What’s the scariest thing you can think of? I’m betting it’s probably a ghost, a monster, or some kind of psycho killer with a chainsaw. Unless, that is, you’ve ever read Stephen King’s horror masterpiece, “The Shining”. In that case, like me, you were thinking of the Overlook Hotel.

shining-timberlineWhile there have been many a terrifying piece of property in the history of horror books, film, and TV—the “Amityville Horror”, “Insidious”, and “Psycho” houses spring to mind—none can compare to the hotel that King created in his landmark 1977 novel. It might look like a building, but those who’ve read the book know it’s a living, breathing epicenter of paranormal dread.

What got me thinking about the Overlook again is something every true horror fan should be eagerly awaiting: this week’s release of “Doctor Sleep,” King’s latest work and the long-awaited sequel to “The Shining”. While the Overlook obviously doesn’t feature in the new novel, we here at the Movoto Real Estate Blog figured there was no more appropriate time to perform one of our patented fictional property evaluations on the sinister inn.

You know, just in case some steel-nerved ghost hunters out there want to fantasize about buying it—or at least the real world equivalent.

I don’t scare easily, but as returning readers will know, these evaluations can sometimes be so complex they’re scary in their own right. Fortunately, I came away from this one unscathed, and with a price of $1,292,000.

How did I scare up that figure? Read on—if you dare!—to find out.

How I Did It (Without Using the Shining Power)

Whether you’re valuing an evil hotel or one from a beloved British comedy, you’re going to need to know some of the same information. Specifically, I had to track down:

  • How big the Overlook is
  • Where it’s located
  • How much it’s worth per room

That first piece of information was easily the most challenging—and rewarding—to find, so I think that’s the best place for us to start. You might want to carry a fire axe just in case.

One Spooky Hotel, Many Inspirations

Although I’ve read “The Shining” and seen the movie (many times) and watched the TV miniseries, I still needed to do a good amount of research to bone up on my Overlook lore. My first stop was, naturally, one of the scariest places I can think of: the Internet. It was here that I reinforced some things I already knew, such as the fact that the Overlook Hotel isn’t a real place, but that it was based on an actual hotel that King once stayed at (in room 217) called the Stanley Hotel.

Source: Flickr user Brett Levin
Source: Flickr user Brett Levin

In fact, the Stanley is obviously extremely proud to be known as the inspiration for the Overlook, not to mention the “fact” that it is haunted (something that may or may not have driven King to have a nightmare that led to the idea for the novel). The hotel conducts regular ghost hunting tours and an annual “Shining” theme ball on Halloween.

Based on this alone, it would seem like a pretty cut-and-dry process to find out how big the Stanley is—16,000 square feet, by the way—get values for some nearby hotels for sale, and call it a day. I should know by now that it’s never that easy.

That’s because, you see, there’s another real hotel that’s associated with the Overlook—the Timberline Lodge. This ski resort is what most people probably most associate with the hotel because of the fact that it was used in 1980 movie adaptation of “The Shining” by director Stanley Kubrick (no relation to the Stanley Hotel, as bizarre as that would have been). The Timberline Lodge served as the exterior of the Overlook in some scenes and inspired the matte paintings used in others. It’s not a 100 percent match for several reasons, not the least of which is that the interiors are not at all alike and it doesn’t have the infamous hedge maze from the film.

I was torn for a while as to whether or not I should use this 60,000 square foot, 70 room resort to base my evaluation on, but I eventually came back to the Stanley—for the most part—for a reason I’ll get to in a second.

As it turns out, neither of these hotels could actually be a 100 percent match for the Overlook because they both have too many rooms. The Stanley has 140 and, like I just mentioned, the Timberline has 70. Going back and reading “The Shining”, I discovered that King’s hotel has exactly 40 guest rooms. Its makeup is as follows:

  • 30 Double Rooms (including room 237)
  • 10 Single Rooms
  • Offices (including Mr. Ullman’s)
  • Lobby
  • Storage Room
  • Gold Room
  • Colorado Lounge
  • Banquet/Ballroom
  • Basement

King never goes into how many square feet the Overlook is, but since it’s a hotel I’m evaluating, I don’t need to know that—different rules apply. It still helps to know the location, though, so I tracked that down next.

One of Colorado’s Premier Resort Destinations

If you couldn’t guess from the name of one of those rooms listed above, the Overlook Hotel is meant to be in Colorado—just like the Stanley Hotel that inspired it (although, in his introduction to the book, King claims it’s not based on any actual hotel). But where in the state?

Well, going by King’s inspiration, the Stanley, I placed the Overlook in Estes Park, Colorado, where it’s located. The Timberline Lodge’s location wasn’t really an option, since it’s not in Colorado; it’s in Government Camp, Oregon, at the base of Mount Hood.

Again, as with the square footage, the location of that Overlook actually didn’t matter (much) to the overall evaluation. It did affect part of the formula I used, which I’ll get to next.

That’s a Scary (Expensive) Soda

Now, if you’ve read one of our fictional evaluations of a hotel property before—like Fawlty Towers, for example—you’ll know that they’re valued differently than residential properties.

shining-johnnyThere are actually a couple of shortcuts to figuring out their prices; one being to take the price of a can of Coke in their mini-fridges, multiplying it by 10,000, then multiplying that by the number of rooms. The other is to find a similar hotel for sale in the area and divide its listing price by the number of rooms, then apply that to the number of rooms in the hotel being evaluated. I decided to go with the former, mostly because it meant I got to call the Stanley Hotel.

So, I rang up the Stanley and posed my question to their chipper staff. The result: a can of Coke there costs $3 plus tax (at least my wallet was afraid). Knowing that the Stanley is in Estes Park, CO, I was able to look up the sales tax there, which is 7.5 percent. So, a can of Coke at the hotel costs $3.22 all told.

With that number, I could do some simple multiplication and determine that one room of the Overlook would be valued at $32,200. Now I just had to do what Jack Torrance never could and finish what I’m writing.

You Can Check-In But You’ll Never Leave

To wrap things up, I just needed to multiply the value per room ($32,200) by the number of rooms (40) to end up with a final price of $1,292,000—a price that’s actually scary in how cheap it is. Of course, you’d still have to contend with hallways filled with blood, scary twins, murderous partygoers, and all the other nasty things the Overlook holds within its haunted halls. But, for the right buyer, I guess those might actually be plusses. Heck, I hear there’s actually a premium on little kids yelling “Redrum” these days. Go figure.