Weird Hotel & Restaurant in California

There was a Travel Channel documentary recently about weird hotels, and there was one that was mentioned whose name I have, regretfully, forgotten.

I believe it was in Santa Barbara, and the original owners were an eccentric old man and woman who decorated each room with a ridiculous devotion to kitsch. The restaurant was decorated in an abundance of pink flowers and vines – the narrator described it as “if Liberace had a hunting lodge.”

Does this ring any bells?

Can you check out anytime you like but can never leave?

I don’t suppose OP is thinking of the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, CA?

Yep, that’s it! Thanks! :cool:

Yes, but only a few rooms have taken to excess decor. And in at least one case- the cave room, it’s often booked months in advance so the idea worked.

I’m so intrigued by this hotel…

We had a Dopefest there back in July 2001. A few people stayed in the Pick and Shovel room, and that’s where a lot of the weekend’s activities took place. The restaurant was indeed a pink Pepto-Bismol like nightmare, and the men’s bathroom had a waterfall in it.

As soon as i saw the thread title, i knew what hotel it was going to be.

My wife and i periodically drive from San Diego to San Francisco, and we’ve promised ourselves that one of these days we’re going to stay at the Madonna Inn for a night on the way up. San Luis Obispo is a pretty quaint little town too, and the surrounding area is beautiful.

For a slightly different kitsch experience, last time we drove home we stopped in Buellton to have lunch at Andersen’s, the split pea soup place.

My family stayed there a few times back in the day. For a kid with an active imagination it’s unspeakably awesome; the Cave Room is the coolest goddamned thing in the world when you’re nine.

How was the food?

I’ve stayed at the Madonna Inn. It’s a riot. The food is quite good, for that sort of thing. And the real benefit is that the Hearst Castle is right up the road for a visit. :slight_smile:

I don’t think I ate there, but a few of us had a few drinks there one night. It was a long time ago, and the weekend was…kind of a blur. :wink:

From the Caveman Room description:


I think the Carin room would give me nightmares.

I’ve never stayed there, but have used the men’s bathroom with the waterfall. Quite trippy.

I’ve stayed there, in a Western type room. I don’t recall the food as being that great.

The men’s room is amazing. One time we stopped there I checked to see that no one else was in it, and invited my wife and daughters in for a look.

Nothing nearly this interesting in Santa Barbara. I used to stay at Davy Crockett’s hotel (Fess Parker) all the time for a workshop, but that is just a standard resort Doubletree across the road from the beach.

Holy smokes. That’s a hell of a place, all right. I can definitely see taking the right woman there for the weekend.

I’ve lived in San Luis Obispo for the past 6 years. Madonna Inn is definitely worth seeing, if you’re out this way. I’ve eaten in the cafe a few times - the food is OK, but nothing special. The cakes are pretty fabulous though. Pink was Alex Madonna’s favorite color, which is why there is so much of it!

Here’s another unusual place in the county : Nitt Witt Ridge. It’s about 45 minutes up the coast from San Luis Obispo, in Cambria. It’s pretty amazing, in a weird way.

Oh, and “Luis” is pronounced like “Louis”, not “Loo-ey.” :slight_smile:

Looks like Central California is now in the running for next year’s honeymoon. :cool:

You really pronounce it like that? Being fluent in Spanish I don’t think I could bear pronouncing it any other way than the original way: loo-EESE

But then again I live in Los Angeles and I definitely use the gringo pronunciation for the name of this city, so I’m not exactly consistent.