California Vacation Part 4 – Madonna Inn, San Luis Obispo

First of all, I want to point out that this motel has nothing to do with the singer. It’s named after the owners, Alex and Phyllis Madonna. They built the motel in the early 1960s, and over time, it’s become a well known landmark.

I saw this place on a travel show years ago, long before we’d ever even been to California. I knew it was in the state, I just didn’t know exactly where. Then, I forgot about it until our first trip down the Pacific Coast Highway, when the sign on the side of the road caught my eye. We didn’t have time to stop then, and we’d already planned for that night’s accommodations, but I was excited that I finally knew where is was. At that moment, I mentally added it to my travel bucket list.

We made it a destination on this trip, and the fact that our visit coincided with my birthday made our visit even more special.

The inn is best known for it’s individually decorated rooms. There are 109, each based on a different theme. It’s kitch at it’s very best.

We choose the Mountain Cabin.

It reminded me of a room in an Adirondack motel, where we stayed on our way home from Mount Washington last spring. Unlike this one, that motel, which was near Lake Plaid, wasn’t trying to be ironic (it was really cute though).

We didn’t try the motel’s restaurant. We had other dinner plans. Aren’t those pink banquettes the cutest?

We did stop in at the cafe for coffee and pie. In lieu of birthday cake, we had a big sloppy slice of coconut cream pie (not pictured, it was gone too quickly to be photographed).

The heated pool was tucked into the side of the mountain. It was a bit chilly for swimming (for my taste, anyway) but we did go up there for a soak in the hottub after dinner.

The property is immaculate with so many charming details. Somehow, what should be tacky looks almost tasteful here. If only William Randolph Hearst had such clever decorators for his castle.

I’m already looking forward to another stay here. We still have 108 rooms to check out!

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  1. I’ve seen so many people blog about this place! Each was in a different room so it always looked different but the pink dining room! OMG! I love it!

  2. It was so hard to decide which room to reserve when I called to book! I want to go back just so I can eat in the restaurant!

  3. I stayed there with my fam in 1985!! All I remember was our room was red and leather. Total kitsch. Total awesomeness.

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