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The Madonna Inn

Listed under Unusual Places to Stay in Salinas, United States.

  • Photo of The Madonna Inn
  • Photo of The Madonna Inn
  • Photo of The Madonna Inn
  • Photo of The Madonna Inn
  • Photo of The Madonna Inn
Photo of The Madonna Inn
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If Barbie and Ken bought a second home, I’d like to think that they would live here. They’d be driving along one sunny Californian day in their jeep, she’d be Roller-disco Barbie, and he’d be Action Ken:

“Honey”, she’d say, “I like this one, its pink”.

Ken would sigh, “I know, I wish we could Barbie, but we can’t, it belongs to Madonna, it’s a hotel.”

They would speed off along San Luis Obispo’s Route 66, Barbie angrily chewing on a stick of Hubba Bubba.

How wrong Action Ken was. The Madonna Inn is indeed owned by a Madonna but not the leotarded figure of pop culture today. Built by the real estate developer, Alex Madonna, the saccharin walls of this Swiss-Alp style lodge have been attracting guests with a taste for unrelenting kitsch for over fifty years. Umberto Eco’s ‘Travels in Hyper Reality’ could not find the words to describe the hotel and instead offered the truism that the Madonna was a “nuptial catacomb for Liza Minnelli”. There is no denying that the inn’s 109 rooms, would become a glimmering beacon to the cast of cabaret in an off peak touring season but it seems that the flamboyancy of the pink common rooms, rose embossed glasses and a steak house décor to rival the lurid lights of Vegas are not so much a nod in the direction of bad taste, but a conscious decision to make you smile. The rooms ‘Love-Birds’, ‘Antique Cars’, ‘Daisy Mae’ and ‘Old Mexico’ are a mere chocolate sprinkle of the room themes you can choose from. Stay in the ‘Cabin Still’ and bathe in something which resembles an old fashioned whiskey tub. Visit the spa and sleep in ‘Jungle Rock’ and wake up to the natural rock walls from your zebra print bed. The waterfall rock urinal has become a centre piece and the bakery’s selection of cream cakes and cookies are certainly enough to make The Madonna Inn a road side Disney frosted palace, with a monumental sugar rush.


Written by  Sybilla Harvey.

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