We want to hear about your family tradition! If your family visits us for a breakfast, lunch or dinner, or as part of your an anniversary, birthday, or holiday celebration, we’d like to feature it on this page. Soon your family tradition will be joined in our larger Madonna Inn celebration of our family traditions. These wonderful memories of good times will be recorded in story and/or photos for others to share and celebrate with you. Submit your story and photo to .
A Lifetime of Fond Memories
I grew up in Los Osos and left in 1997. So many of my family traditions included Madonna Inn and I have such fond memories of this wonderful place.
Every Christmas morning our family would go and eat breakfast in the diner. I remember the reindeer and children on swings hanging from the ceiling, and always being so fascinated with the copper tables we got to eat at. We were always so excited to get our pots full of steaming cocoa with mounds of whipped cream oozing down the sides. The food was amazing; always the top quality and never had a complaint. The wait staff was warm and inviting. We always had fun seeing Alex and Phyllis on occasion, at their table, and would stop to chat. Always welcoming and always kind.
As I got older, school proms were wonderlands in the cellar, and growing even older, dinner and dancing with romantic music by the huge fireplace was a dream. I never waited to run upstairs and see the gift shop and get a goblet or two. (I still have a pink one!)
Madonna Inn was and still is a treasure to me. Sadly, I live so far away I cannot just drop by like when I grew up. Sometime I hope to show my husband and son this wonderful place that still makes me smile thinking about it. I know they will fall in love with it just like I did!
To the Madonna Inn Family,
I was lucky enough to have stayed at your inn as a child with my parents in the late 1960s. My favorite was the Safari room. I have such fond memories of staying at your inn and then heading to Hearst Castle.
When my children were small, I made a point of bringing them to the Madonna Inn and sharing my stories with them. That was in the early 1990s. We stayed in the Jungle Rock room and Bridal Falls. They thought it was just as beautiful as I did. We then made a trip with my mother and she didn’t want to leave. She couldn’t believe that it was still as beautiful as it had been so many years before...or that I had remembered after so many years.
I am planning on returning now with my daughters and their children. I can’t wait to get there and see the smiles on their faces.
I am sorry I cannot include any of the great pictures we had taken over the years. We lost all of our photographs in a fire a few years back. Luckily, the Madonna Inn is etched into the memories of three generations of my family so far and, that my grandchildren, will soon be the 4th to share in it’s charm and beauty.
Kym R. Moore
Dear Madonna Inn Friends,
I was born in 1961 in San Luis Obispo, CA. We lived there until I was about 4-5 years old. We then moved to Buellton, CA until we moved to TX when I was 11. My best memories of Madonna Inn was going there to see the buffalo. My mother would take us for lunch, and then we would spend time by the pasture watching the buffalo. They were so beautiful. When my mother passed away about 19 years ago, I got a portion of her belongings. A couple of items that I got were a dinner fork and the little 3 prong fork that say Madonna Inn on the handles. I have them put away. When my sons saw them, they asked me where they came from. I told them about Madonna Inn. We vacationed in CA years back...when my sons were little, and we drove up the coast to San Luis Obispo. We stopped at Madonna Inn, and I showed them where the buffalo were kept, and told them a little about my young years growing up there. The buffalo were not there anymore, so they had to just use their imagination as I talked about it. My favorite historic places of memories are Madonna Inn, Matties Tavern, Anderson's Pea Soup (especially when they had the animal park), and Solvang. Also, Disneyland was my “playground” every summer.
Now my 2 older sons live in Glendale, CA. How ironic that they grew up, and moved to where I grew up (sorta speak). I plan on moving back to CA. I have such happy memories from there.
Thanks for keeping the tradition of Madonna Inn alive...just wish the buffalo were still there for present day visitors to experience what I experienced as a child in the 60s.
PS: Sorry I have no pictures.
Sandra R Martinez
Dear Connie Madonna,
Just a note to share my Madonna Inn experiences with you!
My family story of coming to Madonna Inn started in 1971. That was the first time my family and I, as a young teenager, visited. We instantly fell in love with the place...I did in particular because I loved pink! Our first stay was in “Safari,” and it was a delightful time enjoyed by all.
On that first visit we also happened to attract the attention of Alex and Phyllis—since we drove up to San Luis Obispo from our home in Laguna Beach in my mother’s brand new 1971 Pink Cadillac which was a special ordered car from Hillcrest Cadillac in Beverly Hills. If memory serves, it was Alex who really loved pink, and so when he saw that car in his parking lot...well, you can imagine his interest!
From that first visit, Madonna Inn became a regular place for “get away” weekends...so much so that we would regularly visit at least a month though the 1972-74 periods...it was great fun for me as my parents allowed me to have my own room, and we would typically visit for 2 or 3 nights at a time, and I would change rooms each night! Naturally my favorites were the “rock” rooms!
We loved the hospitality from such employees as Crystal in the boutique, and Ron in the men’s shop. I particularly remember the wonderful menswear that my father and I loved to buy. In fact, my first high quality suits, of the Cortefiel brand, from Spain, were bought for me by my father from your men’s shop! Naturally, of course, we had a complete set of goblets, both large and small, a full set of 12 each in the red, and all the assorted colours in both sizes as well. I still have the multi-coloured sets, 16 colours thus far, which my parents passed along to me.
Life went on, and my visits to Madonna Inn became sporadic as I flew around the world in my career. Typically I’d visit about once a year between 1976 and 1990, and then it dropped off altogether as I moved to Portland, Oregon, and later to Santa Fe, NM.
However, in May of 2008 I returned for a 2 night visit and was so impressed that so much indeed was the same! I’m a person of tradition...and it is rare indeed to return to a place that was so special, after a many year absence to find it just as special as the first incredible visit. Since that time I’ve been back in December of 2008, and can’t wait until I can return again, for many more visits in my favorite rooms!
One lovely little anecdote...before our visit this past December...I discovered that I was missing 2 wine goblet colours that I had water goblets for—the orange and the turquoise. When I was there in May of ’08, I didn’t see them so obviously figured they were long discontinued. However, in December, upon buying the latest colours, I happened to mention to the manager of the boutique about the 2 missing colours. Imagine my surprise that she had exactly the 2 missing colours, in the correct wine size! one of each! Just waiting for me to “fill the gap!” How special is that?
Like I said...I’m a person who loves traditions maintained. Like Madonna Inn. You can see that by my photo...yes, I still own a pink Cadillac!
All the Best,
Mark A. Lease
Dear Mrs. Madonna,
I am writing you at the suggestion of Cheri, one of your many wonderful employees. My daughter Daphne and I visited your gift shop on Saturday and we chatted with her regarding the Inn’s recent remodel. She provided me with your email address so that I may share my comments:
I’ve been coming to the Madonna Inn for over 30 years, since I was a little girl. I remember the animals, the gas station, and the little confectionary underneath the staircase to the wine cellar. I have always loved your Inn. As my daughter and I walked around, I noticed everything looked so vibrant. I hadn’t realized the property had been renovated until I spoke with Cheri. I just want to thank you so much for keeping the quality and integrity of the décor. Most places from my childhood have been torn down or renovated beyond recognition for the sake of “modernization.” By keeping the traditions, the quality, and the fun that is the Madonna Inn, you have allowed me to share memories with my daughter who now understands why I love your property so much (and own so many goblets).
We plan to visit more often and enjoy the new rooms and pool and spa. In fact, we stopped back by yesterday evening on our return visit...we bought your book and enjoyed another delicious meal at the Copper Café.
Your contribution and high standards are so appreciated. Thank you so much.
In late February we had the pleasure of staying at your unique inn. Before we got to the Madonna Inn we had already known about the rooms that range from fun to quirky to downright bizarre and back again and, truthfully, the rooms are what drew us to you in the first place. But we were very pleasantly surprised to find amenities at your hotel that we had no idea were there.
First, there is a beautiful pool and spa. The apparently new outdoor heated pool is in a glorious setting above the main part of the inn. Next to it is a new spa where massages are offered. Above the pool on a rocky promontory an old goat patrols adding to the bucolic charm of the place.
We also didn’t know that the food at the Madonna Inn is absolutely first rate. We ate all our meals there as soon as we had our first one. Breakfasts and lunches are fine and the service is prompt but the steak house dinners were out of this world.
Finally, we had no idea how charming the town of San Luis Obispo is. We spent some time there, too, finding the quirky delightful shops on the shady streets.
It sounds like a cliché but it is literally true that the employees at the Madonna Inn treated us like family. They were interested in our comfort, as you would expect, but they were also interested in our travels before we got to the inn and in what we were doing after we left. We’ll be back as soon as we can.
Please use this testimonial in any way you choose to promote your delightful inn.
Lois and Doug Hartley
North Scituate, RI
Over the years we have returned for moments of magic, always remembering Monti Christo sandwiches, giant slices of Chocolate Cream Pie, and melt in your mouth steaks from the dining room. We have stayed in at least 10 different enchanting rooms.
Now, the magic moves to the next generation. A few years ago we attended a wedding at the Inn and our three daughters accompanied us, and they began to see the magic. They remembered the fun, and for our 30th aniversary this year surprized us with a gift certificate to enjoy the Inn again. We decided to come in December, as we always wanted to see the Christmas decorations. We had the pick of rooms, and the daughters help us browse the website to decide on the perfect room to reserve. Madonna Suite was the choice! It must be special because it bore that name. We arrived once again, and wondered if it would still hold the magic. We were greeted with warmth at the front desk, and upon learning of the occasion, treated to a bottle of champagne. Our dinner reservation was secure, and we were told of the latest addition in the Spa. We explored the pool and Spa. Wow, how do they keep surprizing us!
March 25th 1961 we were married and headed for the Madonna Inn to celebrate our honeymoon in the “Rose Room.” It was amazing and beautiful.
Through the years Mr. Madonna greeted us each time we returned to stay a few nights. He was so gracious when we met. On our 10th anniversary he offered the Madonna Suite to us as his guest. We were so grateful. Another time he picked up the tab at the Steak House. Yet another time he bought our breakfast.
We’ve heard that Mr. Madonna passed away a few years ago and that saddened our heart. What an man of integrity and great contribution to his community and the people he touched with the love and generosity he gave to many guest.
We plan to stay there soon again. It’s been a while since we traveled up the coast to San Luis Obispo.
Looking forward to seeing the Inn again and renewing very pleasant and happy memories with the Madonna Inn staff.
God Bless You.
Mr. and Mrs Donald Sickel
Los Alamitos, California