Madonna Inn

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Madonna Inn
Madonna Inn logo.png
Madonna Inn is located in California
Madonna Inn
Location in California
Madonna Inn is located in the US
Madonna Inn
Madonna Inn (the US)
General information
LocationUnited States
Address100 Madonna Road
San Luis Obispo, California
Coordinates35°16′03″N 120°40′29″W / 35.2675°N 120.67472°W / 35.2675; -120.67472Coordinates: 35°16′03″N 120°40′29″W / 35.2675°N 120.67472°W / 35.2675; -120.67472
OpeningDecember 1958
OwnerAlex Madonna and Phyllis Madonna
ManagementAlex Madonna and Phyllis Madonna
Technical details
Floor count1 x 2-storey building
2 x 1-storey buildings
Design and construction
DeveloperAlex Madonna and Phyllis Madonna
Other information
Number of rooms110
Number of suites28
Number of restaurantsMadonna Inn Bakery & Pastry Shop
Copper Café & Coffee Bar
Alex Madonna’s Gold Rush Steak House
Silver Bar Cocktail & Lounge

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.[1] 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 Madonna Inn opened as a motel inn on December 24, 1958 upon the completion of its first twelve rooms.[1] Demand was sufficient to expand to forty rooms in 1959, and the Inn facility was constructed in 1960.[2]

In 1966, the Inn's original units were burned to the ground in a dramatic fire. It reopened a year later, and by the end of the decade, all of the rooms had been rebuilt in the unique and ornate style they are known for today. There are 110 rooms.

By 1982 the Madonna Inn was already well known, and Alex Madonna was quoted as saying, "Anybody can build one room and a thousand like it. It's more economical. Most places try to give you as little as possible. I try to give people a decent place to stay where they receive more than they are entitled to for what they're paying. I want people to come in with a smile and leave with a smile. It's fun."[3]


Aiming to cater to a range of tastes, rooms were given unusual names such as the Yahoo, Love Nest, Old Mill, Kona Rock, Irish Hills, Cloud Nine, Just Heaven, Hearts & Flowers, Rock Bottom, Austrian Suite, Cabin Still, Old World Suite, Caveman Room, Elegance, Daisy Mae, Safari Room, Highway Suite, Jungle Rock, American Home, Bridal Falls and the Carin. Some rooms are grouped in themes. For example, the rooms, "Ren", "Dez, and "Vous" are a play on the French word, rendezvous, and "Merry", "Go", and "Round", for an amusement park carousel.

In popular culture[edit]

  • The Madonna Inn provided the backdrop for an episode of ABC's reality series The Bachelor. In the season 14 episode that aired on January 25, 2010, pilot Jake Pavelka and the nine remaining women take a road trip up the California coast, visit the Oceano Dunes, and stay overnight at the Madonna Inn.[4]
  • A 1994 episode of The Simpsons entitled "Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy" features a hotel based on the Madonna Inn, which among other things also contains a Caveman Room.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic's 1978 song "Take Me Down" mentions the Madonna Inn's famous urinal (erroneously referred to as "toilets"), as well as other local landmarks such as Pismo Beach, Hearst Castle, Bubblegum Alley, and Morro Rock.
  • Roxette filmed a video here for their single "The Centre of the Heart" (2001), dir. Jonas Åkerlund.
  • The "Rigoletto" segment of the movie Aria (1987) was shot around the hotel.
  • The music video for Foxes' song "Echo" was filmed there.
  • The music video for Grimes' song "Flesh without blood/Life in the vivid dream" was filmed there.
  • The music video for Diana Espir's song "Side Chick" was filmed there.
  • The music video for Hey Violet's song "Guys My Age" was filmed there.
  • The promotional video for Lady Antebellum's seventh album Heart Break was filmed there, with unique rooms at the inn being used as a different theme for each song on the album.

Image gallery[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Lily Koppel (April 26, 2004). "Alex Madonna, 85, Creator of a Memorable and Colorful Inn". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 August 2010.
  2. ^ "History of the Madonna Inn". Madonna Inn. Retrieved 25 August 2010.
  3. ^ Aljean Harmetz (January 3, 1982). "California's Oddball Hotel". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 August 2010.
  4. ^ Tonya Strickland (January 19, 2010). "Oceano Dunes, Madonna Inn featured in next week's episode of 'The Bachelor'". The San Luis Obispo Tribune. Retrieved 25 August 2010.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]