Madonna Inn, San Luis Obispo

We spy with our little eye something… and it’s… pink.
At Madonna Inn, there is no chance of winning this game. Because almost everything is pink at this iconic California resort.

Only a few things can be kitschy and cool at once, and one of those things is Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo. Already the pink neon sign along the Highway 101 will lure you in to pull over and take a picture — or ten. But what awaits you inside the fairytale -style exterior is going to be a sensory overload. Yet, we just love it.


The Copper Cafe is Swiss cottage meets country saloon with studded, red leather bar stools, grape vine shaped sconces, ornament wood carvings, copper tables, and dirndl-dressed service.

Tucked away left from the entrance is the Madonna Inn Bakery, which produces the infamous Pink Champagne Cake. A fluffy, creamy carb dream using Guittard pink chocolate. Fun fact: In May 2016, Madonna Inn experienced a pink chocolate shortage due to Guittard’s overhaul of chocolate dyes. The Pink Champagne became creme-colored Champagne and the customers, let’s say… they survived. Today, pink is back on the cake. Buy a piece or take a whole cake home to treat your friends.

The Gold Rush Steak House, in the back of the building, is where the most of the pink magic happens. Pink chairs, pink leather booths, pink table cloth, pink napkins, fake pink flowers with a good pinch of gold is the signature room of Madonna Inn. Opening at 5 pm, the Steak House is excellent for a date night with good food, decadent desserts, and many cocktails. Entertainment is also arranged. Every night a local musician takes the stage and plays some tunes.

“[Pink], it makes everyone look good. It takes off 10 years.” – Phyllis Madonna, owner of Madonna Inn

If you are tired to continue driving or Madonna Inn is your destination, there are 110 rooms to choose from.

Each and every decorated in a different style. Prefer to sleep in the Desert Sands or Fabulous Fifties, or rather Gipsy Rock? Have a look at their comprehensive room list.
In 1958, Madonna Inn started with only 12 rooms and grew by 1966 into a resort with tennis courts (also pink), swimming pool, banquet rooms, wedding halls, wellness spa, shops, restaurants, and bars. Back then, Alex Madonna and his wife Phyllis had a dream to give their guest an absolutely unique experience. Mr. Madonna disliked uniformity.

“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.”*

Today Madonna is a destination for regular travelers, honeymooners, wedding parties, bachelorette and bachelor weekenders, company retreats and everyone else who wants a little bit more extravaganza.

★Madonna Inn
100 Madonna Rd, San Luis Obispo, CA
(805) 543-3000


*California”s Oddball Hotel, January 3, 1982, The New York Times

**Photography by Ana Kamin

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2 Responses
  • Taylor Rae
    October 12, 2016

    LOVE these photos! Captures the Madonna inn perfectly.

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