When Alex and Phyllis Madonna opened the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo in 1958, it wasn’t as ostentatious as it is now: in fact, the original 12 rooms burned down in a 1966 fire. From their ashes, the Madonna family built the most ridiculous and amazing motel you’re likely to find anywhere. Alex Madonna infused his passion for pink into everything, and he sought to give travelers a unique experience with themed rooms. Over the years, 110 rooms were built — from the relatively simple to the “Oh my God you’ve got to be kidding me.”
While individual tastes my vary, here is a ranking of my 25 favorite rooms. Just in case you don’t pick up on my bias, I have a thing for the Madonna Inn’s famous rock waterfall showers.
17. Floral Fantasy
If you like pink, you’ll love the Floral Fantasy room. The whole Madonna Inn is pink-heavy — seriously, it’s everywhere — but this room is particularly in-your-face about it. I imagine it smells like grandma’s perfume, and I’m actually kind of into that.
13. Harvard Square
The Harvard Square room is perfect for those of us who couldn’t get into Harvard. It feels like the kind of place you could stay up late smoking cigars and controlling the global economy. (You can’t do either of those things here.) At least you can tell everyone you went to Harvard.
10. Old Mill
The Old Mill room is the most Disney you can get outside of Disneyland. The storybook charm is off the charts, and while you won’t be dressed by animated bluebirds, you will get to watch little figurines move with the mill. Think of it as a really dull ride.
See a full list of the rooms here.
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