Want Kitsch? Visit California’s Slightly Crazy Madonna Inn

Published May 7, 2015
Updated January 11, 2022

In a world where businesses seem to shell out less while asking for more, California's Madonna Inn stands in stark defiance.

In a world where businesses seem to be shelling out less and less while asking for more, the California-based Madonna Inn stands in stark defiance.

What started in 1958 as a meager 12-room motel along California’s Central Coast has transformed into a 110-room beast of uniqueness that has inspired countless road trips. Today, the sole commonality between the Madonna Inn’s rooms is their fierce loyalty to the obscure.

Madonna Inn In California

Madonna Inn

Known as the world’s kitschiest hotel, it stands to reason that decor varies from room to room, with each room typically being three times larger than a conventional hotel room, and much more colorful. This landmark hotel is sprawled out over 2,000 acres with multiple buildings containing all of the individual rooms, eateries, and shops.

Designer and entrepreneur Alex Madonna famously scribbled the first floor plan of his dream motel onto the back of a napkin, and since then it has been nothing short of a labor of love to bring this hotel now known as the Madonna Inn to life.

“Anybody can build one room and a thousand like it,” says Alex. “It’s more economical. Most places try to give you as little as possible. I try to give people a decent place to stay where they receive more than they are entitled to for what they’re paying. I want people to come in with a smile and leave with a smile. It’s fun. What fun do you think Paul Getty got out of life? What fun did the Hunt boys have from their silver? My banker told me to build 100 Madonna Inns and make $100 million a year. But I wouldn’t be able to supervise them. Imagine having to run around to 100 inns.”

The New York Times had this to say upon their review-based visit to the Madonna Inn:

“People who do not like excess are hereby warned to stay away. Cream fillings spill out of the homemade pastries in the coffee shop; the street lights and trashcans are pink and, until customers protested, so was the bread; the dining room is full of gilt cherubs holding lyres or lights year round and is drenched with special decorations for every holiday.”

Vintage Hotels

While there are plenty of casual visitors who stop by to eat or shop every day of the week, the rooms are typically booked solid, with a large part of patrons being honeymooning couples.

Aware of this, the Madonna Inn offers wedding packages, banquet halls, and an on-site bakery to ensure that any couple who wants to spend their wedding day bathed in kitsch is not disappointed.

Austrian Suite At Madonna Inn

madonna inn gold and purple

Source: in.hotels

Room rates are comparable to other area hotels, though the rock shower rooms and other larger suites do run up to $599 per night. To see all the rooms, visit Madonna Inn’s website.

madonna inn pink dining room

Source: We Are Eat

Teal Carpet

Source: Newswire.ca

Wedding Venue

Source: Wedding-Spot

madonna inn bar

madonna inn wallpaper mirror

Source: SFGate

madonna inn red room

Source: Booked

Weird Hotel In Central California

Source: Art Info

Pink Doors

Erin Kelly
An All That's Interesting writer since 2013, Erin Kelly focuses on historic places, natural wonders, environmental issues, and the world of science. Her work has also been featured in Smithsonian and she's designed several book covers in her career as a graphic artist.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
Cite This Article
Kelly, Erin. "Want Kitsch? Visit California’s Slightly Crazy Madonna Inn." AllThatsInteresting.com, May 7, 2015, https://allthatsinteresting.com/madonna-inn. Accessed April 19, 2024.