Todos Santos, Mexico
Perhaps one of the more fascinating stories of a hotel is the one I am staying in now. Hotel California saw on Twitter I was in Baja and invited me to stay in Todos Santos. Claiming to be The Hotel California I had to come down to check it out because my understanding of the song is that it isn’t a physical place but state of mine.
It turns out the story is a mish mash of fact and fiction and no one knows the truth.
Hotel California was built in 1947 and has exchanged hands several times, at one point in the 1980s the owner decided to start a rumor that the hotel was the site where the Eagles wrote the song. The publicity was good for business and the rumor grew so they created a room with Eagles posters and a guitar and claimed the chair was the one used to write the song. A reporter from the US came down and wrote about it. But the Eagles heard about it and denounced Hotel California was a physical place.
Case closed, right?
Well not quite. People here really do believe there are far too many coincidences in the song. While Hotel California may be a state of mind, or as the Eagles later said a statement about the excess of America, the song likely took its physical references from this hotel.
On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
Todos Santos is in the desert but the area is slightly cooler than everywhere else.
There she stood in the doorway I heard a mission bell.
A “crazy lady” lived in the hotel at this time. The hotel is right next to a church.
But perhaps the most convincing lyric is this one:
Mirrors on the ceiling, pink champagne on ice.
Apparently pink champagne was served at this hotel and that crazy lady had a mirror on her ceiling.
That’s enough to convince me.
What strengthens the argument is that drugs were very prevalent in Baja Sur in the 1960s and it became a very popular destination for musicians. The Hotel doesn’t insist it is 100% true and they openly admit the rumor one owner started. They have no way to prove it and figure back in the 1960s there were no guest registration forms. But there seems to be too many coincidences.
Disclosure: I was a guest of Hotel California, they did not request that I write a favourable review or hum the song non-stop during my stay.