Madonna Inn

(Only a little bit about language.)

My daughter and grand-daughter are going off on a mini-vacation on the Central Coast of California in a few days — San Luis Obispo for one night and then on to Cambria (for a visit to the Hearst Castle in San Simeon). The attractions of SLO for Elizabeth and Opal are two: Arroyo Grande (one of the Five Cities — Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach, Oceano, Shell Beach, and Pismo Beach, where the clams come from), where my father and stepmother lived for years (and where Elizabeth and my guy Jacques and I visited them often); and that monument to high kitsch the Madonna Inn, where Elizabeth and Opal will spend the night.

About the Madonna Inn, from Wikipedia:

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. The Inn was created by Alex Madonna, a successful construction magnate and entrepreneur (d. April 2004), and his wife Phyllis. The well-known motor inn, which includes a restaurant and bakery, is prominently 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. 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 rooms are a hoot. Here’s the Gypsy Rock Room (142), where E. and O. will be staying:

The ad copy (entertaining in its florid style):

A VIVID MULTICOLORED PAINTED CEILING, SYMBOLIC OF A BRIGHT GYPSY SCARF, forms an overhead umbrella embracing this unique room. Several walls are constructed of huge native rock incorporating a small alcove sitting area. The bathroom features a rock waterfall shower and a distinctive architectural accent is found in the cut-away rock framed doorway. This room is for a care-free, fun-loving gypsy at heart! Located in a secluded area of the hilltop unit with king bed.

Another “rock room”, the Kona Rock Room (131):

with its ad copy:

THIS ROOM IS A UNIQUE EMBODIMENT OF THE KONA COAST OF HAWAII. The natural element of rock is symbolic of the unrefined lava found on the islands. In front of the king bed, the large stone fireplace warms the cooler nights with a soft, warm light mirroring the glow of volcanic energy. The all rock bathroom with open stone shower and basins echoes the room’s distinctive theme. Located on ground level with convenient access to the secluded hilltop pool.

And one more, Rock Bottom (143):

with its ad copy, a little hymn to rocks:

BEGINNING AS EARLY AS THE STONE AGE, rocks have had an impressive impact on our culture. Mining techniques have been used to construct man-made caves, although Rock Bottom is more symbolic of an underground cavern. Caverns are a natural wonder that encompass a mystical charm that can be found in this magical world of solid rock walls, floor and ceiling. A simulated erosion technique was used in the bathroom to create the primitive rock basin and sculptured waterfall shower. From top to “bottom,” this room is “rock-solid” fun! You’ll reach “Rock Bottom” at the end of a stone pathway located in the hilltop unit. The room is furnished with a king bed.

Other rock rooms: Jungle Rock (139), Lucky Rock (134), Misty Rock (191), Swiss Rock (135), Villa Rock (136), Yosemite Rock (130). You can imagine what they’re like, or look them up on the Madonna Inn’s site.

All is not rocks. There are a lot of theme rooms, mostly with signature colors (especially pink), like the Madonna Suite (141), pictured below:

The ad copy:

A SIGNATURE ROOM WITH ALL THE COLOR, FUN AND FLAVOR that captures the true essence of the Madonna Inn…including the custom “pink rose” carpet. The massive fireplace, the unique walk-in waterfall shower and the unusual bathroom sinks were designed and built from native rock. The interior furnishings were hand selected by Phyllis Madonna and all characteristics of the room play a part in making this fanciful hideaway a favorite with our guests. A stone pathway leads to the entrance of this secluded suite in the hilltop unit. King bed, fireplace, waterfall shower and sinks.

Note that the Madonnas managed to work some rocks into even this room. Well, the place is built into the side of a mountain.

I’m sure there will be photos from the trip.


2 Responses to “Madonna Inn”

  1. MCB Says:

    Hope you have a great trip. I have loved the Madonna Inn since I first peed in its fantastic mens’ restroom at age 5 or so. (Most recent stay was in the Oak Leaf room a few years ago – it seems to be right out of Twin Peaks.)

  2. arnold zwicky Says:

    From Will Parsons on Google+:

    I’ve stayed at this Inn three times. The last time the power went out and I was able to get moved into a room with a huge fireplace. It was all pink rose wallpaper and pink carpeting. It was fabulous.

    I strongly recommend getting a room with a fireplace, less musty and you’ve got backup light and heat in case of a power outage.

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