In the movie this is an easy question to answer. The long shots of The Overlook were taken at the Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood in Oregon and the interiors and hedge maze scenes were shot on set at Elstree Studios in London, England. As for the novel everyone knows that The Stanley Hotel in Colorado is supposed to be the actual place that Stephen King based The Overlook on. What’s unusual is that at a second hotel (the Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, New York) old timers will tell you that Stephen King stays there and that it’s the hotel that The Overlook from the novel is based on.
I don’t really care if there’s an actual Overlook or not but it would be nice if my favorite hotel and a place I visit often, The Mohonk Mountain House, were it. But what’s the reason behind two hotels that are rumored to be The Overlook from Stephen King’s novel, and which one is the right one?
Using Wikipedia as a source it’s easy to find where The Stanley Hotel rumor started. Everything points back to the work of an author named George Beahm who has written several books on Stephen King.
In "The Stephen King Companion" (1989) it’s obvious to me that George Beahm is trying to start a rumor that he thinks will morph into The Stanley hotel in Colorado being accepted by fans as the actual Overlook (as it obviously has). What better way to get in tight with the Stephen King crowd that to tell everyone where the actual Overlook is. Upon reading his book he obviously doesn’t know this for sure so he’s cautious as he discusses it in a rather cagey way on page 268. He puts two related paragraphs together so readers will connect the dots themselves. You can’t miss his point and he didn’t have to directly come out and say it. He definitely thinks The Stanley Hotel is The Overlook.
In "The Stephen King Story" (1991) George Beahm goes even further by embellishing his fictional story about The Stanley but again he falls short of coming right out and saying it. And, probably fearing legal action or loss of access, he wisely includes what the boss himself says about the subject. Stephen King is and will always be where the buck stops on this subject and he emphatically states in the beginning of the paperback version of the novel that, "Some of the most beautiful resort hotels in the world are located in Colorado, but the hotel in these pages is based on none of them. The Overlook and the people associated with it exist wholly within the author's imagination.” Whatever the reason may be, he wrote this in direct response to the rumor that The Stanley is the fictions Overlook; which it is not. He even mentions the state by name so there will be no confusion about it. But there still is confusion; fans try to get by this statement by saying The Stanley is the “inspiration” for the Overlook but Stephen King’s statement is very clear and precise.
Aficionado’s can ignore his statement if they like but “the hotel in these pages is based on none of them” is exact and goes right to the point of the subject. A dozen other real hotels may have also inspired the Overlook across the world; one may have inspired a hallway, one a fire hose, one a hedge maze, one a basement or one an elevator. We just don’t know until Stephen King tells us, and he hasn’t yet. Any hotel, like The Stanley, that is rumored to be The Overlook is just that; a rumor.
I wish I could say that I slept in the real Overlook Hotel but until Stephen King says different these rumors are all unfounded. But here are some pictures anyway for my pick of the hotel that most resembles The Overlook; The Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, New York. It’s got everything, long winding road, hedge maze, creepy basement and elevators, grandfather clock, long corridors, and even old fashioned fire hoses that look like snakes. It truly has the feel of The Overlook.
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