Holiday Traveling Tip #347: Don't Stay In A Hotel Straight Out Of "The Shining" Like This One

If you came to this blog looking for a story or information about a hotel that looks exactly like your grandmother's house did in 1952, but only with scarier, creepier features, you have come to the right place! So glad you decided to check it out!

Some back story first, amigos.

During the summer of 2006, we took a trip to Arizona to go to a wedding in Scottsdale. Our oldest son was 2 at the time, which we thought would be the perfect age for a trip to the Grand Canyon after the wedding was over. What fun we imagined we would have watching him run to the edge of a cliff that drops thousands of feet! I do remember having my heart stop a time or two. I think the Grand Canyon needs to have defibrillators stuck in backpacks for tourists to grab at the rest stops. This is not a Grand Canyon post, but I do have to say that I really loved it. The craziest thing to me was the drive to the Grand Canyon. I thought that it was going to be surrounded by desert. It blew me away that there was snow on top of the mountain that we kept driving up and up and up and up and up before we got to the canyon. It was a pretty amazing visit, but I'm sure you've already been there. You're giving me that look like you had been.

I know that look.

Before we got to the Grand Canyon from Scottsdale, we made several stops to look at huge meteor landing sites, Route 66 signs, Native American ruins and petrified wood.

We also made a stop in Flagstaff.

Good ol' Flagstaff.

It was both of our ideas to stop in Flagstaff before we drove up to the Grand Canyon to stay for the night. I told my husband that I would take care of the hotel. He typically does that sort of thing, but, for whatever reason, I said I would do it.

And I did.

I booked a room at Little America Hotel in Flagstaff. I thought the name sounded so quaint! Little. America. I just liked the ring of it. There are three other Little Americas in the western United States including Salt Lake City, Cheyenne and Wyoming.

Plus, the picture looked pretty.

So pretty. So tranquil. So green and Arizona-y.

It also got pretty good reviews, so I felt even more like Miss Thang.

But, when we walked in...


That place hadn't been redecorated since Jackie Kennedy looked like this:


Actually, she wasn't even Jackie Kennedy when that hotel was built! She was Jacqueline Bouvier. So, this place was decorated when she was Jacqueline Bouvier and not a lick since. It's true that I did not consult any management about that, so it is possible that they may have redecorated around 1963, but that's when it stopped. I also could be wrong about the exact date this place was built. It could've been in the 60s, but I wouldn't stretch it too far beyond that. I'm still thinking 50s. If I were in the hot seat in "So, You Want To Be A Millionaire?", I'd say the 1950s.

This is the way scary dining room. Scary dining rooms always have three chandeliers and a buffet table. I found this picture on Trip Advisor under this hotel.

It's not that it wasn't clean and that there wasn't great service and that the rooms weren't a great size with phones near the toilets and all of that business. It's just that...well, it was like being in a time capsule! In a creepy way!

In a "Hotel California" way!

No, no...that's not good enough. No, the better description?

In a "Am I stuck inside The Shining?" kind of way.

I kept looking for two children standing and staring at me from the end of a hallway.

Thankfully, I never found them, but I did find this picture on Little America's Trip Advisor page:

This picture is from the same people who took the scary dining room picture. I KNOW these people are acting out The Shining at that hotel right here! AHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

We walked around the place with our mouths wide open for probably the first hour. When my husband could finally get his lips to come together, he formed them to say, "THIS is the best you could find?"

Crazy enough, I think it might have been. Flagstaff is juuuuuust about as big as the period at the end of this sentence. There weren't a ton of other options. Plus, the pictures were so cute and the ratings were so great...because I didn't scroll all the way down. There were no terrible ratings, but there were reviews such as this one:

This place is exactly what you read, what you expect. It's really clean, nice, but super old. Kind of creeped me out in the "Shining" kind of way. The grounds are pristine and beautiful. Wish we had more time to spend outdoors here. Little America itself has all that you could want, so you don't even have to venture to downtown, though you really should because it's quite cute.

And this one:

Yeah, definitely a bit of the "Shining" in it but loved the grounds, the lit pool with tiki torches at night. Staff were very friendly and helpful.

And this one:

 Love this hotel. Its funky.. yeah that's a good word. Classic..retro..meets modern. Very Room 1408 and/or "shining"-esque. Rooms are beyond spacious, beds comfortable, grounds lush and green.

I don't like scary movies!

I don't like scary books!

I don't like haunted houses!

I don't like kids staring at me from the end of hallways!

Although it's obvious that I never have to go back there again, I almost sort of want to for some reason. Or I want you to go and take pictures and come back to tell me all about it. I don't want to stay there again necessarily. I just want to go back and look around and whisper, "Are you kidding me here? Are you really kidding me here? Look that. Are you kidding? Are they for real?"

Here are some pictures of one room a traveler put on Trip Advisor:

The addition of the flat screen next to my grandmother's old dresser even made it creepier. They just need to set up a TV on the corner of that dresser and make us go up and turn the dial to change the channel. Just go ahead and go all out and do this right. That dresser! I mean, it's fine for your house. I'm not hating on anyone's furniture, but it's old. It's old in a "it's not a neat antique, that is just straight up old and not really good hotel furniture" kind of way, you know?

I kept looking for Elvis to show up at our door to hand us soap and a razor when we stayed in our room that almost looked exactly like this one. Not a SINGLE THING, except for that TV, has changed in this room since 1952 or 1963 or somewhere around there. Nothing. Not one thing.

This. Is. The. Bathroom.
 ( I kept seeing visions of Jack Nicholson knocking on my door with a fresh load of towels.)

Seriously, I am a huge history liker. I love taking tours. My husband teases me all time and says I have a lot of old people tendencies. ("Huh? Whadja say?? I can't hear ye!") I would love going into someone's house decorated this way, for sure.

But a hotel?

A hotel whose owner was worth BILLIONS?

Not once did that billionaire walk through his hotel and suggest that they update it anywhere? I know that is part of it's appeal for some. Think about how easy it would be to become a billionaire if you are never doing anything to update your property except for sticking flat screens on the room walls? That is what Mr. Little American seems to have done.

It also brings up the question of when something is old vs. really old/historical old. When does a billionaire glance around his property and say, "You know what? We haven't updated that pink tile in the last 15 years buuuuuuut, why start now? Keep it that way and order me a steak."

Calling anything old "historical" is one of my tiny soapboxes. (The tiny soapbox is sooo small, that it is completely crushed and unable to be seen as it is covered entirely by my right shoe.) You can't just call anything "historical". My parents like to refer to an old table we had when I was growing up as an antique. I don't know where they bought it, but it was probably Sears in 1982 and I'm not countin' that in my daily antique tally.

I know this post topic was a bit random, but I feel like you are practically my kin. I had to show you my sort of photo album! I also wanted to remind you to check out all of the pictures on Trip Advisor first before you stay in any hotel this holiday season.

Don't let "The Shining" happen to you!!