Thrillist names Madonna Inn the coolest hotel in California

Want to know the coolest place to stay in California?

It’s the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, according to the website Thrillist.

The New York-based media company, which focuses on covering food, drink, travel and entertainment, picked which hotel, inn and lodge it thought was the “most interesting and exciting” stay in each state and Washington, D.C.

Its selections vary widely — from a massive potato-like hotel in Idaho to an underwater sleepover in Florida to the unnerving Clown Motel in Nevada.

The list includes treehouses, hotels built out of old train cars, and multiple spots that may or may not be haunted, such as the Stanley Hotel of “The Shining” fame.

Thrillist notes that the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo is plenty unique to land in such a storied group.

Madonna Inn Easter_Lede3
Springtime flowers bloom at San Luis Obispo’s Madonna Inn, has an elaborate Easter display inside the Alex Madonna’s Gold Rush Steak House dining room. Laura Dickinson [email protected]

“This is not just the quirkiest, most colorful, most chaotic hotel in California, but almost certainly in the entire country,” the publication wrote.

“Named not for the 80s singer, but for its founders, Alex and Phyllis Madonna, every single room of this ultra-eclectic inn—from the dining area and the pool to all 110 suites — has a different theme: Caveman, Desert Sands, Fabulous 50s, Jungle Rock, Harvard Square, Carin, Love Nest, Victorian Gardens … we’ll stop there,” it continues.

Thrillist even points out the “famous men’s restroom” waterfall on the first floor as a special attraction to the place.

And if that Madonna Inn Caveman room still isn’t enough for you and you’re up for a road trip, Thrillist has you covered.

In Arkansas, you can stay in a hotel located in an actual underground cavern, complete with stalactites.

Madonna Suite
All furniture in the Madonna Suite at the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo was personally selected by Phyllis Madonna. Courtesy of Madonna Inn

This story was originally published May 23, 2022 2:54 PM.

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Mackenzie Shuman primarily writes about Cal Poly, SLO County education and the environment for The Tribune. She’s originally from Monument, Colorado, and graduated from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in May 2020. When not writing, Mackenzie spends time outside hiking, running and rock climbing.

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