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“Madonna Inn = Fantastic Voyage” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Madonna Inn

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Madonna Inn
Ranked #5 of 32 Hotels in San Luis Obispo
Certificate of Excellence
A TripAdvisor Member
“Madonna Inn = Fantastic Voyage”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 16, 2006

The Madonna Inn is the place where outrageous design dreams come true. Not only is the realization of a beautiful, fantastical vision, it's situated in the beautiful California central coast.

The Madonna Inn isn't just whimsy, however. The staff is excellent (always in tune with the fun, trippy quality of the place) and professional, the beds are amazingly comfortable, and the ice buckets are padded and pink, like champagne.

Take note of the recurring themes -- ranchero-style, curly cut door moldings, local stone in fireplaces and bathrooms, and pink, pink, pink -- imagination everywhere.

The Madonna Inn is much more than the cave bathroom -- you need to stay overnight to really experience it! (Best done with a group of friends, so you can visit more than one room.) Hats off to Alex and Phyllis Madonna for creating this living masterpiece of Americana!

  • Stayed December 2004
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
28 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,519 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (404)
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Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
11 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 3, 2006

We stayed at Madonna inn back in 2002 when we visited Hearst Castle. My colleagues highly recommended it and I also really like it too.

I read some of the angry reviews here and I can understand why. Firstly each room is decorated differently. There are quite a number of rooms that look cheesy, whack, dated and mismatched, but you have to look very carefully on their website and choose the right one for yourself. To be honest I probably would feel miserable too if I stayed at 195 tack room (I actually peaked through the window of this vacant room and it looked like someone got killed there with all that red and reflective plastic bed cover!). However I picked carefully on their website and there were a few of them that I liked that are equally eclectic in a stylish way. Most of them were booked so I was left with "What's Left" (room 158). It wasn't my first pick so I didn't keep my hopes up, but I was completely shocked that it turns out to be a very lively room. It reminds me of a fairy tale gone wild. The doorframes and everything are crafted beautifully and they even have these crazy plastic flowers and fake birds on top of the mirrors in the bathroom! There are special chandelliers made with mirrors and light bulbs on the ceiling. Everything has a Rococo feel with a splash of craziness and personality to it.

Since it is a historic hotel, I pretty much prepared myself to see dirt and cracks here and there - but once again to my suprise, everything was very clean! The toilet is spotless and there are no aged-dirts or cracks anywhere. It is even in better shape than some of the big name franchise hotels. The bed cover and the curtains could be changed though as they looked a bit tired.

Another thing is, if you are more a 5-star hotel/big resort kind of person, or you don't like to research and book your hotels in advance, Madonna inn may be the wrong pick for you. Madonna inn is more for the adventurous and fun-loving type of personality. It is more of an experience rather than a hotel stay. You will either love it or hate it.

My tip is, look at the pictures, pick carefully and think clearly what makes you happy. It may not be a good idea to stay in a gloomy room even if your favorite color is blue and black. Another advice is it may be a better idea to have a short stay rather than a long stay so you won't go crazy waking up in that constant eclectic room every day.

  • Stayed February 2002
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
32 Thank IreneATL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Australia
Level Contributor
16 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 8, 2005

Our family (kids 11,13 and 15) stayed here for 1 night out of a 3 1/2 week vacation and loved it. We got the mid week special of $50 off the room rate. I was looking for experiences that my kids would really remember on our trip of a life time, and the Madonna Inn gave us just that! We stayed in the Jungle Rocks room with 2 king beds and we brought an inflatable mattress for my son, but he ended up sleeping on the lounge! The beds were really comfy and everything appeared clean. I think I was the only one who like the massaging effect of the rock waterfall shower, but all agreed it was fun to try. This room was huge, perfect for a family. We ate dinner in the Copper Cafe and enjoyed it, and had breakfast (that we bought with us), in our room.

Really nice, different stop over on our way up north!

  • Stayed November 2005
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Roxy2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Huntington Beach, CA
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 7, 2005

Just returned from a 2 night stay at the Madonna Inn. I have always wanted to stay there and I was not disappointed! We had the "Barrel of Fun" room which was extremely unique. We had our own spiral staircase to our room, rock shower and sinks, a balcony as well as a fireplace complete with "Duraflames" for us to use. Tacky room, that's what makes it fun and unusual. Comfortable bed, great robes (pink of course), and the shower was roomy and the pressure was perfect! I got a massage and I have to say it was one of the best I have had and I am a spa junky. Not the typical type spa, they are rooms that I would guess used to be guests rooms. My therapist gave me a great relaxing massage, it was private, no noise, just bliss. I showed up at 4:15 for my 4:30 appointment - she started at 4:20 and gave me the extra 10 minutes which was nice and really unheard of anywhere else. We called the coffee shop to see if they offered room service, they said they didn't really do offer this service but would bring something up. It was delivered hot to our room in about 15 minutes with a friendly staff member. Staff was extra helpful all the way around, the location is great - a must stay at least once.

Helpful?
13 Thank itstricky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hayward, California
Level Contributor
44 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 2, 2005

This place surely excites the senses and the imagination. It's like a Disneyland for adults! My boyfriend and I really enjoyed our stay here, like so many of the others who have posted reviews. I would love to revisit. However, there were some aspects of our stay that I'd like to offer up to fellow travelers for consideration:

The hotel sits isolated along the hillside within short driving distance of activities and shopping, but not within walking distance. There is an on-site spa and a pool is currently under construction, slated for opening in 2006.

Upon the recommendation of the reservation clerk, we booked the Daisy Mae room (#138) for 2 nights through their midweek special--an excellent deal considering how much the rooms cost on the weekends. The room is constructed completely out of solid rock (walls, floors, and ceiling) and has an amazing rock waterfall shower and even a rock sink. Definitely unique and stimulating to the imagination! The mirror on the ceiling above the bed is also a fun touch. However, this room surely isn't for everyone; it is so small that it holds a king bed, one chair, a small TV, and two night tables. Don’t expect to stretch out or have much space for your possessions in this room. I’ve seen pictures of the other rooms, and Daisy Mae looks like it’s the smallest. There is no dresser, no closet, no desk, no couch. The furnishings are at a bare minimum, and the room is designed only to be novel – not comfortable. Very little natural light filters through the stained glass windows, and we had to keep the AC going on full blast to keep comfortable. Whenever we entered the room, it always felt rather humid. This room was fine for young first-time visitors like us who weren’t planning to relax or sleep much anyway, but if I think most people would prefer something more spacious and airy.

Housekeeping did a good job of making our room clean and tidy and refilling the various amenities. (The vanilla soap cake is absolutely delightful—I would’ve loved to buy some to take home as gifts, and the shampoo and shower gelare nice-smelling as well. We didn’t bother with the in-room coffee.) We had a slight problem the first morning when they knocked at 9am even though we had our “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door, but they didn’t disturb us the second morning.

We dined at the Gold Rush Steak House, which has one of the most extravagant dining rooms I’ve ever seen: little lights strung everywhere, plush pink booths, pretty glassware, soft lighting, etc. If it’s something you can afford, the additional dinner & breakfast package IS worth splurging for because it allows you to order any entrée on the menu—but in order to make it worth it, you have to order the most expensive thing. We both ordered the 11 oz. Filet mignon and 1 pound Australian lobster at the recommendation of our extremely friendly and attentive waitress, who seemed just as excited to serve us as we were to dine there. The entrees came with an antipasti plate (olives, carrot and celery sticks, salami, peppers, cheese chunks—nothing too fancy, but it was a heaping plateful), warm bread, choice of soup or salad, vegetables, and choice of baked potato or rice pilaf. The soup and sides were good enough though not memorable, but the filet mignon and lobster were marvelous—cooked to perfection. They were so huge that we didn't even close to finishing our entrees. We ordered a bottle of the Madonna Inn champagne (not covered by the voucher), which was inexpensive but pleasant to drink. When we were ready for dessert, the waitress brought over a tray heaped with slices of pie and cake for us to choose from. It was much more fun than ordering from a menu!

I’d probably eat at the Steak House even if it wasn’t part of a package. It’s something worth trying if you’re in the area—but I’m not sure it would interest vegetarians or other people not fond of steaks and the like. Most of the entrees are between $20-$30—not cheap but not too outlandish. The portions are hearty and everything is well-presented, so you feel like getting your money’s worth.

Breakfast at the Copper Café was decent—not too impressive. The entrees are on the pricey side as well; I’m not sure it’d be worth the splurge outside of a package deal. I didn’t try any of the lunch items or pastries from the bakery, but the cakes on display certainly looked yummy. The pink sugar on the table for the coffee was a nice touch, as were the heavy crystal goblets for water.

With the exception of a hostess at the Steak House (she was too “busy” to acknowledge customers until after they had stood there for several awkward minutes), the service throughout the hotel—in the restaurants, registration, the gift shop—was friendly and efficient.

One thing kept our stay from being absolutely perfect: we ended up paying for the package deal that included a 2-night stay in a room plus dinner and breakfast—even though it wasn’t what we had originally requested. Even though we had enjoyed ourselves, we were left feeling like we had been “tricked” into upgrading. When I had made the reservations over the phone, I requested a room only, and the clerk acknowledged my instructions. However, when we checked in, we were presented with vouchers for dinner and breakfast. I was confused and explained that I had requested and paid for a room only (my credit card was charged upon booking). The clerk insisted that everything had already been charged in advance and the vouchers were mine, whether or not I decided to use them. She seemed so certain that I thought that I probably had gotten mixed up about the details of the package I had requested. So, we accepted and used the vouchers, and when we checked out, we saw the additional package charge on the receipt. Because we used the restaurant services and the misunderstanding seemed unintentional, I didn’t bother to dispute the charge. However, the incident did taint our overall visit a bit, and I would like to warm other visitors to be careful to avoid a similar situation.

  • Stayed November 2005
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
17 Thank UCBGirl98
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
london, UK
Level Contributor
24 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 92 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 20, 2005

I stayed here for my honeymoon beginning of September and am really pleased I did!

Only stay here if you want to stay in an amazingly different, inspiring, pink and fluffly world. I can't believe the bad reviews about 'too much pink' - that's the whole point, you have to embrace it!

Great room - Gypsy Rocks and the waterfall shower was fantatsic. I told them it was my honeymoon and they brought us a bottle of fizz with our name on the label - very nice.

Great cocktails in the bar - had a lovely Martini.

I HIGHLY recommend eating at the restaurant - the steak was superb (despite another review on here, it was the best steak I have ever eaten and I've tried a few!).

Breakfast was excellent but a bit pricey.

Worth driving 20 mins to some wineries if you like that sort of thing - Harmony winery was good and Clautier is a must - all i'll say is, get ready to have a laugh when you go there...!

Oh and you MUST go to Hearst Castle. Wow.

All in all, amazing place and I will be going back!

Stayed September 2005
Helpful?
11 Thank echevin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, UK
Level Contributor
23 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 13, 2005

We loved the Madonna Inn. We booked the room called Jungle Rock on the ground floor. It was huge with two double beds and a rock waterfall shower. We spent most of our time oooing and ahhing! It is just unlike anywhere we've ever stayed. Yes, as someone said, it is like a seventies throwback, but so what - that's why you stay there! We found the beds to be comfortable, the room to be clean and well-stocked, and the shower - well!! It's not just a gimmick, it was amazing to wash under a constant flood of warm running water! I couldn't get my husband out of there! We ate at the steakhouse, where the food was great, the service perfect and the view unlike any other restaurant we've ever been! All in all we really enjoyed our stay at the Madonna Inn - and would recommed it to people who want to stay somewhere unique and crazy.

  • Stayed September 2005
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
6 Thank thegamebird
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Madonna Inn

Property: Madonna Inn
Address: 100 Madonna Rd, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405-5489
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:
#5 Romantic Hotel in San Luis Obispo
#7 Family Hotel in San Luis Obispo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Madonna Inn 3.5*
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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