Madonna Inn – San Luis Obispo, California - Atlas Obscura
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San Luis Obispo, California

Madonna Inn

A hotel and restaurant serving as the mecca of kitsch. 

Built in 1958 by Alex and Phyllis Madonna, the Madonna Inn is an exceptionally bizarre Swiss Alps-inspired hotel and restaurant that seems to celebrate all that is garish and tacky in human taste.

Writer Umberto Eco perhaps described it best, imagining the decor was conceived when “Albert Speer, while leafing through a book on Gaudi, swallowed an overgenerous dose of LSD and began to build a nuptial catacomb for Liza Minelli.”

The Madonna Inn consists of 109 lavish rooms, all with different themes and names to match: Floral Fantasy, Jungle Rock, Sir Walter Raleigh, and Whispering Hills, to name a few. No two rooms are the same.

All the colors of the rainbow are employed, but pink is most notably favored, especially in the unusual rosy lobby dining room, furnished with bright pink booths to match the light pink tablecloths. Even the sugar on the tables is pink.

To fully experience this establishment in all its gaudy glory, male visitors should make a point of visiting the waterfall urinal in the lobby restroom.