Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Fruits of Friendly Competition

Although there are countless elements of the Madonna Inn that have become world-famous, perhaps one of the most popular with guests is the downstairs Men's restroom. While Mr. Madonna put passion and style into everything he did, the creation of his famous men's room actually came as the result of a friendly competition between himself and Mrs. Madonna to see who could build the better bathroom. Complete with two giant, genuine conch shell sinks and a rock waterfall urinal, the Men's restroom draws countless visits from awe-struck men and giggling women each year. The Women's restroom, although lacking any waterfall features, is not to be overlooked -- offering a fun, elegant atmosphere that is nothing short of immaculate. Regardless of who really "won" this friendly competition, I think it's safe to say that there were no losers.

Monday, July 29, 2013

A Letter from San Simeon

Here's an interesting letter written from William Randolph Hearst Jr. to Alex Madonna in Fall of 1965. I love the vintage look and feel of letters written with a typewriter. Grandpa and "Bill," as he referred to himself here, were great friends throughout the years... even if they didn't always agree on matters of business. Their friendship is evident in the photos that were sent along with the letter. Even Grandma Phyllis, who's never been hugely fond of riding horses, was saddled up in a few of these photos - - making them all the more special.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

California Rodeo Salinas

California's biggest rodeo wrapped up Sunday, and I have to say it was quite a time. Watching my friends and family compete is always a blast, as well as meeting new people and having a drink (or two)! It was rather cold in Salinas this year, but that didn't stop the rodeo fans from coming out and supporting. It's amazing to think that this rodeo is the same one that my grandparents once attended, and that my grandchildren will someday be a part of as well.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

From our Family to Yours

While it's always pleasant to read feedback from happy customers, I was recently struck by a particular letter that I received from a young girl and couldn't help but share it. Ashlyn wrote us this sweet letter about her love of Madonna Inn and shared with us the significance it has for her and her mom and brother. The note was beautifully handwritten (on MI stationary, of course) and expressed one of Madonna Inn's most essential values: family tradition. Not only is the Inn still operated by members of the Madonna family -- but a large portion of MI's employees are fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, or husbands and wives. This family dynamic brings a genuine, wholesome and welcoming aspect to our establishment that truly sets us apart from other destinations. While our guests are able to escape reality in the grandeur and theatrics of the Madonna atmosphere, they are attended to with the kindness and consideration that one might expect from a relative or friend. When you stay with us, you are more like a guest in our home than in our hotel.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Much More than Steak and Cake

Although Madonna Inn is world renowned for its spectacular d├ęcor, and delicious dishes, it boasts incredible retail shops as well! Our Gourmet and Wine Shop offers unique home items, gifts, decadent chocolates and snacks and a wide selection of California's finest wines. Up the marble balustrade and to the right is our Gift Shop, which carries everything from Children's apparel and gifts, to post cards and Madonna Inn signature apparel and souvenirs. Adjacent to the Gift Shop is one of my favorite places in the Madonna Inn -- the Boutique. Carrying men's and women's fashions and accessories, the boutique is always my first stop for a chic 'fit. Cheri Humphrey, the boutique manager, is truly gifted when it comes to styling. Given anything from a western event to a formal wedding, she will pull a number of different pieces for me to try that are tasteful and sophisticated, yet still fun and fresh. She has an eye for clothing and is one of the best when it comes to flattering every figure.
This week we had a Joseph Ribkoff trunk show and fashion show, in which we featured local models from the county. It's so nice to see beautiful, REAL women modeling clothes rather than ultra-skinny girls who basically just serve as a walking hanger -- rather than a realistic example of what an outfit will look like. To top off the evening, there were cookies and champagne for models and viewers alike. Make sure to email to get on our email list to find out all the newest attractions and events the Madonna Inn has to offer!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Madonna Inn has a Secret

The Madonna Inn is very excited to unveil the latest addition to our fabulous facilities: the Secret Garden! The Secret Garden is tucked between the restaurant and lower motel units: nestled in a grove of trees and complete with a winding path, water feature, majestic boulders, and an antique marble sarcophagus. The space is intimate enough to accommodate a small, casual gathering... yet has the capacity to host up to 300 guests and an atmosphere that imparts elegance and whimsy.

For some of the recent promotions that we have been doing for this unveiling we did a mini photo shoot, which I blogged about not long ago. During this shoot, we had so much fun playing with different lighting elements and areas of the garden. The whole experience got us really excited for all the potential that this space truly has. Although there are still more improvements to be made, we are very impressed with how fast our team was able to work to get this project finished. What was once a quiet, unused lot is now a beautiful, enchanting oasis.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Circus Vargas

Once again, Circus Vargas is in town! Not only is the circus a fun attraction for San Luis Obispo County residents, but it serves as a personal reminder that summer is officially here. For the past three years, Circus Vargas has come to the Madonna Meadows to thrill and excite its audiences - young and old alike. Each year I am amazed at how elaborate the costumes are and how different and unique each year's production is. This year's production, called Magikaria, featured an illusionist, trapeze flyers, a juggler, tight-rope-walker, human rocket and of course, a comedic clown.
Circus Vargas is unique in that it is a family-oriented and family-run operation, much like the Madonna Inn. From the mothers and grandmothers that create the costumes, to the parents and children that both perform and help sell tickets or popcorn, every member of the Circus Vargas family is involved in the day-to-day operations and has a special part in making sure the production runs seamlessly. Over the past few years we have gotten to know the Circus Vargas family quite well and have a sincere reverence for their level of professionalism, thoughtfulness and integrity.
Circus Vargas will have two more performances of Magikaria before the Big Top leaves San Luis Obispo, so be sure to head on out and experience the magic! Tickets are available online at or at their on-site box office.