Why so pink? Story and photos behind Madonna Inn in SLO, the pinkest place in California

The Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo is one of the most well-known hotels in California. It’s also very, very pink.

Picture pink patterned rugs, pink leather chairs and glittering pink walls. There’s even pink champagne cake.

Why so pink? The Madonna Inn opened in 1958 by husband-and-wife duo Alex and Phyllis Madonna. Audrey Pearce, assistant marketing manager at the Inn and a grandchild of the family, said Alex Madonna was fond of the color.

“Mr. Madonna thought pink was a happy color and wanted to build a property he could have people feel happy when they visited,” Pearce said. “And, he thought my grandma looked really beautiful in pink.”

Over the years, the Madonna Inn has attracted admirers from around the country, including celebrities such as Dolly Parton and John Wayne.

Since 2016, the Inn has been visited by music stars Katy Perry, Kacey Musgraves and Kesha. Actor Will Ferrell stayed there in 2017.

The monochromatic motel has even been in music videos — including rapper Bryce Vine’s video for “Drew Barrymore,” which has more than 42 million views on YouTube.

Break out your rose-colored glasses. Here’s an inside look of the Madonna Inn, one of the pinkest places in California.

Madonna Inn rooms and suites

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Courtesy of Madonna Inn

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Courtesy of Madonna Inn

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Courtesy of Madonna Inn

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Courtesy of Madonna Inn

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Courtesy of Madonna Inn

Courtesy of Madonna Inn

Gold Rush Steak House

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Courtesy of Madonna Inn

Rapper Bryce Vine and actress Christian Serratos snack on Madonna Inn cakes in San Luis Obispo in Vine’s music video for the song “Drew Barrymore.” “Drew Barrymore” music video

Pink tennis courts

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T Twisselman Photography Courtesy of Madonna Inn

Rapper Bryce Vine and actress Christian Serratos play tennis at the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo in Vine’s new music video. “Drew Barrymore” music video

Bathrooms, ballrooms and more

Courtesy of Madonna Inn

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This all-pink semi-private room for reservation is called “Gay 90s.” Courtesy of Madonna Inn

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Mark Nakamura Courtesy of Madonna Inn

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Madonna Inn. Photo by Joe Johnston 02-27-18 Joe Johnston The Tribune

Pink champagne cake

The Madonna Inn’s signature champagne cake is decorated in a pink chocolate garnish. Courtesy of Amanda Rich

A slice of the Madonna Inn’s signature pink champagne cake. The Tribune

Courtesy of Madonna Inn

Madonna Inn sign

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Larry Desario, owner of Santa Maria Neon Electric Signs, crawls into the Madonna Inn sign to repair the Madonna part of the neon lettering which was on the blink because of water damage in 2013. The sign has survived even as others were dismantled. Joe Johnston

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The Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo is a popular shooting location for movies, music videos and television shows. Joe Johnston

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The Madonna Inn is located in San Luis Obispo, California. Courtesy of Madonna Inn
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