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“Hits and misses” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Madonna Inn

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Madonna Inn
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   100 Madonna Road, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #8 of 31 Hotels in San Luis Obispo
Certificate of Excellence 2014
California
Top Contributor
113 reviews 113 reviews
64 hotel reviews
Reviews in 79 cities Reviews in 79 cities
259 helpful votes 259 helpful votes
“Hits and misses”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 22, 2011

Summary

Interesting, fun property with some good amenities and friendly staff but tiring rooms, some of which are significantly better than others - choose wisely. Some people will find it tacky and pricey; others will have a hoot in this one-of-a-kind place.

Hits:

- Overall, given the kitsch and landmark status of this place, it could be on cruise control and not care at all anymore. But we found that they're still trying, for the most part.
- The newer pool/spa area is exceptional, with a graduated entry to the main heated infinity pool, a couple nice hot tubs, a surprisingly attractive manmade waterfall/bridge/gazebo area, and a good-sized, well-equipped fitness room. Our first time here was short, and on a second visit, we'd focus on these amenities.
- Good lobster dinner and timely service at their steakhouse on Christmas Eve, despite being one of their busiest meals of the year. Plus, they waived corkage for our special occasion.
- During our painstaking room selection process, we've encountered a surprising amount of patience when grilling the staff by phone on what rooms are best, which have the best views/features, etc. (although their web site does a fair job as well). They are clearly trained to tolerate lots of questions on this front, while remaining friendly.
- We were presented with free sparkling wine to celebrate our special occasion.
- Parking near our room was easy.
- Views of the surrounding hills and pastureland are nice.
- The location is well situated for trips to wine country and/or Hearst Castle.
- The rock waterfall shower was fun.

Misses:

- We were disappointed by our room, Swiss Belle. The room seemed tired, in need of some updates.
- We slept terribly. The AC unit in the room made inconsistent noises, regardless which of the various settings we tried. After turning it off, we then heard the guests next door through the thin walls, then were awoken the next morning by the guests above us causing their floor (our ceiling) to creak. Management has addressed this with us, providing a credit to come back, and tips for choosing quieter rooms. If not for this, we'd have rated this property lower. Choose your room wisely.
- The tacky public spaces are fun by night, but look gaudy and tired by day.
- The signature cake looks amazing, but doesn't taste amazing.
- It's hard to judge value at a unique property like this, where every room is different, but the room prices seem too high. They'd be more tolerable if the rooms were better maintained.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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1,007 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (268)
Date | Rating
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English first
Sunnyvale, California
Senior Contributor
43 reviews 43 reviews
32 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
115 helpful votes 115 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 17, 2011

My daughter had stayed here before and loves it, so she gave me a night here (with her!) for my birthday. So fun! Yes, it can be a bit over the top, but you have to be in the right frame of mind to just enjoy. We had the Starlight Room, which has blue walls with a swirly, sparkly design. The furniture was "French" looking, with gold and silver trim, on the table, nightstands, and a cute settee. Very comfortable bed; the bedspread looked a bit dated. Nice bathroom with awesome shower. Heated toilet seat was great! This room has a balcony with a very pretty view of the hills. By all means check out the pool/spa area. There's a large, infinity-edge pool that was so heated we didn't even have to get used to it. Also two nice, large spa pools. I would say the only down side was our breakfast. The coffee shop was crowded, and even though we sat at the counter to hopefully get served sooner, we were ignored for a good 20 minutes before the restaurant hostess took pity on us and took our order herself! Good food, though. While we were waiting we checked out the bakery offerings - they have cakes that look awesome. At least get a yummy cookie to go like we did. All in all, a fun experience at a very unique place, and I hope to go back and experience some other rooms with my husband.

Room Tip: Check out all the rooms online
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  • Stayed May 2011, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 13, 2011

Kitschy, yes. Lots of "pink" everywhere, yes. But, we love it! Weh you book, you arrange to have a specific room. This time, we stayed in the Safari Room and it certainly brought out our "Tarzan and Jane" mood. This is a large room with two heavy posted king beds, a waterfall shower, and a great full-size tiger skin draped over the headboard to set the scene. We didn't want to leave the room, but we took the opportunity to check out their new spa facilities and the great pool area. Very nice! We've also stayed in the Rock Bottom room before and it's like sleeping in a luxurious cave with a great rock waterfall shower. This is definitely NOT your typical hotel! Even though we visited this time for "couples time", there are some really fun rooms there that we've shared with the kids, too. You can check out each room's decor on their website before you book. With their variety of great restaurants you won't need to leave the facilities for a great immersion vacation.

Room Tip: Check out the room details on their website first.
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  • Stayed October 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco
Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 11, 2011

I've stayed here before with a friend. This was the first time for my children. We had the Kona Rock room with the rock shower and gas fireplace. After regular hotel rooms for a week (besides one night on the Queen Mary in Long Beach), this was different and fun. The pool area is lovely. My son had a quick swim in the morning. The toilet seat was heated, too.
The front desk reception on check-in was not overly friendly. They were a bit more congenial on check-out.
This is a must if you are passing through the area. Check the rooms online and reserve the one you'd like. The reservations people were very helpful when I had a problem trying to book online to get the online rate.

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newbury, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 24, 2011

The best work to describe the Madonna Inn is "Eclectic".

It won't suit all tastes, but if you want different, here is the place to go.

I had Cabin Still and when I walked in it left me speechless for a few seconds. The rock everywhere made me feel like I'd wandered into Fred Flintstone's bachelor pad. A comfy bed and a decent shower completed it for me.

The steakhouse looked like it was furnished by a cross between Martha Stewart and Barbara Cartland. Flowers and Pink, Pink and Flowers...
As others have mentions, the steaks are huge and although mine was a tad over-done, very tasty and full of flavour..

Overall, stay here if you want something different and visual treat, but after one night, I was ready to leave and join the real world.

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rutherfords46
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 20, 2011

If you are travelling down Highway 1 and need an overnight stay (like us) then don't miss this hotel. What a wonderful time we had in Jungle Rocks room. We ate dinner in the steak house, swam in the beautiful pool and had breakfast in the cafe. We left our passports in the previous hotel safe and the girls at the Madonna Inn took care of it for us and had our passports sent to us at the next hotel. Excellent service.

  • Stayed April 2011
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 20, 2011

My partner and I had travelled down from San Francisco (about 3 hours drive - we took the costal route) as a "pit stop” for one night on our road trip to Las Vegas. He had stayed at the Madonna Inn before many years ago and said it was bizarre and had to be seen! However... I didn’t realise quite how much.

We arrived about 5pm and had no delay checking in; our room was ready straight away.

If you are reading this review after others on this hotel, by now you probably know that all the rooms have separate "themes". After much deliberation over what room to stay in (there are about 100 rooms) we finally settled on the "Hearts & Flowers" room. We booked it some 6 weeks in advance.

The room was massive and so well thought out. With a rock shower and sink! And flower wallpaper with heart cushions.

It was clean and tidy with complementary soap/shower gel/shower cap/shampoo/conditioner/body lotion. As well as tea and coffee making facilities, an irom and a TV. All what you would expect from a decent hotel.

As a woman....The only disappointing feature was the hairdryer! As im sure my hair would have dried quicker if i'd have stood outside and let the wind dry it for me. Minor flaw. So definitely take your own!

After we settled in it was too late to use the pool facilities....(and the weather was slightly chilly) but on viewing them could imagine that on a sunny day would be lovely to sit by.

We ate in the Goldrush Steakhouse located inside the main area in the evening (you have to walk down a hill from the Hearts and Flowers room to get to the main area). The food was fantastic and the staff were friendly and very helpful...and also very knowledgeable about the red wine selection! The decor was tacky but fabulously tacky! With fairy lights and pink leather seating!

The "Bakery" had the most beautifully decorated selection of cakes. I almost didnt want to eat mine!

The hotel is situated on the highway and so is easily accessible by car. However the only downside being that if you had stayed there for more than one night...there doesnt appear to be anything else in the area to do. BUT having only stayed one night, please dont take my word for it.

All in all a fabulous place with great atmosphere.

If you are thinking of staying in this hotel! DO IT! You wont regret it!

Room Tip: Book in advance!!
See more room tips
  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Madonna Inn

Address: 100 Madonna Road, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405
Location: United States > California > San Luis Obispo County > San Luis Obispo
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#6 Romantic Hotel in San Luis Obispo
#8 Family Hotel in San Luis Obispo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Madonna Inn 3*
Number of rooms: 110
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Madonna Hotel San Luis Obispo
Madonna Inn San Luis Obispo
Madonna San Luis Obispo

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