8.23.2012

California Fun: The Madonna Inn


One of my favorite close-by towns to visit is San Luis Obispo, so we had to take Liezl out to SLO while she was here. It just so happens that the Madonna Inn is mentioned in Vintage L.A. as an out-of-LA day trip, so we got to check one location off from our tour list before we even got to Los Angeles. It's obvious why it would be included in the book; it's a quirky vintage paradise for anyone who loves kitsch and over-the-top gaudy decor. Created in the 1950s by Alex Madonna and his wife Phyllis, the inn has 110 rooms, each with its own unique theme ranging from Western to Caveman to Carousel and pretty much anything else you might be able to think of. The men's bathroom in the main building is particularly famous for its rock waterfall urinal which is always bombarded with tourists. The main lobby and restaurant are covered in wall-to-wall pink, and my personal favorite detail, flocked wallpaper. It's really an experience to visit. Someday I'd like to stay there, but for this visit, we sat at the counter of the Copper Cafe and sampled the bakery's very fancy cake.


I ordered the lemon coconut cake, and Liezl had their iconic pink champagne cake. We tried a bit of each other's and I have to say, those cakes are all winners. Not for the faint of dessert heart though; I couldn't finish one slice in a single sitting. I once made a slice last for about a week, it's that sweet and filling. Jose being the non-cake-fan that he is, opted for a Monte Cristo sandwich that looked pretty darn good (if you eat ham, which I don't). I'll just settle for sugary goodness, thanks.


The Gold Rush Steak House definitely showcases the height of the Madonna Inn's crazy opulence. It would be fun to dine there in the evening someday with all of the tiny fairy lights glowing. You can sort of see the pink and red flocked wallpaper that gives me such a kick. Can you imagine decorating your living room with that stuff? Wow. Have you ever stayed at or visited the Madonna Inn?


After we stuffed ourselves with cake (and a sandwich), we left the inn and walked around downtown San Luis. We stopped by Bubblegum Alley and I had to take a few pictures of the place that helped us get a photo published in UPPERCASE Magazine. You might feel a little like taking a bath in sanitizer after seeing this particular sight. Don't touch the walls!

16 comments:

  1. Crazy, I live here! Nice time huh.

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  2. Wow! What a cool place. That cake looks like a sweet slice of heaven to me. :)

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  3. I've heard of the Madonna Inn and am determined to visit it one day, even though I have presently never been to the West coast. I love the whole kitschy vibe it has. Those cakes look epic, I have a major sweet tooth but I doubt whether I'd be able to finish a slice. Thanks for the pictures and it sounds like you and your husband had a fabulous time.

    <3Honeysuckelle

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  4. oh my lord that cake is insane looking! i love it!!! <333

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  5. I *just* moved away from California, but this post makes me want to go back! I'm sad I had no idea that this hotel existed until now - it looks so incredible! You did a wonderful job capturing it, though - the colors are absolutely perfect oh my goodness *_*

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  6. Wow I just caught up on the homepage of your blog and now I'm your newest fan. Your pictures are so dreamy and I'm very homesick now since I'm a native southern Cali girl (now a northern cali girl)

    - Sarah
    agirlintransit.blogspot.com

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  7. These photos are so lovely! You really know how to capture atmospheres :)

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  8. I love this post!
    We visit the Madonna inn when we were travelling in California, but never stayed!
    It's kitsch heaven

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  9. Oh wow! I would love to see the expression on someone's face as they randomly pulled up here for a night to stay... :D Looks like a lot of fun :)

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  10. That hotel sounds incredible! I love that pink dining room. It's so cute!

    xoxo
    C

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  11. i love it! soo cute this is on my list of places i want to visit and now i want to go even more

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  12. Wowwwwww! So much pink. I've always wanted to go there - I've seen some photos of the themed rooms and they all look amazing :D
    -Andi x

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  13. Not to sound totally strange, but I have seen some of your comments on Rock n Roll Bride and then one on Twinkie Chan's blog, and I finally decided to click in. So glad I did! These photos are incredible.

    Also, I just wanted to mention that your photo of Bubblegum Alley reminds me of the gum wall near Pike Place in Seattle (where I live). Very cool... but yes, disgusting if you think about it. =)

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