If you fear ghosts, don’t sleep in Room 217 at Estes Park’s Stanley Hotel.It’s haunted.Wishing to get away from Boulder for a quick weekend getaway in October 1974, Stephen and Tabitha King drove to Estes Park and booked a room at the Stanley Hotel. Room 217. It was the last day of the season and they were the only guests in the hotel. That evening Stephen and Tabitha ate dinner alone in the grand dining room with the other chairs stacked up on tables. Taped orchestral music echoed through the deserted halls.After Tabitha turned in for the night, Stephen wandered the empty hotel. Something about the old place stirred his imagination. When he finally came to bed, his imagination came to life."That night I dreamed of my three-year-old son running through the corridors, looking back over his shoulder, eyes wide, screaming,” King said. “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."Did spirits in Room 217 inspire King to write “The Shining?”Many remember Jack Nicholson’s crazed words “Here’s Johnny” in Stanley Kubrick’s movie version of the novel, but King wasn’t happy with the adaptation. The script veered from the book, the interiors were shot in England and the exterior was a snowbound hotel in Mount Hood, Oregon. So in 1997 when King decided to shoot a TV mini-series based on his novel, he returned to Estes Park and the Stanley Hotel. Not only is the movie true to his word but the hotel is a major character in the film.If you’d like to see Room 217 but are too afraid to stay there, take the Stanley Hotel’s Ghost and History Tour. Not only will the tour explore the haunted room and the hotel’s other spooky places, but it will give you an overview of the Stanley Hotel’s fascinating history.Inventor F.O. Stanley and his Stanley Steamer arrived in Estes Park in 1903, forced to move west because of ill health. He built the Stanley Hotel on 160 acres he purchased from Lord Dunraven and opened it in 1909. In the following years, the hotel has hosted such luminaries as the Unsinkable Molly Brown, Theodore Roosevelt, John Philip Sousa and, of course, Stephen King. The 138-room Georgian hotel is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, is a member of Historic Hotels of America, and is known as one of the most haunted hotels in the world.Call 970-577-4110 today to reserve your spot on the Stanley Hotel Ghost and Historic Ghost Tour. Or, if you have the courage, book a room at the Stanley Hotel. Ask for Room 217.
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