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MADONNA INN – SAN LUIS OBISPO, CALIFORNIA – 1973

Madonna Inn

Two weeks ago I received an email from my dear friend Ruth while on her way to Morro Bay asking for interesting stops along highway 101. I had only one response to that question: Madonna Inn!!! I suggested she’d enjoy a piece of their memorable sky-high shocking pink cake in the shocking pink dining room, study the architecture, get interior design tips, buy the Madonna Inn book, buy a new wardrobe in the boutique, shop for gifts in the gift shop, and dance a number or two. And of course say hello to Mr. and Mrs. Madonna, who often hold court from their “gold booth” in the coffee shop. Now, just two weeks later, we can do everything I suggested at the Madonna Inn except say hello to Mr. Madonna. He died last week at 85.

The Madonna Inn opened on Christmas Eve, 1958 with just twelve individually themed rooms. There are now 109. Madonna’s architectural style, a delicious high calorie combo platter where the flavors of California-arts-and-crafts, Old-World-fairytale and Victorian blend perfectly, reflects a clever almost cartoon-like sensibility while oozing with creativity and integrity.

There is no question in my mind that Alex Madonna was a creative genius. From his sky-high pink cakes to his famous men’s waterfall urinal to the one-of-a-kind themed guest rooms and suites, the Madonna Inn is to Central California what Disneyland is to Southern California. If there were a hotel in Fantasyland this would be it. In fact, outside of Disneyland the Madonna Inn has no stylistic rival. Alex Madonna and Walt Disney must be kindred spirits.

GOD BLESS AMERICANA and ALEX MADONNAIANA