the travel geek

"Sometimes reality is too complex. Stories give it form."

Madonna Inn

Alex Madonna is the man responsible for most of the roads, bridges, and freeways in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties. During his long construction career, he often lamented that there were no good hotels where workers could stay, relax, eat, and grab a coffee while on a project. Because of this, it became his lifelong dream to build a unique hotel of his own.

On Christmas Eve 1958, Madonna Inn opened it’s doors for the first time. Madonna and his wife were so excited that the first travelers stayed for free.

The hotel is more than just a place to sleep… it’s themed rooms are the primary attraction. We stayed in Voux, a round room reminiscent of something you’d find in an European storybook / horror movie. Some of our discovered favourites include: the Austrian Suite, Daisy Mae, Old Mill, and Just Heaven.

The rooms are not the only reason people visit… a waterfall urinal in the main building has been written about, talked about, and blogged to excess. And, according to a few local coworkers, people will plan their roadtrip so they take bathroom breaks at the hotel.

Of course I couldn’t pass up the chance to photograph a motion sensor activated waterfall urinal. Myself and a full contingent of giggling girls made sure the bathroom was sufficiently cleared before checking it out.


In reality: the girl’s bathroom is much more colourful and fun.

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