California, Monica Byers, San Luis Obispo, Stay — January 27, 2012 at 8:29 pm



Madonna Inn roadside sign (photo by Tony Byers)


SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA – Everyone should stay at the Madonna Inn at least once in their lifetime – especially those souls who have a sense of humor and an appreciation of retro irony.  Why?  Because it is a truly singular experience.

Madonna Inn by night (photo by Tony Byers)

Located just off the 101 Freeway in San Luis Obispo, Madonna Inn is essentially a motel (the rooms open to the free parking lot) boasting 110 individually themed and styled rooms – no two are alike. You can visit the website (, check out photos and specs for each room and specifically request your preferences in the comments section of the online booking form.  I personally recommend the Madonna Suite (check out the photos at the bottom of this post).  It’s a spacious room that – in addition to it’s rather colorful décor – features a huge fireplace, a wood and stone interior and a waterfall sink and shower (yes, that’s right, the water cascades down a waterfall – so much better than the ennui of a normal tap).

Despite being cloaked in glorious tackiness, Madonna Inn delivers a somewhat surprisingly comfortable hotel experience.  Rooms are stocked with a fridge, soft bathrobes and a coffeemaker, there is a spa and gym onsite, and the hotel also offers a wine cellar, large gift shop and gourmet store with snacks, cheese, and wine accoutrements.  The formal restaurant (there is also a coffee shop) serves good (though not brilliant) food at reasonable prices, a decent wine list that won’t break the bank and downright heavenly cakes (light as a feather!) for dessert.  Look over to the ballroom adjoining the restaurant and you may spot the assorted locals who come to the Inn for a bit of dancing- providing the perfect quirky cap to an overall surreal experience.

Restaurant at Madonna Inn (photo by Tony Byers)

What is the little thing that makes it worth a stay?  Kitsch, kitsch and…oh wait….what’s that?  More kitsch.

Where is it?  100 Madonna Road (just off 101 Freeway), San Luis Obispo, CA.

For more from Monica, follow her on Twitter at @MonicaJuniel.

For the latest in travel, follow us on Twitter at @ZenArtOfTravel.

Entrance to Madonna Suite (photo by Tony Byers)


Madonna Suite Table, Madonna Inn (photo by Tony Byers)


Madonna Suite Bathroom, Madonna Inn (photo by Tony Byers)


Madonna Suite Fireplace, Madonna Inn (photo by Tony Byers)

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