Madonna Inn in California

Monday, 18 December 2023 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Hotels
Reading Time:  4 minutes

© flickr.com - Omar Omar/cc-by-2.0

© flickr.com – Omar Omar/cc-by-2.0

The Madonna Inn is a motel in San Luis Obispo, California. Opened for business in 1958, it quickly became a landmark on the Central Coast of California. It is noted for its unique decor, pink dining room, and themed rooms. It was created by Alex Madonna, a successful construction magnate and entrepreneur, and his wife Phyllis. The inn includes a restaurant and bakery, and is located on the west side of US Route 101 and situated on the lower eastern portion of Cerro San Luis Obispo.

The property is adorned with a pseudo-Swiss-Alps exterior and lavish common rooms accented by pink roses, Western murals, and hammered copper. The predominant exterior color is pink, which extends to the lamp posts and trash cans. Each of the 110 guest rooms and suites is uniquely designed and themed, though some tourists stop just to peek at the famous rock waterfall urinal located in the men’s restroom, a feature designed by Hollywood set designer Harvey Allen Warren.

The boulders used for the Inn weigh up to 209 short tons (190 t) for the exterior and 15 short tons (14 t) for the interior. A 45 short tons (41 t) boulder is shared as a fireplace for the adjoining Madonna (#141) and Old World (#192) suites.

© flickr.com - Omar Bárcena/cc-by-2.0 © flickr.com - Jeremy Thompson/cc-by-2.0 © flickr.com - Omar Bárcena/cc-by-2.0 Alex Madonna’s Gold Rush Steak House © Daderot © flickr.com - Omar Omar/cc-by-2.0 © flickr.com - Jeremy Thompson/cc-by-2.0
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Alex Madonna’s Gold Rush Steak House © Daderot
The Madonna Inn opened as a motel inn on December 24, 1958 upon the completion of its first twelve rooms. The Madonnas were so excited to have their first guest, they refunded his $7 room rental. Demand was sufficient to expand to forty rooms in 1959, and the Inn facility was constructed in 1960. Reportedly, when the architect Richard Neutra stayed at the Inn, he asked Alex Madonna about the design: “Alex, you didn’t have an architect here, did you? It’s just as well you didn’t because you couldn’t have captured all the details if you had to draw them out. I don’t know how you would draw these things and then accomplish them.”

In May 1966, the Inn’s original units were burned to the ground in a fire. It reopened a year later, and by the end of the decade, all of the rooms had been rebuilt in manner for which they are known today. There are 110 rooms.

In 1975, critic Paul Goldberger wrote an article about the Madonna Inn for The New York Times, bringing it to national prominence. By 1982, the Madonna Inn was already well-known, and Alex Madonna was quoted as saying, “Anybody can build one room and a thousand like it. It’s more economical. Most places try to give you as little as possible. I try to give people a decent place to stay where they receive more than they are entitled to for what they’re paying. I want people to come in with a smile and leave with a smile. It’s fun.”

Read more on Madonna Inn and Wikipedia Madonna Inn (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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