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“Once In A Lifetime Treat for Couples”
Review of Madonna Inn

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Madonna Inn
Ranked #5 of 32 Hotels in San Luis Obispo
Certificate of Excellence
La Verne, California
Level Contributor
192 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 154 helpful votes
“Once In A Lifetime Treat for Couples”
Reviewed 4 April 2013

My husband and I have been driving past the Madonna Inn to and from various destinations for years. We had even talked about staying there, but something always came up. Years ago I had attempted it, but the room I wanted was booked. At that time I was told that I would need to make reservations six months in advance. This year I finally decided to try again. I went on the Madonna Inn website (I know I could have tried one of the discount sites, but I really wanted a certain themed room. Here is the site for the names and features of each of their rooms where you can click on the name and see a picture: http://www.madonnainn.com/features.php). In the past you could reserve a particular room, now what Madonna Inn does is group rooms into categories then there’s a special “request” you can submit for a certain room. Whether you get it or not is subject to availability. I was fortunate. (I’d recommend you trying to call the inn directly.) This time I booked a few days before our departure and I actually received confirmation my request was approved for the “Yosemite Room, Room 130” combined with a “hike” package also available on their website (2 free canteens valued at $24 – realize we went on Tuesday and only stayed 1 night). When we entered the Yosemite Room, my husband and I marveled at the artistry of the placement of the rocks/boulders in the room. We were later told that this room was built around the existing rocks. When we entered, we were immediately surrounded by giant boulders sticking out from the walls everywhere. There was an iron rod for clothes, an ironing board and an iron --- where the iron was cleverly tucked onto a rock ledge. The small table/mirror with internet access was placed in between two large stacks of boulders. The gas fireplace required just a push of the button to turn on. During the day, light came from a large window. The door had obscure stained colored glass which provided additional light. Our bathroom was definitely unique where the rock theme continued. The floor, shower and two basins where all cleverly made out of rocks. There were standard metal fixtures for water and towel bars, but everything else was ROCKS. It made for a slightly uneven floor while “level” counter space (though there was plenty) was limited and challenging, but it was all so amazing. The shower was plenty big enough for two. The floor had been sloped so water naturally drained down the drain hole. There were no curtains. There were just two large rock formations marking the shower area with the center open allowing entrance. There was one rock ledge within the shower that was just big enough to place the shampoo. For those of you who haven’t experienced it, the toilet was a bidet. The seat is heated then there is a remote control unit capable of squirting a gentle steady stream of warm water to cleanse your anatomy and a dryer to dry, too. That was a new experience for both of us. On close examination of the Yosemite Room, we could see where modernization patches for fireplace gas ignition switch, fan, extra wiring for tv and cabled internet connections (no wireless available in this room because of the natural boulders). There were also multiple extensions so electrical devices could be plugged in. It was too bad the modernization touches couldn’t have been camouflaged better. After checking in, we walked to a park that had a lagoon. We also walked to check out the other facilities – heated pool whose entry was a gentle slope instead of stairs and it was open till 11 p.m. with a giant waterfall and gazebo in the background, a fitness gym, pool bar room and spa treatment area. (Note: there is an additional $15 resort fee which includes the use of the pool, fitness room, basketball court, and internet access). The experience was wonderful and we’re glad we did it, but we would not stay again because of the price (Yosemite Room -- $251 + taxes ~$38 + resort fee ~16.50 with more tax for a total of ~$300). When we checked out, we were given a professional post card of our room. Now whenever we drive past this place it will be with very fond memories.

Room Tip: If you have your heart sit on a particular room, try to book Sun thru Thurs and try by phone first.
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  • Stayed April 2013, travelled as a couple
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3 Thank Pandamonium1362
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Joe_Forgette, Manager at Madonna Inn, responded to this review, 25 April 2013
We sincerely thank you for both your business and your review! Contacting us directly will guarantee you a specific room of your choice although sometimes booking on the internet will provide an internet special! We would love to have you as guests again in the future.
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Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
33 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 April 2013

Stayed 2 nights in the Holland Dutch room. This is in the add-on set of rooms in front of the main accom building. Room newly repainted and re carpeted but still dark. Room has a king and a double. Shame they didn't put in a queen instead of the double as there was plenty of room. Bathroom tight but cute. As per other reviews, inconsiderate guests and paper thin walls make for a noisy and not particularly restful stay. Possibly would have been happier saving some money,looking around Madonna but staying elsewhere.
Our kids loved the swimming pool in the late afternoon after a long touring day.(they were not the noisy ones!)

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank mtjb01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Santa Monica, California
Level Contributor
24 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 April 2013

The Madonna Inn was quite an experience. The crazy and extravagantly themed rooms were really a sight..and a wonder. We were told that we could not book a specific room, but that we could "request" it and if it was available, they would try to assign it to us. We found this to be rather unusual and it didn't really make sense, but we decided to take the gamble.

THE ROCK BOTTOM ROOM #143
We requested a "Rock" room or a "Cave" room, because I can remember my mother telling me stories about her stay in one of these rooms, back in the 1970's. We got lucky and we were assigned to the ROCK BOTTOM room. It was really fantastic. It looked like we were sleeping in a cave with a queen bed in it - lol. It was pretty awesome, the only complaints I would make about the room are 1) Lighting could be a little better in the center of the room. Plenty of light by the bed and in the front part, but the middle part is dark for somebody with vision problems like I have. Which leads me to the second warning (not really a complaint) - the floor is rock and very uneven (as in a real cave), so if you suffer from vertigo, as I do - this may not be an ideal room for you (I suffered some head trauma in an auto accident, leaving me with permanent positional vertigo). You can't enjoy a proper rock room, if you're spinning like you're on a merry-go-round the whole time. My second complaint (and the only REAL one) is not really something for which the hotel is responsible. It was the lousy neighbors! The rock room has the bed up against the wall that runs along the parking lot. So all day and night, you hear cars parking, people loading luggage (loudly) and in our case, you may have high beams and faces in your window - which forces you to keep the heavy hotel curtains closed. Which I did not love btw. The people parking made a ton of noise and as they returned at night (obviously intoxicated), they would talk and laugh loudly outside our window over and again all night long. We had the same problem in the halls by our front door. The people were shouting across to one another at random ours, slamming their doors shut every time they left or returned to their room, etc. We had a long second day there, so we really wanted our sleep that night. Unfortunately we didn't get it. Also note that there is no closet here, just a bar with hangars for clothes (which was fine for us), there is no full length mirror, its a bit dark and I had some trouble getting the ironing board to co-operate and remain standing - but none of these things are deal breakers. It's still a very unique experience with the exception of the noise from the parking lot and neighbors.

THE BUFFALO ROOM #205:
We didn't want to seem rude, but after much debate we decided to ask for another room. There were very few available. We were hoping for a room in a whole different building - which they did have available, but at the last moment, we made the decision to move into a room in the same building, upstairs in a corner. We figured being up and away from the parking lot, it would be much quieter. We found ourselves in a lime green room with a huge buffalo head on the wall, bed and furnishing made of rustic timber, etc. It was unusual and we liked it as much as the first room. We noticed immediately that there was much less traffic noise from the 101 Fwy and that the room was much warmer, naturally. Unfortunately, we had the same problem with neighbors slamming their doors shut all day and night and with the stomping noise of children running up and down the stairs and along all the parts of the building. For a good 4 hours we listened to them wrestling with each other, with huge SLAMMING sounds and THUD sounds, usually followed by screaming and giggling before starting all over again. Although we though we were on the top floor, it sounded like there was a herd of elephants over us. No sooner did they stop than the loud talking (intoxicated) neighbors began returning home and no sooner did that stop than the morning door slamming started up all over again.

The hotel was really quite magnificent. It's something I think everybody should experience. The restaurant prepared very delicious meals and had a live swing band, which was fantastic. The bar prices were cheap as compared to Los Angeles and I think we would have really been quite happy with our stay, were it not for the relentlessly noisy neighbors. This was our anniversary and we were hoping it would be a quiet and romantic place to stay on our way up to see Hearst Castle. Unfortunately, we were completely ragged and agitated due to 2 nights of not sleeping and although it did not ruin our anniversary, it was a huge disappointment for us. Again - this was the fault of the rude guests, not of the hotel.

For the prices we paid, I probably would not stay at this hotel again. It's a lot to pay to not get any sleep and deal with thuds, loud people in your window and all the other issues we had with the other guests. We really were not expecting anything like this as the hotel has a "no party" policy.

As for the other amenities, I know the hotel has tennis, pool, horseback riding, etc, but we weren't available long enough to try these out.

I have some suggestions for the hotel: 1) please consider posting signs throughout the hotel remind guests that they are near rooms where other guests might be sleeping and to please keep the noise down. No wrestling, no running in the halls and please talk quietly. Also reminding folks parking in the parking lot that their cars are facing into the rooms and to be respectful. I think this might go a long way towards making this a much better stay for folks. I think people get so carried away and lost in the magic of the place, that they forget themselves, but this is really not acceptable. Why should other guests pay for their rudeness?

In conclusion, it's a great hotel/restaurant with bad, disrespectful guests. Not the hotel's fault, but doesn't make me want to return any time soon.

Room Tip: Ask for a room away from the multi-level building. Perhaps one of the wheel-chair accessible rooms...
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  • Stayed March 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank LanieFire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Joe_Forgette, Manager at Madonna Inn, responded to this review, 25 April 2013
We appreciate you taking the time to write this review of your recent experiences during your stay here. I'm very pleased that you enjoyed your rooms overall but disappointed that other guests made for a rough stay. It's unfortunate that the noise created a negative stay experience, not something we strive for here. I greatly appreciate your suggestion for signage in the hallways to remind other guests that people are resting. Hopefully we will be able to have you as our guest again in the future.
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Santa Cruz, California
Level Contributor
12 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 April 2013

Hard to say whether this place is taking itself seriously or not. It's like not quite kitschy enough to tell you it's not taking itself seriously, but it's got enough 'Liberace' that it's kind of gaudy. We stayed in the 'Swiss Rock' room. I kept telling my wife it's time to go back to the cave. Or the dungeon. Rock shower was neat, but rock walls and floor made it dark (although thankfully not dank!) Best part of this hotel is the pool--very nice quality, and great to go in at 8am when no kids are screaming. Restaurants are overpriced (esp. the steakhouse), but the cake is awesome. We found some phenomenal restaurants in SLO (and 1/3 the price). "Gift shop", wine shop, and clothes shops have normal crap for higher prices. I felt sorry for all the hotties that work there...long faces, wanting to help people, but nobody's buying anything. what a yucky life.

We always drive by and wonder about this place. Now we've tried it, and don't need to wonder anymore. And doubt we'll spend the (considerable) money for a quick stopover in SLO again...

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank BimBam976
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Yorkshire
Level Contributor
225 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 116 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 March 2013 via mobile

Stayed for two nights in the oriental room. Expensive for what it is but great fun and a unique experience. I would however recommended the town of San Luis obisbo it's very pretty and loads of lovely eateries. A trip to Hearst castle is also highly recommend.

Stayed March 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank YorkshireTwig
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
35 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 March 2013

Stayed in the 'Cabin Still' room - it was fun for one night but wouldn't have wanted to stay longer, it was very dark and a bit oppressive with all the dark furniture and rock walls, not the best nights sleep.
You have to check out the bar and restaurant, I've never seen anything like it, very funny. The food in the restaurant was very good too and some nice background 'lounge' music. Pool area very nice with bar, pool was 80 degrees. Friendly reception staff, you get free cookies at checkin. Handy that you can drive up to your oom and park outside. I'd stay again but would want a different room. If it wasn't for the novelty factor I'd have given it a 3.5 rating.

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank LunaWest
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Udon Thani, Thailand
Level Contributor
78 reviews
44 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 102 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 March 2013

The Madonna Inn falls near the top of the "California Kitsch" category of attractions. Yes, it is an attraction, not just a hotel. Like Disneyland, it is a place where you put reality away and enter a land that is so make-believe and kitschy that it makes you laugh and, somehow, brightens your day. I suggest a one-night MAXIMUM stay, as the attraction does wear thin after a few hours (and it's not like there is tons to do in the immediate area).

I chose to stay in "The Old World Suite," one of the more over-the-top "cave rooms," complete with gas fireplace and rock shower. It was a fun room, if somewhat gloomy due to its location in somewhat of a sub-basement of the hotel, and lack of much natural light. The OTT furniture and rich red-velvet decor - like something great-great-aunt Mabel might have had in her living room - added to the somewhat creepy, unreal feeling. Again, for a night - very cool; by the morning I couldn't wait to get out of the "cave" and into sunlight!

Price, as you would imagine, is on the high side - you don't stay here because it's a bargain. Service and amenities were fine. Everything in the room worked. I had a very nice meal at the steakhouse for dinner (see separate review) and breakfast in the morning at the coffee shop, which was fine.

Overall, a nice experience - and definitely one of those "California Experiences" that one who lives in the state, or visits the state often, needs to check off his or her list!

Room Tip: If you can afford it, go for one of the "cave rooms" with rock shower, as they are the mos...
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  • Stayed March 2013, travelled solo
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Helpful?
Thank JAMESINTHAILAND
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Madonna Inn

Property: Madonna Inn
Address: 100 Madonna Rd, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405-5489
Region: United States > California > San Luis Obispo County > San Luis Obispo
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#5 Romantic Hotel in San Luis Obispo
#7 Family Hotel in San Luis Obispo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Madonna Inn 3.5*
Number of rooms: 110
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Also Known As:
Madonna Hotel San Luis Obispo
Madonna Inn San Luis Obispo
Madonna San Luis Obispo

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