The Legend of Hotel California

Tere Leetch
The Legend of Hotel California

I am pretty sure that there are a lot of people who, like me, have heard a couple of stanzas of this famous song without even realizing that there are urban legends that have woven themselves into the lyrics.

Performed by the legendary group, the Eagles, this song became popular in the 70s, coming out on an album by the same name. "Hotel California" has become an icon of this era and has well maintained popularity over the years. It was so successful that in 1977, the album won a Grammy for the best album of the year. The single also topped the Billboard Hot 100 charts and the Recording Industry Association of America awarded it a gold album for having sold more than 1 million copies that year. Since its release, it has sold more than 16 million copies in the U.S. alone. For that particular song, Don Felder, Don Henley and Glenn Frey share the credit for writing a tune that marked a generation.

The Legend of Hotel CaliforniaThe controversial lyrics of "Hotel California" narrate the experience of a man who arrives exhausted from a long journey. It is night when he arrives to this hotel where he catches the scent of marihuana in the air (warm smell of "colitas"). The man is then received by a woman who offers him a bottle of wine and shows him the way by candlelight. Upon seeing that the woman does not return with the wine, he points it out to the captain who replies "we haven't that spirit here since 1969."

The Legend of Hotel CaliforniaThis surreal story tells the tale that all the guests are prisoners of this hotel and have no way out. The legends goes on to say that Don Henley had actually stayed at this hotel, located in the town of Todos Santos (considered a "Pueblo Magico", which is "magical town", a designation given by the Mexican tourist industry to small towns of cultural value) in Baja California, between La Paz and Los Cabos (over 45 miles north of Cabo San Lucas). It was here that the inspiration for the song was born, a song that no one could have imagined would ever have been so popular. The truth of the matter is that before all of this, the real Hotel California had opened in 1932 as a simple lodging option in a two-story building, occupying the second floor while a gas station/convenience store opened on the first. The story goes that the spirit of a woman named Mercedes would appear to men, inviting them to have a glass of wine.

The Legend of Hotel CaliforniaEven though Don Henley had declared in numerous occasions that he had never been at this hotel and that the lyrics weren't written in reference to ghost sightings, it does function as a metaphor for a world of drugs and excess. It is, without a doubt, one of those songs that only the author would really have known what it all meant

The Legend of Hotel CaliforniaAfter changing ownership various times, the Hotel California is now the property of a group of Canadians who remodeled the hotel, conserving the original facade. This enchanting inn still offers lodging service, which is a true, lushly green oasis where you can admire beautiful sunsets in envy-provoking warm weather. In this bountiful country, which was once the land of sugar cane production, mango, avocado and papaya grow in abundance here. You can still feel the calm of country living, as well as the hospitality and friendliness of the locals.

The Legend of Hotel CaliforniaThis beautiful corner of Mexico is a refuge for artists from all over the world, with the majority being from the U.S. Everywhere you go, there are colonial constructions and cobblestone streets that look like they were taken out of books of old.

Those who love animals and the sea will find the beautiful beaches of the Pacific, about two miles away, where you can surf and go horseback riding. The diversity of the landscapes, the dunes, cacti, the golden beaches, rocky formations, whale watching and the birds of Baja are elements that make the nature and wildlife of Baja a unique spectacle.

Nowadays, there are hundreds of people who come to not only stop in front of the Hotel California to take a photo but to also explore the surrounding natural landscapes. The Eagles hit single has unwittingly become a legend of a legend. There is nothing better than to visit this town and form your own opinion.