Because my mother taught me that if I don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all, I’ll start with this: The Stanley Hotel is pretty. Very pretty, in fact, when you walk around the exterior grounds and then enter the lobby.
That is all I can say that is nice.
How about just driving up to the hotel? The signage seems like it was made by a Republican presidential candidate, wishy-washy and prone to flip-flop. You want Registration? Well, you can go to the right, or you can go to the left. How helpful is that? If you take into account that going to left means you travel 95% of the perimeter of the place, not very helpful at all. I suppose there are two ways to get everywhere in the world, but I don’t really want to traverse the globe in one direction when I could have gone just around the corner in the other direction. Especially dragging my luggage because there are no bell hops.
Let’s talk about the pretty lobby now. Because the hotel seems to make most of its money operating historical and ghost tours, the lobby isn’t as pretty with 1000 people milling about than it would be with the normal amount of hotel lobby loiterers. Ever been to the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa? The Stanley Hotel lobby is like the 10 yard semicircle extending out from the Mona Lisa, with a population density of 3 people per square foot.
How about the staff? I can’t say I totally blame these poor folks, because if I worked in a hotel that had 10,000 tourists hang around each day, taking pictures, wandering around aimlessly with their eyes on the ceiling, toting their kids and their Starbucks, taking pictures in your way, messing up the bathrooms, and generally just congesting the place, I wouldn’t be too energized to be friendly and courteous to the people who actually paid to stay in the hotel. And you know what? They aren’t. We had staff repeatedly and bluntly tell us no to our diva requests, like, “Can we have that table by the window instead of this one by the party of 25?” Or, “Can we get drinks out on the patio, since it’s got tables and chairs and a pretty view?” Crazy J-Lo stuff like that was met with an unadorned and unapologetic “NO.”
OK, but what about the rooms? Well, they are nice enough. Actually, ours had a huge closet. But here’s the deal. The building is old. It wasn’t designed to be sound-proof. So, it’s not. And by not sound-proof, I mean that I can hear every word of the relatively normal-volume conversation taking place in our neighbor’s room. I mean, people are allowed to talk in their hotel rooms, but when this happens at 4:00 AM, and I can’t really blame the people for, you know, talking, I only have the hotel left to blame.
The final straw for me is the blatant shilling of the fact that Stephen King was inspired by The Stanley to write The Shining. The Stanley sells bottles of Red Rum, and Redrum chocolate, and their breakfast menu boasts Redrum French Toast. I mean, I think I just threw up a little in my mouth while typing all of that. Right? Maybe the shtick here is what drove Jack crazy.
Estes Park (which really is a wonderful place) is not exactly teeming with nice hotel options, and I was pretty excited to stay at The Stanley after last year and that hole that we stayed in. At least the hole we stayed in last year has no pretensions about being anything but a hole. The Stanley would have you believe it is a grand hotel experience, but I think that is another one of their ghost stories.