire, Britain.
However, Stephen King was so dissatisfied with the Kubrick film that he made his own version of The Shining in a later TV miniseries which aired in 1997. King made sure that his rendering was mostly filmed on location at the Stanley Hotel in Colorado where he was actually inspired to write the novel.
If you are not familiar with the story, here’s a quick run-down:
In late October of 1974 Stephen King and his wife Tabitha drove up to the Stanley Hotel from their home in Boulder, Colorado with the hopes of staying the night. They were not aware that the hotel was shutting down for the winter the following day. With only a small portion of the staff remaining to close up the hotel for the season, the King’s were almost turned away. Once the staff learned it was writer Stephen King, however, they changed their minds and let the couple spend the night in one of their best rooms with a balcony: room 217.
That evening Stephen and Tabitha went for dinner in the otherwise deserted hotel dining room with recordings of classical music echoing down the corridors. King said it was one of the eeriest things he had ever experienced. Later, Tabitha went back to the room while Stephen explored the hotel. He ended up sitting at the hotel bar and talking with the bartender who told him stories of the hauntings and tragedies rumored to have occurred at the hotel and in room 217. That night, when King was in bed, he awoke with a start and realized he had been having the most terrible dream about his young son being chased down the empty corridors of the hotel. King went out on the balcony, lit a cigarette and wrote a detailed outline for The Shining.