While I love nature and exploring alone out in the wilds, I have never actually been camping. I have, however, done camp. The Madonna Inn is a well-known hotel in San Luis Obispo in California’s central coast with a variety of themed rooms that also features a diner with something of a chalet theme, a (very pink) steakhouse restaurant, and a bar, as well as a space for concerts and a hot pink tennis court. If you’re ever doing a road trip up (or down) the Pacific Coast Highway or find yourself in the area it’s really essential that you stop by or stay here to experience the exuberant tackiness in all of its bright pink glory.
Though the hotel has probably grown in popularity in the age of Instagram and through being featured in tv shows/film (Grimes’s music video “Flesh Without Blood/Life In the Vivid Dream” most recently) I know about it because my family is from California and every trip up to Paso Robles or Solvang or any other central coast destination demanded a stop for another rose-adorned glass goblet in a rainbow of colors that the Inn serves in its restaurants. That said, I didn’t stop here until well into my twenties, when I stayed in the Just Heaven room, a teal room with gold cherubs all over the place and a spiral staircase that led to a tower with stained glass windows where you could sit at night and listen to the sounds of toads croaking in the hillside. Eight years later I came back this spring on something of a whim when I bought a ticket to see Fleet Foxes perform at the concert space and realized the drive back would not be doable. It happily gave me a chance to finally stay in the Merry room, which features pink glitter textured wallpaper, a gold chandelier, and hot pink shag carpeting. If you’re swooning, read on for the visuals and by all means, plan a visit to this spectacular throwback wonderland of joy, kitsch, and amusement!