Ever since one of our readers sent us photos of its interiors, we’ve been feeling curioser and curioser about this charmingly named Los Angeles attraction. We got Paige Solomon, founder and creative director of the wildly popular Madcap Motel to give us the inside story.
Let’s begin at the beginning. 1946. What happened to JP Sando? Was the mystery ever solved?
Completed in 1926 by visionary motelier J.P. Sando, Madcap Motel in Downtown Los Angeles was the premier roadside destination for residents and tourists alike. Sadly, as the economy of downtown shifted and the city’s development moved westward, the motel strained to stay in business. In 1966, owner J.P. Sando shuttered the motel doors and vanished without a trace, leaving the property behind to his family. For several decades the motel sat abandoned. That was until now…
In 2021, JP’s family began receiving peculiar postcards inviting them back to Madcap Motel to explore whimsical wonders and amusing adventures occurring within its walls. Miraculously, the postcards were all signed by JP Sando himself. Seeking explanations for the postcards and their accounts, the family headed to the motel, unshackled its rusted doors, and ventured inside. Like a gentle current, the writings pulled them through an extraordinary passageway, leading them into an unexplainable labyrinth of peculiar and magical happenings. Was it a portal, a dream, a glitch in space and time, or simply a state of mind? With every door opening to a galaxy of possibilities, Madcap Motel invites Angelenos and travelers alike to experience this fantastical attraction.
“Each postcard was signed by our long-lost grandfather. He told us that behind the walls of room #433 was a hidden portal to another dimension. He called the dimension: Elsewhere.” We’re so intrigued. Tell us more.
Our first motel room, #433, comes from our guiding principle of making each room 40% interactive, 30% weird, and 30% fun. Each guest goes on a journey, similar to our motelier, J.P. Sando’s journey. Some of the rooms are more traditional motel rooms with a wacky twist, while others take motel-based objects albeit supersized, cloned, or in new terrains. We want guests to leave with a sense of wonder. A sense of happiness. The feeling of play and imagination in a world that doesn’t allow adults the opportunity to do that very often.
Originally, what was the Madcap Motel supposed to be? A concept motel or a regular one?
Madcap Motel was always supposed to be an immersive experience and concept motel. After the success of our first experiential venue, Dream Machine, in Brooklyn, New York in 2018, we wanted to build a bigger, better, and bolder entertainment experience. Instead of hiring outside production companies, I wanted to form my own team of expert writers, artists, creators, and fabricators under one umbrella. Thus, Good Enough Productions was born and we set off to take Los Angeles by storm with a new multi-sensory concept that would become Elsewhere at the Madcap Motel.
Who or what inspired the idea?
Part Beetlejuice, Interstellar, and Big Fish. People’s everyday life tends to become “Groundhog Day” so we wanted to create a space where people can play and experience an escape from reality while having this sense of nostalgia and familiarity.
What is the star attraction at Madcap Motel? The one thing that draws the greatest gasps.
You’ll have to find out for yourself what draws the greatest gasp. What happens in room #7, stays in room #7.
Are you planning to add more such motels in America?
After surviving the impact of COVID-19 as a small business, we are taking it one day at a time to see what we can prove and pull off with as many setbacks as we’ve faced. If we make it through summer, it’s safe to say our team is heading south next.
Tell us one Madcap Motel secret no one knows yet.
We have a lot of strange things happen in the motel after hours… so our staff really thinks we get messages from another dimension from JP Sando
Check out www.madcapmotel.com for more details.