Living it Up at Hotel California

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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

Hotel California was built in 1947 and has exchanged hands several times, at one point in the 1980s the owner decided to start a rumour that the hotel was the site where the Eagles wrote the song.

The publicity was good for business and the rumour 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.

mexican church

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.

Wondering if you should stay at Hotel California? Read the TripAdvisor Reviews.


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.



Join the Conversation

  1. Hehe, this is just like going to Jimi Hendrix’s house in Diabat, Morocco which I did go with a Canadian friend of mine, together with a Moroccan guy. It’s kind of a myth. The tale is Jimi went there in a certain year and composed “Castles in the Sand”, when in fact the song got released a year later. And of course you saw places capitalizing it — there’s Cafe Jimi Hendrix with colorful paintings of him all over the wall. I think it was kind of a joke, nevertheless, we had fun visiting there, at the sandy beach! hehe. The other fun part was, hitchhiking on the bridge to get back to Essauira. It was my first ever time hitchiking, and in a foreign country!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Wow you hitchhiked in Morocco. You know the weird thing is other than the Hotel the town doesn’t really build anything else around the Eagles song, perhaps because it’s so small.

  2. I love a good mystery. It seems plausible that even if it’s a state of mind, it still had to be inspired by somewhere, why not here?

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      And that’s what people really believe, that while the song isn’t a physical place, the physical cues were taken from here.

  3. I used to hate that song! It freaked me out with the whole “you can check out any time you like, but you can *NEVER* leave” part. Oddly enough, it’s grown on me over the years, although I didn’t realize there might actually be a Hotel California somewhere in the world, outside of California, no less. Very cool find, Ayngelina. Looks cozy…

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Even if the Hotel didn’t have this story, it would still be a fantastic place to stay.

  4. Chrystal McKay says:

    I would love to see this. Real or not I LOVE that song and would love to be there to say I’ve been!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      If you come, you will certainly hear it more than once!

  5. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures says:

    Oh wow it looks gorgeous!!! Love that song!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      You would love this place, the rooms are beautiful.

  6. Meg | One Love Meg says:

    ahhh it’s refreshing to read anything that reminds me of Southern California, and Hotel California and Baja, Mexico do just that. Live it up! 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      My first time to the area and I really love it.

  7. I don’t have a bucket list, but I’d definitely like to stay in the Hotel California. Do they play it on repeat?!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Fortunately no, but I did ask the staff if they get sick of the song. The funny thing is that many are tired of it but don’t know the words other than the chorus.

  8. How fun to experience interesting places like this. 🙂 Fact or fiction, it makes a great story. 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      And they really love telling it, completely open to the fact that some of it could be fiction but they believe most of it to be fact.

  9. Hotel California started following us on Twitter a few months ago and I’ve been looking forward to staying there ever since. Mostly because I have been wanting to go to Todos Santos for years! Other trips always seem get in the way, but I just might have to make it happen this winter. The rooms look so colorful.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Sandra who runs the account is fantastic. She really helped me out while in Baja, connecting me with Club Cortez and a hotel in La Paz. A great person to get to know.

  10. Natalie T. says:

    Cool story! I love the look of this hotel. It looks like the ultimate relaxation. That pool and the colours. I can see why the Eagles wouldn’t want anyone to know they stayed there (if the story is true).

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      The hotel also has a really great bar and restaurant – if you could never leave it really wouldn’t be so bad.

  11. Emily in Chile says:

    I don’t care if it’s rumor or fact, I want to go!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It’s fantastic either way.

  12. Izy Berry @ The Wrong Way Home says:

    Wow, it looks super awesome and comfortable!

    I’m in love with the pool…. I want it to be mine.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      The pool is very nice, I spent quite a few hours reading beside it.

  13. I once saw a documentary on that precise hotel which also said it inspired the song…

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Either way it’s a good story.

  14. Very interesting – love that song, never really thought about it being a real place before. But why would the band deny it?

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I’m not entirely sure why they would deny it, except perhaps the significance of the song is not a physical place.

  15. Ah well, who knows? I love the look of the place though. The colours and the styles remind me very much of the ’60s so it looks like it has that hippie kind of vibe.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It’s a beautiful place whether the story is fact or fiction.

  16. I’m loving those pictures. I could be inspired to write songs there too.

    Delicious blues.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It reminds me a bit of Morocco or Greece with the blues.

  17. Camels & Chocolate says:

    OK, now I’m going to go to bed with the Eagles ringing in my head. THANKS, Ayngelina…

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      There could be worse songs to go to bed to.

  18. I love that song and this hotel looks like a great place to stay, whether or not it has anything to do with the song ;).

  19. Regardless of whether or not the story’s true, that’s one hell of cool place to stay! I’d love to make a visit some day.

    And your disclosure statements are pretty awesome & hilarious. 🙂

  20. Les Petits Pas de Juls says:

    As a fan of the Eagles song and of Mexico, I guess I’ll have to get there too some day. It truly looks beautiful anyway! Hope you enjoyed your stay there and looking forward to the rest of the stories!
    Happy trails!

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