Have you ever wondered where the infamous Overlook Hotel from the horror classic ‘The Shining’ is located?

If so, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the real-life location of the Overlook Hotel and explore the history and significance behind it.

From the stunning Rocky Mountains of Colorado to the eerie Stanley Hotel, we’ll uncover all the details that make the Overlook Hotel such a legendary setting in the world of horror.

The Inspiration Behind the Overlook Hotel

The iconic Overlook Hotel from the horror film “The Shining” has long been a source of fascination for fans of horror and cinema alike. But where did the inspiration for this eerie location come from?

The real-life inspiration for the Overlook Hotel is widely believed to be the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. The hotel, which opened in 1909, has a rich history and a reputation for being haunted. Stephen King famously stayed in room 217 of the Stanley Hotel in 1974, an experience that reportedly inspired his novel “The Shining”.

In fact, the Stanley Hotel embraces its connection to the horror classic, offering a “Shining” themed tour and even hosting an annual “Shining” ball on Halloween.

Stephen King’s Haunted Stay at the Stanley Hotel

Stephen King has spoken publicly about his stay at the Stanley Hotel and how it influenced his writing. In an interview with Rolling Stone, he said, “I dreamed of my three-year-old son running through the corridors, looking back over his shoulder, eyes wide, screaming. 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 the chair looking out the window at the Rockies, and by the time the cigarette was done, I had the bones of ‘The Shining’ firmly set in my mind.”

The Overlook Hotel’s Iconic Design: What Inspired Kubrick?

While the Stanley Hotel may have provided the inspiration for the Overlook’s haunted history, the hotel’s striking design is largely the creation of director Stanley Kubrick. The iconic carpet, for example, was custom-designed by Kubrick and his production team.

It is worth mentioning that the Overlook Hotel’s unique maze-like layout was not inspired by the Stanley Hotel, but rather by the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park. Kubrick was reportedly drawn to the Ahwahnee’s grand architecture and imposing presence.

Unfortunately, the Overlook Hotel itself does not exist in real life. However, fans of “The Shining” can still visit the Stanley Hotel in Colorado and even stay in the infamous room 217, if they dare.

Comparison of the Stanley Hotel and the Overlook Hotel
Stanley Hotel Overlook Hotel
Built in 1909 Does not exist in real life
Located in Estes Park, Colorado Location is fictional
Reportedly haunted Haunting is fictional
Inspiration for “The Shining” Setting of “The Shining”

Keep in mind that while the Overlook Hotel may be fictional, its influence on popular culture is undeniable. From parodies in “The Simpsons” and “South Park” to references in films like “Ready Player One”, the Overlook Hotel has become a cultural touchstone.

The Overlook Hotel on Screen

The Shining: A Horror Classic

“The Shining” is a 1980 horror film directed by Stanley Kubrick and based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name. The movie is considered a classic of the horror genre and features the Overlook Hotel as a central location. The hotel’s remote location and eerie atmosphere contribute to the sense of dread that permeates the film.

The Overlook Hotel’s Iconic Interiors and Exteriors

The Overlook Hotel’s interiors and exteriors have become iconic in the horror genre. The hotel’s grand lobby, with its distinctive hexagonal patterned carpet and elevators, is instantly recognizable. The hedge maze outside the hotel is also a memorable location from the film. In reality, the interiors for the Overlook Hotel were filmed on soundstages in England, and the exterior shots were filmed at the Timberline Lodge in Oregon.

The Overlook’s Influence on Horror and Pop Culture

The Overlook Hotel has had a lasting influence on horror and popular culture. The movie has inspired countless parodies, homages, and references in other films and television shows. Fans of the movie can even visit the Timberline Lodge in Oregon, which prominently displays “The Shining” memorabilia and hosts an annual “Overlook Film Festival”. Keep in mind that the Timberline Lodge was not actually used for the interior shots of the Overlook Hotel, but it is still a popular destination for fans of the movie.

Exploring the Real-Life Location of the Overlook Hotel

One of the most iconic horror films of all time, The Shining, was set in a hotel called the Overlook. While the hotel itself is fictional, the exterior shots and some of the interior design were inspired by real-life locations. Here are some of the places that were used to create the eerie atmosphere of the Overlook:

  • The Timberline Lodge: The exterior of the Overlook was portrayed by the Timberline Lodge, a ski resort located on Mount Hood in Oregon. The lodge was built in the 1930s as a public works project during the Great Depression. It was designed to blend in with the natural surroundings and used local materials like timber and stone. While the interior of the lodge is not an exact match for the Overlook, the exterior shots are unmistakably similar.
  • The Ahwahnee Hotel: The interiors of the Overlook were inspired by the Ahwahnee Hotel, a national historic landmark located in Yosemite National Park. The hotel was built in the 1920s and was designed to showcase the natural beauty of the park. The lobby, in particular, was used as a model for the Overlook’s grand interior. Unfortunately, the hotel recently changed its name to the Majestic Yosemite Hotel due to a legal dispute over trademark rights.
  • The Stanley Hotel: While the Timberline Lodge and the Ahwahnee Hotel were the primary inspirations for the Overlook, the Stanley Hotel in Colorado also played a role. Stephen King, the author of the novel that the movie was based on, stayed at the Stanley Hotel in 1974 and was inspired to write the story after experiencing a nightmare. While the hotel itself does not look like the Overlook, it has embraced its connection to the movie and now offers ghost tours and a room that is decorated to look like the one that King stayed in.

While the Overlook Hotel may not exist in real life, the locations that inspired it are worth visiting to experience their unique charm and history. Keep in mind that the Timberline Lodge and the Ahwahnee Hotel are both still operational and offer accommodations to guests. Unfortunately, due to its popularity, the Stanley Hotel can be quite expensive to stay in. Regardless of which location you choose to visit, it is worth mentioning that the legacy of The Shining lives on in these iconic hotels.

The Legacy of the Overlook Hotel

The Overlook Hotel, the iconic setting of Stephen King’s horror novel “The Shining” and its film adaptation directed by Stanley Kubrick, has left a lasting impact on popular culture. Decades after its initial release, the Overlook Hotel continues to captivate audiences and inspire countless works of fiction and media.

The Overlook Hotel’s Enduring Popularity

Despite being a fictional location, the Overlook Hotel has become a cultural touchstone for horror fans and film enthusiasts alike. The hotel’s eerie, isolated atmosphere and mysterious history have made it a popular subject for discussion and analysis. Fans have even created websites and social media pages dedicated to exploring the hotel’s lore and history.

It is worth mentioning that the popularity of the Overlook Hotel has also lead to real-life tourism. The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, which inspired King’s novel and served as the filming location for the exterior shots of Kubrick’s film, now offers tours and accommodations for fans of the story.

The Overlook Hotel in Other Forms of Media

The Overlook Hotel has also made appearances in various forms of media beyond “The Shining” and its adaptations. For example, the hotel is a playable location in the video game “Fallout: New Vegas,” and an episode of “The Simpsons” parodies the famous “Here’s Johnny!” scene from the film.

The Overlook’s Influence on Horror and Pop Culture

The Overlook Hotel has had a significant impact on the horror genre and popular culture as a whole. Many other horror movies and books have drawn inspiration from the hotel’s isolated setting and supernatural elements. Additionally, the Overlook Hotel has become a cultural reference point, with phrases like “redrum” and “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” entering the lexicon of pop culture.

Real-life Location Stanley Hotel
Location Estes Park, Colorado
Accommodations Hotel rooms and tours
Features Replica of the famous hedge maze, “Shining” merchandise, and memorabilia.

It is clear that the Overlook Hotel’s legacy will continue to endure for many years to come. Whether it is through fan theories, adaptations, or real-life tourism, the hotel remains an important cultural touchstone and a testament to the power of horror storytelling.

Keep in mind that the Overlook Hotel is a fictional location, and while the Stanley Hotel has similarities, it is a separate entity. Unfortunately, the real-life hotel does not have a haunted history or supernatural elements like its fictional counterpart. Remember to enjoy the story for what it is, a work of fiction and a tribute to the horror genre.



The Overlook Hotel may be a fictional location, but its real-life inspirations and filming locations have become just as iconic. From the Stanley Hotel to the Timberline Lodge, the legacy of the Overlook Hotel lives on in the hearts of horror fans and movie buffs alike.

We hope this article has given you a better understanding of where the Overlook Hotel is located and why it’s such a beloved setting in the world of horror. Whether you’re a fan of ‘The Shining’ or just curious about the history behind this legendary location, we hope you’ve enjoyed this deep dive into the Overlook Hotel.

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