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Friday 5 August 2016

Our Stay at the Madonna Inn

After my last post about our trip to San Diego over the Winter break last year I thought it was about time I finished posting about the rest of that particular trip. 

Our visit to San Diego was part of our Southern California road trip over the girls' Winter break from school. We drove down to Los Angeles where we spent a few days hanging out in Downtown and Longbeach before heading to San Diego on Christmas Eve. We then spent four days in San Diego before starting our drive back north. We spent a day at Legoland and then made our way to San Luis Obpiso and the subject of this particular post: the Madonna Inn.

Where to start about the Madonna Inn? Let's see... It's tacky. It's over the top. It's pink. It's one of the most amazing places I've ever stayed!

The very first time I read about the Madonna Inn I just knew that we needed to stay there one day. Everything about this resort is amazing. Every guest room is different. And when I say different I don't just mean a different layout or slightly different decor. I mean different! Different from each other and different to any other hotel room you've ever stayed in. Each room has a theme and decor to match. There is the Caveman room with rock walls, faux fur furnishings and a waterfall shower in the bathroom. The Mountain Cabin room has rustic furnishings and a hand painted mountain mural on the walls. The Old Mill room looks straight out of a storybook with a stone walled and thatched roof mill coming out of a wall painted to look like European countryside. The Love Nest room is pink and features love birds entwined with hearts and vines on the walls. As I booked our stay at the Madonna Inn at quite late notice for a very busy time of year there was only one room left. We stayed in the Bit of Solvang room, which was still rather fancy but not as decorative as many of the other rooms. Next time we'll make sure to book in advance so we can choose one of the crazier rooms.   

The Madonna's Inn's quirkiness doesn't end with the rooms. The main building is home to the Gold Rush Steak House; the glitziest restaurant I've ever seen. With round, pink padded booths, the Madonna Inn's signature pink floral carpet and chandeliers galore it's more than a little over the top. When we visited it was decked out with Christmas decorations taking it from a little over the top to so far over the top the top was just a distant memory! It was fantastic! The neighboring Copper Cafe and Silver Bar Cocktail Lounge were just as ridiculous but on a slightly less grand scale. The tables in the steak house and cafe are set with the Madonna Inn's signature glassware: colorful goblets featuring the same floral pattern as the carpet. The girls couldn't get enough of it, especially the glasses and all that pink floral carpet. We ate a late lunch in the Copper Cafe and an even later dinner in the Gold Rush Steak House. We stayed at the Madonna Inn the night before Kim's 40th birthday so I really wanted us to have a special birthday dinner for him during our stay. As his birthday is New Year's Eve I knew it would be tricky to get a last minute booking anywhere so a birthday dinner a night early was the plan. I made a reservation upon check in but by that time there was only a table available quite late. So we ate dinner at 9:30pm and ended up with three sleeping children at the table! Note to self; make dinner bookings in advance next time.

After our late lunch the girls and I headed upstairs to the gift shop to get our very own Madonna Inn goblets to take home. There were so many colors to chose from that it was hard to narrow it down but we ended up going with pink for Lola (no surprises there!), periwinkle for Ava, yellow for Mathilde and green for me. Mathilde and Lola were both keen to take home some of the carpet too. Mathilde does blend in nicely with it in her pink dress!

It was then time for the girls favorite activity whenever we stay in a hotel - taking a dip in the swimming pool. As the pool is outside and it wasn't a particularly warm day, we were the only people in the pool. And I say pool, but really, we were in the hot tub for most of the time because it was even too cold for my water babies to swim!

After our time in the pool we took a turn from our Summery activity to a rather Wintry activity and went ice skating. Throughout December the onsite Expo Center was home to an indoor ice skating rink. I had booked a family package that came with ice skating tickets so we headed to the rink, strapped on some skates and hit the ice. As some of you may remember, Ava used to take figure skating lessons so she's our little pro on the ice. Lola is still a little nervous and likes to hold onto either Kim or me most of the time so we took it in turns skating with her. Mathilde was keen to give it a try too so she had a few turns on the ice with both Kim and me.

After ice skating we headed back to the Gold Rush Steak House for dinner. We had to wait a little while for our table so the girls and I went to explore a little more. By the time we got our table it was close to 9:30pm and the girls were going a little silly. While we waited for our food the girls colored their children's menus and made hats out of the napkins. By the time we were half way through our dinner they were all asleep! The meals were rather large and neither Kim or I were able to finish them - even with the help of the kids. The staff organized for a small fridge to be set up in our room so we could take our leftovers in a doggy bag. By the time we woke the big girls and walked back to our room, the fridge was already there waiting for our left over steak. Such excellent service and they fridge was provided free of charge.

The following morning the girls and I woke up early to go play tennis before checking out. As it was Kim's big day we let him sleep in. The girls had been super excited to play tennis on the pink tennis court - with pink racquets and balls no less! It was quite a cool morning, but the sun was shining and the resort was beautiful in the fresh morning air. We walked past green fields and made our way to reception where we picked up our racquets and balls before heading to the court - with a stop for coffee on the way, of course! Neither Ava nor Lola can actually play tennis so there was really just a lot of hitting the balls all over the place happening. Good thing we were the only ones on the court! Mathilde spent her time chasing after a ball, Lola did an awful lot of posing, and Ava tried her hardest to actually play tennis with me. As you can see, we were all dressed in our finest sporting attire! A pink tutu is definitely a must when playing on a pink tennis court!

After playing "tennis" we took our racquets back and explored the main building and grounds a little more while we waited for Kim to wake for breakfast and check out.

Our stay at the Madonna Inn was only very brief, but we had an amazing time there. The girls are really keen to go back again and stay a little longer in one of the crazier rooms. The resort offers fun activities like horse riding and bike riding (pink bikes of course), plus there are plenty of trails for hiking. We will definitely be back for a longer stay at some point.

Have you ever visited the Madonna Inn? If you're visiting San Luis Obispo you must go check it out, even if you don't stay there. The cafe, bar, restaurant and gift shop are all open to the public and are just as popular with day trippers as they are with overnight guests.

For more information, and to check out those crazy guest rooms, visit www.madonnainn.com


  1. We are staying in the Sky Room for a week in October with our two kids! I am so excited, and it was great to read a post from someone who went with kids. We live in Redwood City, so I'm hoping it will be an easy drive down.

    1. How fun! The Sky Room looks perfect for families. My girls would love the loft :)


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