We had to drive from Denver to Estes – where the Stanley Hotel is located - so I rang the man at Hertz at 11:00 AM to arrange a pickup to go and collect the car we had booked months earlier.
He said he had none. He said that he was waiting for people to return cars and that ‘we were on the waiting list’ and would probably have a car before they closed.
Before they closed?
It had not occurred to me that if you rented a car it would not be available. Had I thought about it I would have realized that this is a distinct possibility if people do not return their cars. But why don’t they return their cars? Are they having too much fun? Did they forget where they put them? Was there a massive pileup of rentals on the Interstate?
After much farnarkling we managed to get a car from Avis at double the price – but at least were able to be on our way.
The Stanley was built in the early 1900’s and looks every inch of it. We were located on the 4th floor in a ‘Queen size’ with a spectacular view of the car park. In the Stanley ‘Queen size’ means that you can get into the bathroom without walking over the bed.
The 4th floor is the floor where the ghosts hang out. They have regular ghost tours – which started outside our room where the tour guide spent 10 minutes giving the tourists the low down on the flocks of ghosts that infest the hotel.
There were certainty many noises in the night but I am sure there were no ghosts involved.
We only breakfasted there once – because life is too short. We were served by Griselda – an ancient woman from eastern Europe who looked like she had applied her make up with a broom and had arrived at work by being fired out of a cannon backwards.
She moved with glacial speed – and was matched by the service from the kitchen. The last thing to arrive – with our bill – was the orange and carrot juice we had ordered to start the lengthy repast.
The Stanley is where ‘The Shining’ was filmed and you can buy everything you can imagine with film images plastered all over it. I was thinking of Shining tea towels with matching oven mitts but Cate thought the coloring was wrong for the kitchen so I settled for a Shining snow globe.
The film plays continuously on the in-house TV but the print is so bad it is unwatchable.
It was quite hot and the hotel has no air conditioning. There was a fan but it was positioned at the end of the bed over the TV – which was kept beautifully cool all night. But we did sleep with the window open and we could see part of the Rocky Mountains.
There were hordes of Elk all over the hotel grounds and they were very friendly – apart from the mother who had just given birth to an Elkette in the bushes outside the Steamer café. She was a bit edgy so the hotel had a man stand guard to keep her and the patrons safe.
Apparently the Elk come and go as they migrate and there are special places locally where they are allowed to congregate. This made us feel warm and fuzzy – especially as there is no hunting allowed in the national park.
The Stanley is well worth seeing – but briefly.