Posted by: Nathan | February 23, 2009

A Weekend at the Stanley Hotel

J and I spent Valentine’s Day this year at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. We used the money my mom and dad gave me for graduation to help pay for it, and it was great. Thanks, Mom & Dad! It’s been a long time since I’ve done a photo-based post; hope you enjoy.

For those who don’t know (we didn’t), the Stanley Hotel is a beautiful, historic hotel built in 1909 by F. O. Stanley, who did a lot of other amazing things I won’t go into. On our first trip to Estes, J saw the place and told me she wanted to stay there someday. It was great to realize that dream. The hotel is lovely, as you’ll see. We checked in 2/13 and left 2/15.

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This is us at Cascades Restaurant on Valentine’s Day. That rosy glow is coming from the ice sculpture they had for the occasion. The meal they made here was delicious! We had a Wild Mushroom Tartlette for appetizer, which was amazing. The first course was King Crab Wellington, which is something akin to a crab salad with hollandaise sauce set in a puff pastry bowl. Ooh man, it was good. Our next course was Roasted Beets in a cylindrical shape with goat cheese and pecans. Um, this wasn’t so tasty. I ate all of mine because I’m me; J tried it and decided to pass. Our entree was Colorado Lamb Rack Chops, and they were delicious. The chops were crispy on the outside and very tender in the middle. I wanted larger portions, but with all the other courses I was satisfied. For dessert, we ate the unfortunately titled Chocolate Menage a Trois: pots de creme, flourless cake, and kahlua chocolate malted. The first two of these were decadently chocolatey. The kahlua drink was okay. All told, a wonderful dining experience and very romantic.

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As you may have guessed, here is our room, which was on the third floor. Not too big, but the bathroom was nice and there’s a walk-in closet as well. The bed was very soft and comfortable.

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Our room from another angle. That dresser is original to the building, I think. The flat-screen TV is not. We enjoyed some free HBO (including Flight of the Conchords!) and other movies that happened to be on.

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Here is my lovely wife demonstrating the height of the bed. She was happy that there were steps to climb up with. I didn’t need them.

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On Sunday we took the Ghost Tour that the Stanley offers. It was interesting to say the least. The Stanley is renowned for being haunted. We heard lots of strange stories of inexplicable events occuring in various rooms, such as doors opening and closing on their own, glasses shattering, apparitions, voices, clothes being unpacked and strewn about the room, etc. Pictured here is room 217, which is supposedly the most haunted. Steven King stayed here and the hotel inspired him to write The Shining. There are many other creepy tales, but I’ll forego them here.

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Now we’re on the fourth floor looking down the hallway where ghost children are reportedly spotted. In the early years of the hotel, this floor was where the children played all summer while their rich parents did whatever they wanted. King saw ghosts here, and our guide says he has too. If you look really closely, you can see…the room service cart.

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The lobby of the Stanley is gorgeous. Here is the main staircase. The room extends a long way to the left and right of this view, and there are fireplaces and comfy seating areas to be enjoyed. We meant to read down here, but it was not to be.

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The front of the Stanley. Lovely, is it not?

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Here is the courtyard behind the hotel. The restaurant is on the bottom right of the picture. I bet this courtyard is packed in the summer. There are many weddings held here every year—someone said up to six per day!

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The view of Rocky Mountain National Park from the front courtyard of the hotel. It was spectacular to see the mountains robed in white for the winter. There were semi-transparent scarves floating about the peaks due to the wind.

All told, the Stanley is a cool place to stay. If you’re considering staying there, I recommend it. Don’t be surprised if strange things happen to you though. There were plenty of inexplicable noises I heard in the middle of the night; J thought the banging was due to the steam heat in the building, but the hotel is heated electrically. Also, we found the door to our room open twice—once in the middle of the night. I’m pretty sure I shut it before bed. Anyway, stay first and take the ghost tour before you leave. You’ll sleep better that way.

Other things to know: don’t stay on the fourth floor during summer. Due to the historicity of the place, they are not allowed to install air conditioning, and the rooms get over 100 degrees during the day. Also, there is a lovely spa on the premises where J and I enjoyed a hot stones massage (not pictured). It was pricey but wonderfully soothing.

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Responses

  1. Sounds very romantic. You’re welcome. But it doesn’t beat 4 hours of sailing on the yacht “America” on the open sea outside San Diego, following the whales!

  2. Glad you got to go out there, man. It looks great

  3. Looks like a great weekend. Glad you guys could get away for a bit. I have to admit that the place still sounds a bit creepy, though.


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