Excellent Photos of the Ahwahnee/Overlook Hotel from 'The Shining'

October 16, 2013
Source: The Golden Sieve

The Ahwahnee/Overlook Hotel

It's October. The month of horror. What better film to feature than Stanley Kubrick's classic The Shining. Last year we had an entire documentary about the mysteries within, titled Room 237. This year we have a great set of photos showing the Ahwahnee Hotel, found in Yosemite National Park, which was Kubrick's reference for the interiors of his hotel. We're all familiar with the The Stanley Hotel in Colorado that is the model for the exterior of the Overlook Hotel in The Shining. But the interiors are completely different and we now have some fantastic photos from J.W. Kern showing us what the real Ahwahnee Hotel is like inside.

The full set of Ahwahnee Hotel shots can be seen on Kern's photo site The Golden Sieve. Hat tip to Sasha Stone for finding this. Here are some of our favorite photos. Click these to view the full Ahwahnee gallery:

Ahwahnee/Overlook Hotel

Ahwahnee/Overlook Hotel

Ahwahnee/Overlook Hotel

Ahwahnee/Overlook Hotel

For reference, here are two screencaps from The Shining showing some of the set design in the Overlook Hotel that is modeled after the Ahwahnee Hotel (seen above). Pretty damn close, I'd say. Nice job Kubrick.

The Shining Screencap Photo

The Shining Screencap Photo

Kern took photos of the entire hotel, including The Colorado Room, Mural Room and The Solarium. The full gallery can be seen here. Love this: "Why did the the floor in front of the elevators needed a deep clean?"

Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd and Scatman Crothers, was first released in May of 1980. It's based on the Stephen King novel of the same name from 1977. The Ahwahnee Hotel was first built in the 1920s. In his introduction, J.W. Kern explains: "I've always viewed the interior of the Ahwahnee Hotel with a mixture of awe and dread. One can be forgiven if—upon first entering the grand hotel—he feels as though he's just stepped from what John Muir called 'the great temple,' into the lobby and great hall of the horrible Overlook Hotel. In fact, if there is a break in the illusion, it is that the common spaces of the [hotel], rather than pregnant with foreboding silence, are overflowing with visitors."

Find more posts: Horror, Photos



So spooky. I could never sleep in there.

DAVIDPD on Oct 16, 2013


Kubrick sure did a great job with the lighting and stuff! Nice pics.

DavideCoppola on Oct 17, 2013


So this is the set where he tortured Shelly Duval?

Jimmy Love on Oct 17, 2013


The exterior is the Timberline Lodge, east of Portland, OR, not the Stanley Hotel in Colorado. From page 186 of Kubrick, The Definitive Edition, by Ciment, 1999, "The exterior of the hotel was filmed at the Timberline Lodge, near Mount Hood, in Oregon."

bernard on Dec 28, 2013


Uhhhhh yeh....your writer may want to do a little more fact checking. The Stanley was the interior inspiration. But for the exterior, Kubrick saw a picture of Oregon's Timberline Lodge on someone's desk when he was trying to describe what The Overlook should look like. When he saw the picture of Timberline, its spires and gothic appearance, he said 'I want that!' So all of the distant shots (mainly in the beginning of the movie) were shot by helicopter of the exterior of Timberline. Since those of us who live near Timberline very well know there is not a giant maze next to the hotel, but ski lifts, all the scenes where the family is shown outside is all recreated on a soundstage. (Now THAT is incredible!) There. Maybe I should have written this article.

ABo on Jul 21, 2014


The Stanley was not an inspiration for anything in Kubrick's movie. It was where King stayed and reportedly had a number of experiences (possibly inebriated) that inspired the book. It looks nothing like Kubrick's Overlook interior or exterior. The King miniseries was actually shot AT The Stanley, though. You're right that the Timberline served as the actual exterior in wide shots. Kubrick built a replica of the rear of it and the maze on the backlot at Pinewood in England. But Kubrick's Overlook interiors were practically a faithful recreation of the Ahwahnee, down to the large red blocks and symmetricality outside the elevator doors.

Buddusky on Oct 10, 2015

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