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"The Shining" Hotel Location

Danny Torrance inside the Overlook Hotel

Danny Torrance inside the Overlook Hotel

Is the Overlook Hotel in The Shining a Real Place?

If you have ever read the Stephen King book The Shining or watched Stanley Kubrick's film adaptation, you will know that it is a particularly disturbing story. Whether you view it as a good old fashioned ghost story or a tense study of one man's psychological disintegration, it is frighteningly good.

The story revolves around the Torrance family and their stay at the Overlook Hotel. The family is alone in the hotel, with Jack Torrance having taken a job as a winter caretaker during the offseason. Jack has a drinking problem whilst his young son Danny has a psychic ability ("the shining"). They both fall under the spell of the villain of the story; the Hotel.

The Overlook Hotel is the brooding presence pervading every scene of the story. It is the hotel that wants to absorb Danny's ability and does its best to possess him by driving Jack mad in order to use him to kill his son. The hotel's isolation is in itself foreboding, but the apparently sentient building gradually cranks up the pressure by conjuring an ever-increasing quantity of ghosts and terrifying visions, from scary ghost twins to torrents of blood, until Jack cracks and pursues his wife and child in a murderous rampage.

Sadly, the Overlook Hotel doesn't actually exist; it is instead an amalgam of several different places. Here are the locations that make up The Shining Hotel.

The Stanley Hotel, inspiration for "The Shining"

The Stanley Hotel, inspiration for "The Shining"

The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado

King was inspired to write The Shining following a short visit to The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. King and his wife drove to the hotel without making a reservation and were nearly turned away; the hotel was closing for the season the next day and the Kings were the only two guests. The couple dined alone in a vast dining room listening to a taped orchestra and made their way back to Room 217 along long dark corridors. King was unable to sleep and found his way to the bar where he was entertained by the bartender, Grady. By the next morning, King had his story.

King is by no means the first celebrity to stay at the Stanley Hotel. The neo-Georgian hotel opened in 1909 and has played host to a string of rich and famous guests, including Theodore Roosevelt, Emperor Hirohito of Japan, Cary Grant and Bob Dylan. Both the building and the surrounding land are listed on the US Register of Historic Places.

It should come as no surprise that the Stanley Hotel is reputedly haunted. Many guests have reported ghosts in their rooms and hotel employees have heard the sounds of a party and a piano playing in the ballroom, though it is found to be empty upon investigating. Should you wish to check in, try Room 418, which is said to be the most haunted. If you do stay, don't forget to tune your television into Channel 42—"The Shining" is shown on a continuous loop!

The management of the Stanley Hotel isn't shy of the connection to King or of the reputed hauntings. Indeed, they now run tours of the hotel for those interested in these aspects of the hotel.

Where to Find the Stanley Hotel

The Timberline Hotel provided external shots for "The Shining"

The Timberline Hotel provided external shots for "The Shining"

The Timberline Lodge in Mount Hood, Oregon

Whilst the cast and first crew stayed in England to shoot the film, Kubrick dispatched a second unit to Oregon to get some outside shots. If you visit the Timberline Lodge you will be disappointed to find that in reality there is no maze. Although a famous scene takes place outside the Overlook Hotel in a hedge maze, it doesn't actually exist. The management of the Lodge also made their own change to the story. In the book, the most sinister room at the Overlook Hotel is Room 217. As there is a Room 217 at the Timberline Lodge, they asked that the number be changed so that people didn't avoid the room. In Kubrick's film it is Room 237 that the family are told to avoid.

The Timberline Lodge was built in the 1930s as a government-sponsored project during the Depression. The Shining isn't the only film to have featured the Lodge. Jingle Bells, Bend of the River, All the Young Men and Lost Horizon have all used it as a location. In 1981, director Boris Sagal was killed at the hotel when he strayed under the blades of a helicopter landing in the parking lot.

The Timberline Lodge doesn't trade on its connection to The Shining. It has a fine reputation as a ski lodge and is set in an area of outstanding natural scenery. Like the Stanley Hotel, the Timberline is listed on the US Register of Historic Places and it's a US National Historic Landmark.

The Timberline Hotel's Location

The Great Lounge at the Ahwahnee Hotel was featured in "The Shining," with a few modifications.

The Great Lounge at the Ahwahnee Hotel was featured in "The Shining," with a few modifications.

The Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park, California

The Ahwahnee Hotel was built to take advantage of its natural surroundings. It is positioned near the Yosemite Falls, Half Dome and Glacier Point. Kubrick wasn't interested in its exterior though, he was inspired by its interior. In particular, he was impressed by the hotel's Great Lounge, although he made some modifications on his set. The hotel also has some very distinctive red- and black-framed elevator doors. These were reproduced in the film.

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The hotel opened in 1927 and was designed to sit harmoniously in its stunning surroundings. Since it opened, it has been steadily modernised and is now a popular tourist destination.

The Overlook Hotel was actually at Elstree Studios

The Overlook Hotel was actually at Elstree Studios

The Overlook Hotel at EMI Elstree Studios, Hertfordshire, UK

The cast of The Shining didn't actually visit any of the hotels mentioned above during filming. Kubrick had an enormous set built at Elstree Studios which included the whole exterior of the Overlook Hotel. At the time, this set was the largest ever built. So, sadly, the Overlook Hotel no longer exists, other than on paper or film. Whilst you can't tour the studios at Elstree, you can book in for parties or events at various venues around the site.

The Overlook Hotel in Misery

The Overlook Hotel doesn't just appear in The Shining. King's novel Misery also has a brief mention of the Overlook Hotel and the fate of Jack Torrance. Annie Wilkes, the deranged nurse who takes writer Paul Sheldon hostage, makes reference to the hotel. She says that the hotel is now ruined and that a man (not mentioned by name, but referring to Torrance) went mad there. Wilkes says that these events happened 10 years before.

"The Shining" Movie Trivia

Jack Nicholson played Jack Torrance, but other actors considered for the part included:

  • Harrison Ford
  • Robert De Niro
  • Jon Voigt
  • Robin Williams

Shelley Duvall and Stanley Kubrick didn't get on. The stress caused Ms Duvall to lose her hair during filming.

Duvall and Kubrick were both nominated for "Razzies" for Worst Actress and Worst Director.

The Shining Quiz


Judi Brown (author) from UK on April 30, 2015:

Hi Colin - the book seems to get most people's vote! Nonetheless, it's a great movie. Thanks for your comments, I appreciate them.

Colin Garrow from Inverbervie, Scotland on April 30, 2015:

Very interesting - being a SK and Kubrick fan, I thought I knew quite a bit about both the book and the movie, but turns out I didn't! Still prefer the book, though. Great Hub.

Judi Brown (author) from UK on September 06, 2014:

Hi Kristina - I missed that one! Sounds fun (as usual) Thanks for reading and commenting

Kristina Pitts from Greenville, SC, USA on September 05, 2014:

I remember the simpsons Halloween parody of this when Homer went crazy. No beer and no tv make homer go crazy.

Judi Brown (author) from UK on July 05, 2014:

Hi Hackslap - thanks for the comment and the vote - I appreciate it!

Harry from Sydney, Australia on June 22, 2014:

I'm a massive fan of the movie and yes I do believe its one of the scariest movies made ..(from an atmospheric perspective ) .. I certainly didn't know much about the actual hotel on which the location was based ...very interesting and informative...voted up!

Judi Brown (author) from UK on July 24, 2013:

Hi klidstone1970 - "Redrum" has to be one of the scariest "words" ever! Thanks for taking the time to comment - don't have nightmares :)

இڿڰۣ-- кιмвєяℓєу from Niagara Region, Canada on July 24, 2013:

I remember reading an old tattered paperback of The Shining as a pre-teen and spooking myself out!! Redrum!!!!

Judi Brown (author) from UK on July 23, 2013:

Hi gsurvivor - it's a shame that Stephen King didn't like the movie, but I can understand his feelings. Thanks very much for the vote - enjoy the film again (and maybe the book too!)

gsurvivor on July 23, 2013:

Didn't expect that the people would prefer the movie over the book, but can't deny the film's quality either. :) Some interesting info you have here, definitely made me want to see the movie again, maybe even read the book all over again. :) And that deserves a vote up!

Judi Brown (author) from UK on March 21, 2013:

Hi lorddraven2000 - I would love to visit one of these hotels - must be great to work at a building like these too. Thanks very much for your comments, I appreciate them.

Sam Little from Wheelwright KY on March 21, 2013:

Very interesting. My best friends step dad worked here for several years and said the place was always spooky.

Judi Brown (author) from UK on February 11, 2013:

Hi Lillee McLoflin - thanks to you too! Glad you enjoyed this hub, thank you for commenting, I appreciate it.

Lillee McLoflin from Texas on February 10, 2013:

Great Hub! Scary movie. Thanks!

Judi Brown (author) from UK on February 10, 2013:

Hi Mr Deltoid - I've seen some of the photos - wish I could find some that are OK to use. You're right, Kubrick's vision was huge!

Thanks for your comments, much appreciated.

Rich from New Jersey on February 10, 2013:

Nice hub, the maze was a set too, there are a lot of behind the scenes photos floating around the net, that are pretty fantastic. they give you an idea of the vast sets, Kubrick had built for the movie.......The guy knew how to make a movie.

Judi Brown (author) from UK on February 09, 2013:

Hi JeremyBentham - I enjoyed the film too (I've not seen the TV movie). It must be difficult as an author to see someone else's vision of your book, I guess (hope I have the chance to put it to the test one day!)

Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, I appreciate it.

JeremyBentham from Missouri on February 08, 2013:

I'm a fan of both the movie and the book and I think King is wrong in his opinion of the Kubrick film. Arguably maybe I'd feel different if it was my book, but the film is one of my favorites. The TV movie is cold vomit. Yuck.

"Come and play with us Danny"

Judi Brown (author) from UK on December 30, 2012:

Hi nuffsaidstan - never, ever thought of it from a Hong Kong Fooey perspective :D That's going to put a whole new spin on it for me!

Thanks very much for taking the time to comment, I appreciate it.

nuffsaidstan on December 29, 2012:

Always preferred the book, the fright value of the film was negated for me by them having Scatman Crowthers in the movie, who could be afraid when you have Hong Kong Fooey there to protect you! Great hub enjoyed it.

Judi Brown (author) from UK on December 27, 2012:

Hi The Black Alpaca - you're probably very sensible! My mother used to get very irritated with horror movies when the place people turned up at was obviously spooky - she would say that no one sane would stay there - so, you're clearly sane!

Thanks very much for commenting, I appreciate it.

THE BLACK ALPACA on December 26, 2012:

Great hub but personally I wouldn't want to stay at any of them :)

Judi Brown (author) from UK on October 26, 2012:

Hi shiningirisheyes - thanks! I think the movie was fine, but it's always difficult to adjust to a film adaptation if you've read the book first.

Thanks for taking the time to comment, I appreciate it.

Shining Irish Eyes from Upstate, New York on October 25, 2012:

Hi Judi Bee

Great hub. I was always fascinated with the backstory about this movie. I always prefer the book. In this case the movie held it's own and was a stellar adaption.

Very interesting subject.

Judi Brown (author) from UK on October 19, 2012:

Hi justgrace1776 - I wish!

Nancy McGill from United States on October 18, 2012:

Now, it is time for you to visit those hotels! :)

Judi Brown (author) from UK on October 18, 2012:

Hi gail641 - it's a shame, but like all great fictional characters we all have our own ideas about what the Overlook Hotel is like.

Thanks for your comments, always great to hear from you.

Gail Louise Stevenson from Mason City on October 17, 2012:

Great hub. Its fascinating to read about "The Shining", and the hotels. Too bad that the "The Overlook Hotel" doesn't exist. Very interesting.

Judi Brown (author) from UK on September 24, 2012:

Hi jellygator - it's surprising what you can find out about stuff (both by writing it and reading it!) on HubPages. This has been one of my favourite hubs to research and write - glad you enjoyed it.

Great to hear from you, thanks for commenting.

jellygator from USA on September 24, 2012:

Interesting! I knew the Timberline Hotel was used, but not that there were others, nor that the cast didn't actually visit a hotel to make the movie.

Judi Brown (author) from UK on August 13, 2012:

Hi A K Turner- aw, don't feel like that! The film's great too and glad you enjoyed the hub.

Many thanks for your comments, much appreciated.

Joseph A K Turner from West Yorkshire on August 13, 2012:

awesome hub, I feel like I have almost betrayed king, by not reading his book, he is the king of horror!

Judi Brown (author) from UK on May 31, 2012:

Hi charlesxavier04 - it is a scary movie, that's for sure! Glad to have been able to share some new information with you.

Many thanks for your comments, much appreciated :-)

charlesxavier04 from London on May 31, 2012:

Very interesting hub. I really liked the movie - one of the scariest I've ever seen - but I didn't know any of this. Thank you, it's always nice to learn new things!

Judi Brown (author) from UK on May 21, 2012:

Hi audraleigh - thanks very much! It is such an iconic movie and the hotel is definitely the villain of the piece.

Thanks for taking the time to comment, I appreciate it :-)

iamaudraleigh on May 20, 2012:

Great hub on a very intense and scary movie! Nicholson was fantastic! I have not read the book though.

Voted up!

Judi Brown (author) from UK on April 20, 2012:

Hi Marissa - I think that "Redrum ...", along with "here's Jonny!" must be two of the most memorable lines from the film. Glad you enjoyed the hub!

Always great to hear from you, thanks for taking the time to comment :-)

Marissa from United States on April 20, 2012:

All that popped in my head while reading this was "Redrum...redrum...". Oy! This hub is great. I didn't know the hotel was based on real locations. Voted up, awesome and interesting!

Justin W Price from Juneau, Alaska on March 21, 2012:

you're welcome, judi. The western US is one of the most beautiful places in the world, IMHO

Judi Brown (author) from UK on February 27, 2012:

Hi truthfornow - I am so jealous of all you people who have been around these locations! Even if you didn't get to see the hotels, the scenery is so beautiful. And you are right about Shelley Duval in the film, she is odd!

Thanks for your comments, I appreciate them :-)

Judi Brown (author) from UK on February 27, 2012:

Hi Deborah - it's incredible how much there is "behind the scenes" of films. I bet it took them months to scout the locations too.

Thanks for your comments, great to hear from you :-)

Judi Brown (author) from UK on February 27, 2012:

Hi PDX - lucky you, the Timberline Lodge and its surroundings are stunning, maybe one day I shall get to visit too.

Thanks for your comments, appreciated as always!

Judi Brown (author) from UK on February 27, 2012:

Hi amberld - I think that maybe if you read the book first you prefer the book, but if you see the film you prefer the film.

I would love to visit any of these hotels - haunted or not, they look fabulous.

Thanks for your comments, much appreciated :-)

Judi Brown (author) from UK on February 27, 2012:

Hi Jeannieinabottle - it is a gripping movie, I love it too.

Thanks for your kind comments, great to hear from you!

Marie Hurt from New Orleans, LA on February 26, 2012:

I didn't know the hotel was in Estes Park. I have actually been to Estes Park a number of times, but wish I had stayed at the Stanley Hotel. I read the book before watching the film. The wife is creepy in the film and not how you imagine her from the book. However, Jack is great.

Deborah Neyens from Iowa on February 26, 2012:

Interesting hub! I had no idea all these different hotels played a role in the movie.

Justin W Price from Juneau, Alaska on February 26, 2012:

judi, i love the the shining and I only live about an hour from Timberline Lodge. Been there a few times. Good hub!

Amber White from New Glarus, WI on February 26, 2012:

This was the first Stephen King book I ever read at age 12, which hooked me for good. I absolutely love the movie too, I think it was the first movie I ever saw on a VCR, Beta, believe it or not. I had a hard time voting for which I liked better, they are both so classic. I did vote for preferring the book though because I love the history in it and the process Jack went through as he went mad. Both are crazy good. Thanks for the great hub, I hope to visit the Stanley Hotel one of these days.

Jeannie Marie from Baltimore, MD on February 26, 2012:

What a great hub! I love the original "The Shining." Even if the remake was more like the book, I just love watching Jack Nicholson slowly go crazy. Voted up and shared!

Judi Brown (author) from UK on January 31, 2012:

Hi Debbie - I agree that sometimes a film can ruin a good book. In this case, the film is pretty scary stuff, but I know that Stephen King wasn't entirely happy with the screen adaptation.

Thanks for your comments, much appreciated :-)

Debbie Roberts from Greece on January 31, 2012:

My Dad bought The Shining for me many years ago when I was a teenager. It got me hooked on Stephen Kings books. I've never seen the film, but sometimes I find that films don't always do the books justice.

Your hub is very knowledgeable. I've made a mental note not to be booking into room 418 in the Stanley Hotel or 217 at the Timberline Lodge!..

Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

Judi Brown (author) from UK on January 20, 2012:

Hi Ishwaryaa - thank you very much for your kind comment. The Shining is a classic film and worth seeing - hope you get to see it soon.

Thanks for taking the time to comment :-)

Ishwaryaa Dhandapani from Chennai, India on January 20, 2012:

Very Knowledgeable Hub! I heard a lot about this film but i have not seen the film yet i still want to see it. I saw other Stephen King's film adaptions of his books such as Carrie, Pet Sematary and Thinner; and Stanley kubrick's film-Lolitha. Your hub has made me want to see The Shining soon. Interesting. Vote up.

Judi Brown (author) from UK on December 23, 2011:

@Wesman - no, thank you!

Hi aslaught - lucky you - "celebrity" status aside, it looks like a beautiful place to visit. Pleased to hear that you enjoyed this hub :-)

aslaught from Alabama on December 22, 2011:

Very interesting hub. In 2000 spent one night in Estes Park and saw The Stanley Hotel, although we didn't go inside. That was before I read Stephen King's semi- autobiography, On Writing, and he mentions that he loosely based the hotel in, The Shining, on that hotel. I wished I had gone inside after reading that. I enjoyed this hub!

Wesman Todd Shaw from Kaufman, Texas on December 22, 2011:

Hey THANK YOU! I'm proud to have helped, and I absolutely know for certain that that was good advice, and of course I got that advice myself from more experienced persons in these same forums!

BTW, I only lasted one week! I'd worked at the Magnolia Hotel...

Judi Brown (author) from UK on December 22, 2011:

Hi Seeker7 - Shelley Duvall isn't my favourite actress either, she always seems a bit drippy - she might possibly drive me to murder.

Hi Wesman - you have actually had a direct influence on this hub. Earlier today I saw a comment you made in a forum thread about people not labelling their images and maps, an oversight of which I was guilty. Now put right though - thanks!

I too worked in a hotel, I lasted one morning!

Thanks to both of you for taking the time to comment :-)

Wesman Todd Shaw from Kaufman, Texas on December 22, 2011:

I have to admit that The Shining is one of the very, very few times in which a film, to me, was better than the book.

Of course I read the book.

I worked for just a short while in a large luxury hotel...but this one was in downtown Dallas, Texas...and used to belong to the Rockefeller could easily say and believe that that building was full of evil on account of association with bankers and oil barons.

I certainly do!

Helen Murphy Howell from Fife, Scotland on December 22, 2011:

An awesome hub and like Kitty I loved the film but I think the book was awesome! I think I would have maybe preferred the movie but the actress who played Jack Nicholson's wife always put me right off, I honestly think she was terrible in the movie.

I didn't realise that so many different hotels were used for the filming - they are all very interesting places and it's great to know that they are all haunted!! LOL!

Great hub + voted up awesome!

Judi Brown (author) from UK on December 22, 2011:

Hi Kitty - the film certainly has some memorable moments and great lines. I really enjoyed researching this hub and I am glad you enjoyed it.

Thanks for your comments :-)

Kitty Fields from Summerland on December 22, 2011:

Love this movie! "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy". Never read the book, but I'm sure it's marvelous, too! I love the history on the making of the book and movie, thanks for sharing. Voted up and awesome.

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