If ever there were a time that called for sneaking off into another dimension for a mental vacation, now is that time. And the Madcap Motel, not your average “Instagram museum,” is more of an immersive experience for those too shy to dive head first, but curious enough to want to dip their toes into the waters of immersive entertainment.
The legend is J. P. Sando opened the Madcap Motel in downtown Los Angeles in 1946. He disappeared in 1966, leaving the motel shuttered for over 50 years. The family decided to restore it in 2019, and that’s when they started receiving strange postcards from the long-missing Sando. He told them that beyond room #433, there is a hidden portal to another dimension, one he called “Elsewhere.” Now’s your chance to explore it yourself.
Elsewhere at the Madcap Motel is part guided-tour and part free-for-all, where you can explore 18 rooms full of surprises (and unbeatable photo ops). My favorite room was very reminiscent of the great Yayoi Kusama and one of her infinity mirrors. Another left me humming The Little Mermaid’s “Under the Sea.” A third felt like I was about to be abducted by aliens… and to be honest, at this point, why not check out another dimension?
The layout of Elsewhere at the Madcap Motel is a bit confusing, but in the most functional way. That is to say that anyone afraid of venturing out during the pandemic needn’t worry. Not only is it 17,000 square feet, but every room is connected to multiple others, so if you pop your head into one to find it full, you can just bounce on over to another. Masks are required, and there’s an abundance of accessible hand sanitizer. As someone who deeply missed immersive events, but is also terrified of COVID-19, the Madcap Motel provided a really reassuring look at how we can still attend our favorite events this year. The future looks promising, y’all.
The sixties decor at the Madcap Motel is fabulous – so much so that everyone in my group lost their minds upon entering the first guest room. The actors are enthusiastic, and dedicated to keeping things COVID-safe. The energy is playful, lighthearted, and incredibly strange – but in the best way.
Elsewhere at the Madcap Motel was the first event I covered in probably a year, and let me tell you, it did not disappoint. To all my friends who miss Dapper Day, throw on your cutest 60s dress and you’ve got enough content for a month.
With all of the unique rooms and photo ops, it’s also a great place to reconnect with friends you’ve had to avoid thanks to the pandemic. It was my first time reuniting with my spooky crew, and I couldn’t have asked for a prettier, warmer, and more enjoyable opportunity. (Editor’s note: It was also literally warm in there, so dress accordingly.)
Once you enter the 60s-style, tropical courtyard (that made me feel like I was on a Ryan Murphy show), you can roam around as you please. However, when you are ready to leave, a particular door will lead you to a certain surprise that shall be kept as such, and afterwards, of course, the gift shop. There is no turning back once you decide to leave Elsewhere. On the bright side, you can still grab some souvenirs from the tastefully-decorated vintage lobby… and that includes photos from the photo booth.
Though you wouldn’t be able to tell from the truly delightful designs, Madcap Motel hit a bit of a rough patch when we were faced with a pandemic that shut just about everything down for over a year. However, creative director and owner Paige Soloman was so dedicated to her unique escape from reality, that she even moved into her faux motel to ride out the storm. The dust finally settled and Elsewhere at the Madcap Motel is finally ready to admit guests (just not overnight ones).
The Madcap Motel is a genuinely fun venture into the world of immersive events. It’s tame enough that anyone can attend, but still has that Hollywood flair that sets it apart from being merely a backdrop for Instagram content. Oh, and Soloman let us in on a little secret. If all goes to plan, the Madcap Motel crew might be putting on a murder mystery event in the near future.
For now, check out Elsewhere at the Madcap Motel for yourself! It’s open Thursday through Sunday, and all ages are welcome. You can find more information, including COVID safety guidelines, by visiting this link.