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By John O’ Ceallaigh

You could well imagine that the Madonna Inn was named after that synonymous songstress, so outlandish, ostentatious and gay friendly is its design. It’s not though.

It’s named after Mr and Mrs Madonna, who worked in construction and interior design respectively before developing the hotel round 50 years ago.

The Madonna Inn is their interpretation of style and elegance, drastically removed from the sleek but homogenous designs you might find in New York or London. Each of the 110 rooms is unique, with a name emblazoned on its door to give a glimmer of what lies in store.Those titles are almost arbitrary though.  It’s like when you ask a child to draw a picture of their family and in return you get a picture of green-skinned gargoyles and a cat with seven legs. It’s probably not what you expected, but it’s all the better for it.

The Caveman Suite, for example, is a cavernous chamber carved from local rock and decked in leopard print; the Carin suite (Carin is a Swiss term meaning endearment) is a curved pink room with sequined walls and decorated with garlands of flowers.

It’s preposterous but wonderfully so. As is the dining room. Draped in fairy lights and again finished in pink, it stands next to a dance floor. In truth the food – bland steak and soggy, tasteless lobster – is disappointing, but there are compensations.

On band nights, elderly local couples take to the floor to cha-cha-cha and samba with precision and assurance. They’ve obviously been coming here for years. As has Mrs Madonna. Although her husband is now deceased she still visits the Inn frequently. It seems we’d just missed her on the night of our visit, but you might see her during yours, proudly presiding over her pink-hued palace.

Originally published in






Published by edsalvato

Educator, marketing, communications and travel safety expert; LGBTQ Pavilion at the New York Times Travel Show; public speaker; expert panel organizer and moderator

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