The Madonna Inn

The Madonna InnHey, friends! Last month Jeremy and I took a trip to San Luis Obispo to visit close friends as well as stay at the famous Madonna Inn. It was such a strange and surreal hotel experience that I thought I would share it with you here! 

I have always been a sucker for novelty and kitsch hotels, so when I saw the room listing on the Madonna Inn website (scroll over the names of the rooms to see a preview of each room), I knew we had to stay there at LEAST once. I meanโ€”pink glitter wallpaper, waterfalls, cave rooms, it's crazy and there are 110 rooms to choose from. 

The Madonna Inn The Madonna Inn Since the Madonna Inn opened in the 1950s, I expected a Mid-century vibe, and there was some of that. But more than anything, it felt SUPER 1980s. It's a feast for the eyes. In this photo above, if you could look to the right a little bit, you'd see a doll swinging from the ceiling. Yep. So, needless to say, it is sorta creepy. Definitely creepy in a cool way. But, yes, major creepy. 

Jeremy and I were very into it and spent the first morning exploring every little corner of the property (actually, that's a lie because it's 1000 acres). 

The Madonna Inn   The famous pink dining room. 

The Madonna Inn     And the epic pink bar stools. 

The Madonna Inn      Every corner is just kind of amazing. 

The Vous Room at The Madonna InnThe Vous Room at The Madonna InnThe Vous Room at The Madonna InnThe Vous Room at The Madonna InnThe first night we stayed in The Vous room, which was the one I picked from all the little photos online. I thought the circle bed was hilarious and the floor to ceiling blue is pretty epic! 

A friend gave me the BEST tip. He said that if you ask, you can stay in a different room every night, which I hadn't even considered (bc normallyโ€” how rude, right?). But he said that people do it all the time there because the craziness of the rooms is the main attraction.

So we asked to swap on night two. The girl at the front desk pulled out her GIANT catalog of room photos, and I picked this oneโ€”

The Merry Room at The Madonna InnThe Merry Room at The Madonna InnThe Merry Room at The Madonna InnThe Merry Room. The glitter was actually WAY fun to sleep in. You can still kind of see it in the dark. It made all my Madonna Inn dreams come true. 

IMG_5706 2A pink bathroom, of course! 

The Madonna Inn         This painted window wall was my favorite. 

Home-courtsOh and they had a pink tennis court. Of course they do

The Madonna Inn           Can you tell we had the best time ever?? Yes we did. We only stayed for two nights, and we squeezed as much time as possible in with friends. It was the perfect start to our vacation (after that we went to Palm Springs for a long weekend). 

Scout CoffeeWe had some AMAZING food while in San Luis Obispo. For such a small town, there are some truly delicious (and beautiful) spots. So if you decide to visit San Luis Obispo, we definitely recommend staying at Madonna Inn (it's basically a national treasure), but for food, we recommend going into town and trying ALL these places! If we can squeeze all these in in just two days, you can too! 

Our must-eat list: Scout Coffee, Luna Red (for food or drinks or both), Granada (for the absolute cutest patio seating), Sidecar (drinks), and Kreuzberg Coffee (for breakfast too! so good) 

The Madonna Inn... so many amazing photo walls! And that, my friends, is all I know about that! I had so much fun sharing our trip with you! xx. Elsie 

Credits: Author: Elsie Larson. Photography: Elsie Larson (all iPhone photos) plus a few images from MadonnaInn.com and ScoutCoffeeCo.com

  • No way!?! I live not too far from there and go to SLO all the time but have never yet been to the Madonna Inn. I’ve heard it’s amazing and these pictures only prove it! I’ll have to put it on my to-do list. Hope you come back soon– did you happen to see the gum wall in SLO? ๐Ÿ™‚

    -Victoria
    http://www.treelinedavenue.com

  • It’s funny, I grew up about an hour from here but have never actually been inside, so I”m glad to see these photos! I’ve always wanted to stay there, but staying only an hour from home always seemed kind of silly.

  • That is the craziest hotel I’ve ever seen. I went to their site and they have some epic rooms. I don’t know how you chose. I would be majorly creeped out by it I think. I stayed in a hotel for a retreat once that reminded me of The Shining, and I was jumpy the whole time. Thanks for sharing.

    http://absolutelytara.com

  • OMG. I need to add that into my list of places to go. So funky! I think I’d have more fun at the hotel than at anywhere else. Those rooms are beyond gorgeous.

    -coffeeslag

  • Just checked out their website. The Tack and Safari rooms are epic – red leather bedspread anyone?

  • As awesome as this hotel is, I’m kinda upset because when I saw ‘Madonna Hotel’ I naturally assumed it was a hotel dedicated to the life and style of Madonna hahaha… gutted!

  • wow!!! that place is so crazy and fun! Soo cool that they let you switch rooms if you ask, I would have never thought of that. How sweet and kitschy! You always find the coolest places to stay at Ms. Elsie. Thank you for sharing with us.
    ~megan
    http://www.booksteaandnyc.com

  • Oh I’ve always wanted to stay there! I’ve only ever been in the lobby. My extended family lives a few hours away and vacations in SLO and Pismo a lot. My grandma was especially fond of the Madonna Inn. She used to collect the goblets they sold in the gift store. I always felt so fancy when she’d let me drink with one.

  • I got married in SLO and we stayed in the Just Heaven sweet at the Madonna Inn. Our room had gold cupids hanging from the ceiling and a spiral stairway leading to an observation tower where we could see over the whole Madonna grounds! We did our “first look” pictures all over the property, starting in our hotel room and I love them. The whole property is amazing! I can’t wait to go back this summer for our 2 year anniversary!

  • Elsie!
    You could of discribed it more perfect!
    When my bf and I visited last April, it was everything I imagined and more. I wish I could have tried the famous Pink Room Dinner.
    We tried the Copper Cafe! It was really good!
    When we went, there was only one girl tanning so my lover and I had the pool to ourself. The view is just amazing!
    I wish I would have asked for another room!
    We had the Margarite Room! It was perfect!
    How about the toilet washer? hehe! I thought that was so funny!
    I dream until the time I return!
    Thanks for sharing your visit ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Holy moly. It’s amazing, but I got stressed out just looking at the photos! I don’t think I could handle that much kitsch in one place, haha! But I love your travel posts, and making a note of places to try when I go to these places!

  • Oh my god the Modonna!

    That’s the lovely spot that my parents my parents had their honeymoon. I’m glad to see it hasn’t lost its crazy charm.

  • Madonna Inn is so cool! I’ve been to SLO a few times but only in my past visit did I actually go inside Madonna Inn. We just went in the main dining area, and there was a huge group of people swing dancing which was very entertaining. Luna Red is also DELICIOUS! I’m pretty sure it’s my mom’s favorite place ever.

  • How neat! I actually live in San Luis Obispo, and work at the local TV station down the street. If your ever back in the area, and decide to venture out of downtown SLO you can hit up some amazing hidden gems.

    A great place for Cali-Mex fusion is a hole in the wall, Taco Temple in Morro Bay. Novo is owned by the same people as Luna Red, but has a different menu style. I’m glad you went to side car, they are one of my favorite places downtown! There is a real cool restaurant that just opened called Foremost that is to DIE for.
    Also, brunch at the Cliffs in Pismo beach is a must- or Ventana Grill, which is a Spanish fusion brunch (think: churro french toast, guava mimosas, barboca eggs benedict.)

    Of course, Hearst Castle is not very far either and Lady Gaga’s G.U.Y. video was shot there!

  • My boyfriend and I once decided on a whim to stay overnight in a place that was decorated like a castle (decorated is an under-exaggeration — it WAS a mini-castle) with real suits of armor, several levels and balconies, a velvet bed spread, the whole bit. We were there for a ski weekend and thought we’d be adventurous. There weren’t many hotel options in town. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Needless to say, I spent the entire night totally creeped out and was nothing but relieved to leave the next morning! Haha. Life sized suits of armor are not for the faint of heart! ๐Ÿ™‚ I think I’m more of a traditional hotel gal. I’ll admit that that glitter room has me intrigued, though… ๐Ÿ™‚

    Always, Anita

  • I love Madonna Inn and Luna Red! You definitely picked some great spots in SLO ๐Ÿ™‚

  • That’s one crazy pink hotel, but crazy in the best way! I would love to stay in the pink glitter room – I bet it looked gorgeous at nighttime. Pink tennis courts too? It’s Barbie’s dream house!

    M.

  • Oh my, I was SO excited to see this post today! And so bummed you gals aren’t still here! I moved to slo a few years ago with my boyfriend from Iowa, and I have read your blog since I was in high school (5 years ago). If i were to have run into you downtown I would have been so excited to tell you the wonderful things I have tried and learned from you all. When you are back on the central coast you will most certainly have to try Sally Loo’s for breakfast, it will blow your mind and has wholesome food at it’s core. Or novo’s creekside patio for the best dinner in town. . . guilty plug since I’m also a bartender there. I wish the best to you all as weather warms back home, hopefully the spring will come on time this year.

  • This is amazing… and so refreshing! In a world full of organic/artisan/handcrafted/vintage whatever, it’s nice to see that a place like this exists.

  • Next time you’re in SLO you’ve gotta go to the Creeky Tiki – the food and margaritas are awesome! Totally agree about Kreuzberg for coffee though ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Holy moly, this is gorgeous! I need to go here- I’m already on the website poking around, haha! Thanks for sharing, Elsie! ๐Ÿ™‚

    xx Mary
    MOSTLY SALTY BLOG

  • I grew up in SLO not far from the Madonna Inn. We used to go to the coffee shop with my folks for their epic desserts all the time, and now when we go to visit, we go back for the wine tasting, the fun people, and the kitch. I’ve never actually stayed there, though!

  • I`ve never seen such a fun and cute place. Thanks for sharing your happy moments with us. You made really fantastic pictures!
    xx Melinda
    Sutton moving out cleanering

  • Amazing! I used to go past there all the time as a kid when my family would south from Silicon Valley. I always wondered what it was like, so thanks for sharing!

  • This seems like an amazing hotel!!!! Too random and cute!
    Glad You enjoyed ^_^

    -SJay
    The Chronic Dreamer

  • How fun! My sister-in-law and I (we now blog together) both lived in or around San Luis Obispo at one time or another and were recently talking about how fun it would be to stay at the Madonna Inn. Funny how these (funky, creepy, whatever) treasures slip you by when you are so close. Now we are moving to Scotland and it will probably be a while before we get our chance. Thanks for the awesome pics and awesome post!

  • My old stomping grounds! I used to sneak around and skinny dip in that hot tub in High School. =]

  • I saw you guys in Palm Springs! Modernism Week is a great time to visit!

  • I love The Madonna Inn. There is so much pink, and it’s all very necessary! The gum wall is a really fun SLO landmark to visit if you’re in the area ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Hey it’s my hometown! Did you happen to try the red velvet cake from the Madonna Inn?!

  • Isn’t madonna inn fun?! We live about 10 mins from slo and my 4 year old daughter and I go there frequently for tea and cake. Plllllease….tell me you had the cake??? The banana slice rocks my world.

  • Ahh SO excited to have our favorite blog in our hometown!! Awesome pics!! We always do computer work over at Scout Coffee-love their almond milk and honey tea bowls-mmmm. We highlight local SLO restaurants on our blog on Monday’s if you ever want some more favorite stops, thanks for sharing your adventure!
    xoxo
    Samantha
    zestitup.com

  • Yay, you went to Scout! The only things missing for food/coffee on your list that you should include on your next visit are Sally Loos and Novo!

    Glad you enjoyed my hometown!

  • I’ve read so much about The Madonna Inn, and if I’m ever in that part of the world I’ll make sure I stay (for more than one night – how fun that you can swap!)

  • So fun! We live in SLO and love to have breakfast (cake) at Madonna Inn and snoop around, but have yet to actually stay there. Sounds like you did it up right while you were in town…pretty impressive and cohesive itinerary! Thanks for sharing! Cute pics!

  • Oh my goodness, I have always wanted to stay at the Madonna Inn, but I never knew you could switch rooms each night! I’m so glad I read this before going! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • This is my hometown! So crazy to know that you traveled to my little neck of the woods ๐Ÿ™‚