#StudioDIYintheWild: The Madonna Inn - Studio DIY
5 Secrets to More Color at Home

#StudioDIYintheWild: The Madonna Inn


Glitter Wallpaper!

The first overnight stop on our road trip last month was a pretty memorable one… we finally got to stay at the infamous Madonna Inn. And it was… the most crazy awesome amazing slightly terrifying pink glitter dream boat. For those of you who aren’t familiar, The Madonna Inn is this crazy gem of a hotel with over one hundred completely unique rooms located in San Luis Obispo. Literally everything is pink. From the floor to the chairs to the tennis courts to the curbs to the street lights to the room keys to the receipts. It’s bananas, you guys. Pink bananas. And since I have a pretty strong inkling you all like pink just as much as I do, I thought I’d take you on a little Madonna Inn tour.

The Madonna Inn
The Madonna Inn

Let’s start with our room. Like I said, each room is different and has its own name. You get a postcard of your room upon check-in! Some rooms are safari themed, some color themed, some have walls made of rocks and some… some have pink glitter WALLS! Husband and wife, Alex and Phyllis Madonna opened the hotel in 1958 and each room was unique to cater to different tastes and it makes the hotel some sort of “one stop shop” for all sorts of “adventures”! We stayed in the Merry room, which was freaking amazing. A few other rooms I’d love to stay in next time: Carin, Canary Cottage, Love Nest, Sugar & Spice, Tall & Short

PRO TIP: If you want a SPECIFIC room, you have to CALL them to reserve it. There is an option to “request” a room when reserving online but it is not guaranteed. The only way to guarantee your room is to call. And book far ahead, we called several months in advance wanting to stay in “Carin” and it (She?) was already booked. They’re great about suggesting similar rooms though, and that’s how we ended up with Merry! If you book the “hiking” package, it’s often the same price or less and you get a free sparkly Madonna Inn water bottle which, if you like tacky touristy stuff like me… it’s worth it.

The Madonna Inn
The Madonna Inn
The Madonna Inn
The Madonna Inn

So the main building has a steakhouse, a diner/cafe, a bakery and a bunch of gift shops. And yes, it is pink flowers from floor to ceiling. Literally. They are uber famous for their pink champagne cake which was covered in pink chocolate curls! Amazing! However, I’d recommend heading into the cute town of SLO for dinner if you can swing it (Some recs here!)! In the gift shop you can buy a rainbow of glass goblets which is what they serve drinks in at their restaurant, along with a bunch of other funky things. At night, they have a live band and dancing in the main room which is like the cherry on top of this place.

The Madonna Inn
The Madonna Inn

And for our next stop on the tour de pink.. the tennis courts! You guessed it! They’re pink too. I may not play tennis, but I can lay on a pink tennis court like a BOSS! And the dress I’m wearing? I bought it in the gift shop! HA! ALL PINK ERRYTHANG!

The Madonna Inn
The Madonna Inn
The Madonna Inn

The rest of the grounds are just as colorful. The main building at the top of the hill (where our room was) had colored doors, a color blocked wall and rainbow patio chairs! There’s pink umbrellas and street lamps and even horses! Ok, the horses aren’t pink. But they sure are cute! It’s definitely worth a walk around the property even if you aren’t staying overnight.

The Madonna Inn

The Madonna Inn
The Madonna Inn
The Madonna Inn

Photos by Jeff Mindell

Have you ever been? What room did you stay in? If you haven’t been but have a few minutes (Read: you need an excuse to procrastinate) just take a peek around the room photos here, it’s quite a trip! And let me know your fave!! I’m so so glad we finally went and we talked about how fun it would be to bring kids back there some day. I mean, could you imagine walking into a glitter room at age 5? My heart probably would have stopped beating. Jeff did describe it eerily well at one point though, “American Horror Story: Barbie Dream House”. Now if we see that story line on TV, Ryan Murphy, I’ll have a bone to pick with you. 😉

p.s. A rainbow hotel in the desert! And a pink door too.


  • Kathleen

    I absolutely love the photos (as usual) and I can imagine you must have been in colour heaven! 🙂 When I just clicked through the different rooms though, I have to say that I wouldn’t really want to stay in any of them. If I had to pick, I’d choose between Carin, Daisy Mae or the Fabulous Fifties.
    But to be honest, many rooms look a bit like they hadn’t been updated in decades or were furnished with pieces from hotels that threw them out for renovation 😀 Maybe it’s just not my kind of hotel, that’s fine. Everyone as he likes 🙂

  • Paula

    If you are ever in the Washington, DC, area, you must check out The Mansion on O Street. Each hotel room has a different theme (along with hidden doors all over the place), and the whole place is CRAMMED with tons of fun stuff. I organized a champagne tour for my sisters and mother, and they were amazed.

  • brittni

    Love all of these photos…but especially the tennis court. Those colors are the perfect combo.

  • Natasha

    OMG, how FUN!! I’ve always wanted to stay there… I love how each room has a little story! And oh, that glitter wallpaper!

  • Monique | WritingMonique

    OH MY GOSH! WOW WOW WOW! I absolutely love everything about all these rooms. Stunning place!

  • Brandi

    This looks like absolutely so much fun! I’ve always wanted to stay there, thank you for sharing!

  • Courtney King

    I stopped at the Madonna Inn while on a road trip last year but they were experiencing a power outage at the time. I was able to poke around the restaurant but was not able to order a drink or a bakery item. The place was empty. One of the servers let me borrow a flash light and I was able to use the downstairs restroom in the dark. That was an experience! I definitely have to go back!

  • Lexy | Proper

    Holy crap. You bought that dress in the gift shop?! It’s so great. And these photos are so wonderful. Looks like the perfect hotel!

  • Andi

    These pics are just gorgeous!

  • Sharlene

    I live near San Luis Obispo and have been to the Madonna Inn numerous times. My niece had her wedding reception there after getting married on the beach. She stayed in one of the rooms which she enjoyed a lot. The bakery items are absolutely stunning to look at and delicious. I love all of their cakes and their cinnamon bread. This area is probably one of the best places to live in California. With all of the micro climates we have, within a very few miles you can go from beach weather to hot. Hope you all chose to visit some day. Don’t forget to go to the Apple Farm Restaurant. It has amazing food!

    • Kelly

      That’s amazing!! We really want to get back up to SLO and explore it more, our time there was so short!

  • Molly

    My life (and instagram feed) feels incomplete due to the fact I’ve never been to the Madonna Inn. I’ve gotta make a trip from the Midwest to California just to hit this place up (maybe in the dead of winter when I could use some pink glitter walls in my life.)!

    • Kelly

      Pink glitter walls definitely sound like the PERFECT escape from a midwest winter!!

  • Hannah

    Years ago my parents stayed in The Madonna Inn in the caveman room!! They absolutely loved it – everyone they met wanted to do too room tours too! It looks amazing – crazy amazing!
    Hannah x

    • Kelly

      Ah, I bet that room was crazy!!!!! I seriously wish they would do room tours of the rooms that weren’t occupied that night. Ha!

  • Kit

    I normally don’t like pink, but this place is just beautiful! I love SLO and all their different getaways. I will definitely check this out.


  • Cynthia

    I’ve stayed in the Love Nest and it was pure magical. As I love pink so much, everything about this room was pink with pink flowers, pink walls, pink bed etc and we had our own beautiful pink balcony! It’s was perfection!

  • Crystal D.

    I am from San Francisco and have always heard of the Madonna Inn. My Grandma used to stay there a couple times a year just for fun when she lived in Santa Barbara. I have never stayed there and I really don’t know why. Now I live in Chicago and during one of my visits home I am going to do that soon with my family! BUT I always remember the pink Madonna Inn bags my Grandma would have. I actually have some of them still because I always liked how they were pink. I also have the all the different colored goblets they sell there. My Grandma would always buy me a new one everytime she went. I love them and treasure them. They are one of my most special things that my Grandma has ever given me. They are just special and sentimental. I serious have no idea why I have never been there. I have no excuse. It is sad. So glad you went and I am going to go there on my next trip home!! Period!!!!!

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  • Attention All Passengers

    I must be “out of the loop” but I think these rooms are hideous. “Fun” to look at for a few minutes but otherwise straight out of the early-’70s. Ugly colors, shag rugs, cheap looking furniture, etc. On top of that the prices are outrageously high, I don’t care how much of a novelty they are. Count me out.

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