The Madonna Inn falls near the top of the "California Kitsch" category of attractions. Yes, it is an attraction, not just a hotel. Like Disneyland, it is a place where you put reality away and enter a land that is so make-believe and kitschy that it makes you laugh and, somehow, brightens your day. I suggest a one-night MAXIMUM stay, as the attraction does wear thin after a few hours (and it's not like there is tons to do in the immediate area).
I chose to stay in "The Old World Suite," one of the more over-the-top "cave rooms," complete with gas fireplace and rock shower. It was a fun room, if somewhat gloomy due to its location in somewhat of a sub-basement of the hotel, and lack of much natural light. The OTT furniture and rich red-velvet decor - like something great-great-aunt Mabel might have had in her living room - added to the somewhat creepy, unreal feeling. Again, for a night - very cool; by the morning I couldn't wait to get out of the "cave" and into sunlight!
Price, as you would imagine, is on the high side - you don't stay here because it's a bargain. Service and amenities were fine. Everything in the room worked. I had a very nice meal at the steakhouse for dinner (see separate review) and breakfast in the morning at the coffee shop, which was fine.
Overall, a nice experience - and definitely one of those "California Experiences" that one who lives in the state, or visits the state often, needs to check off his or her list!
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- Also Known As:
- Madonna Hotel San Luis Obispo
- Madonna Inn San Luis Obispo
- Madonna San Luis Obispo