REVIEW: Love Kitsch? You’ll Love The Madonna Inn, San Luis Obispo

The Madonna Inn Postcard – 1960’s

San Luis Obispo lies roughly midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco on California’s rugged and majestic central coast. Growing up in California I’d driven by The Madonna Inn more times than I can count. My parents loved to grab a bite in their coffee shop or bakery and grab a delicious treat on our vacations to Los Angeles. I finally fulfilled a lifelong wish and stopped for the night this past weekend!

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Alex and Phyllis Madonna opened their kitsch palace in 1958 and it very quickly became a California landmark. Each of the 110 guest rooms is uniquely themed and was designed with a perfect mix of quirkiness and fun. My mom and I stayed in “The Swiss Chalet” room. The room was very spacious and included a large comfortable king bed, writing desk, love seat, complimentary robes, water bottles and tiled shower.

We arrived in time for dinner at the Gold Rush Steakhouse. The decor is equal parts circus and a 1960’s Hollywood set. Fake flowers hang from every possible direction; large pink round booths lie underneath dimmed lighting. I could picture smoke billowing in the air before California banned cigarette smoking indoor. A large ballroom was visible from our booth. We enjoyed watching couples glide across the room to the hits of Neil Sedaka and Barry Manilow. The menu is on the pricier side but my mother and I were prepared to splurge. The portions are sizeable and the food was tasty. Looking to save money? The Copper Cafe, located next to the steakhouse is draped in equally gaudy decor and offers lower priced breakfast, lunch and dinner selections.

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The hotel offers a variety of amenities, which include:

*Heated infinity pool, which sits adjacent to a gazebo, waterfall and two hot tubs. The pool area offers sweeping views of San Luis Obispo.

*Fitness Center

*Hiking trails

Care for a cocktail? A pool bar and lounge next to the ballroom can wet your whistle.

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The hotel also offers a spa, wine tasting on site and you can book trail rides with the beautiful horses that share the grounds. When I woke up I walked along the fences and said “good morning” to the beautiful creatures!


 Whether you are looking for a comfy place to lay your head or a perfect spot to time travel The Madonna Inn should be on your list. Oh ladies! Be sure to check out the men’s restroom at the Copper Cafe. Yes, you read that right. You will not be disappointed. I am not posting any pictures, as I do not want to spoil the surprise.

The Madonna Inn – 100 Madonna Rd. San Luis Obispo, CA. 93405

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