CHRISTMAS-THEMED LODGES: Hotels and getaways that are decorated in full-on festive colors do exist, and they do stay open all year long. And, yes, they soon gain reputations as "that holiday hotel" or "the place with the winter feel in summertime." We love this kind of do-your-own-thing panache, indeed we do, but, if we had our druthers, we'd choose a hotel that was themed to just about everything: caves and golf and horses and merry-go-rounds and love and pioneers and gold-mining and you-name-it. And, really, there's only one you-name-it place in all of California, and maybe all the land (if it isn't the only you-name-it place, it is, by far, the most you-name-it-iest). We speak, yes, of the Madonna Inn, the San Luis Obispo, 101-close hotel where the dozens upon dozens of rooms are all individually themed. And we do mean themed.
INCLUDING... a few that are Christmas in hue or idea. Take the Currier & Ives room. It's not particularly red or green, but can one receive a tin of gingerbread cookies without a snowy Currier & Ives scene on the lid? Well, one can, but it is unusual. Merry is a nice room, too, with pink touches, and a holiday-ready handle (it is part of the three-set of "Merry Go Round" rooms). Some rooms are quite red -- check out Hearts & Flowers -- and others are very green (think Irish Hills or Bridal Falls) and all Madonna Rooms evoke something truly quaint and nostalgic. And aren't we looking for a wee bit of that, come the holidays?
BEYOND THE ROOMS: The Madonna Inn'll also host a New Year's Eve party, an ongoing ice rink, and other festive happenings. Oh, and there are holiday cocktails, too, like Grandma's Apple Cobbler. See, quaintness and nostalgia in all things, even the grown-up beverages. If you're staying in one of the green rooms, sipping a red drink, and considering a round of ice skating in the morning, well, then, consider yourself under the spell of the World's Hue-Happiest Theme Hotel.