This page was made Song of the Month for August 2019.

"Hotel California" is a song by American rock band the Eagles for their 1977 album of the same name. It is about the titular Hotel California, a seemingly inviting luxury resort, but is, in reality, a nightmarish prison that no one can ever escape from.


On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air
Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light
My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim
I had to stop for the night
There she stood in the doorway
I heard the mission bell
And I was thinking to myself
"This could be Heaven or this could be Hell"
Then she lit up a candle and she showed me the way
There were voices down the corridor
I thought I heard them say

Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place
(Such a lovely place)
Such a lovely face
Plenty of room at the Hotel California
Any time of year
(Any time of year)
You can find it here

Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes bends
She got a lot of pretty, pretty boys she calls friends
How they dance in the courtyard, sweet summer sweat
Some dance to remember, some dance to forget

So I called up the Captain
"Please bring me my wine."
He said, "We haven't had that spirit here since nineteen sixty nine."
And still those voices are calling from far away
Wake you up in the middle of the night
Just to hear them say

Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place
(Such a lovely place)
Such a lovely face
They livin' it up at the Hotel California
What a nice surprise
(What a nice surprise)
Bring your alibis

Mirrors on the ceiling
The pink champagne on ice
And she said "We are all just prisoners here, of our own device"
And in the master's chambers
They gathered for the feast
They stab it with their steely knives
But they just can't kill the beast.

Last thing I remember
I was running for the door
I had to find the passage back to the place I was before
"Relax," said the night man
"We are programmed to receive
You can check out any time you like
But you can never leave!"

Other Appearances

  • The song has been featured on several albums, including:
    • Hotel California
    • Hotel California (40th Anniversary Expanded Edition)
    • Hell Freezes Over
    • The Very Best of the Eagles
    • Eagles Greatest Hits, Vol. 2
    • The Studio Albums 1972-1979
    • Selected Works 1972-1999
  • The song was performed live as a part of the Hotel California and The Long Run tours. The 1980 live recording of the song at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in Santa Monica, California, was featured on the album Eagles Live.
  • The song was featured in the video game Guitar Hero World Tour.
  • The song was featured in the television series Absolutely Fabulous, The Sopranos, and American Horror Story: Hotel.
  • The cover made by the Gypsy Kings was featured in the 1998 comedy film The Big Lebowski during the introduction scene of the character Jesus Quintana.





  • The abstract nature of the lyrics has led listeners to their own interpretations over the years. In the 1980s, some Christian evangelists alleged that "Hotel California" referred to a San Francisco hotel purchased by Anton Szandor LaVey and converted into the Church of Satan. Other rumors suggested that the Hotel California was the Camarillo State Mental Hospital. These claims have been consistently denied by the band, with Don Felder describing the origins of the lyrics in 2008: "Don Henley and Glenn wrote most of the words. All of us kind of drove into LA at night. Nobody was from California, and if you drive into LA at night... you can just see this glow on the horizon of lights, and the images that start running through your head of Hollywood and all the dreams that you have, and so it was kind of about that... what we started writing the song about. Coming into LA... and from that 'Life in the Fast Lane' came out of it, and 'Wasted Time' and a bunch of other songs."
  • Film producer Julia Phillips proposed adapting the song into a film, but the members of the Eagles disliked the idea and it never came to fruition.
  • The Eagles won the 1977 Grammy Award for Record of the Year for "Hotel California" at the 20th Grammy Awards in 1978.
  • "Hotel California" first entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart dated February 26, 1977, and topped the Hot 100 singles chart for one week in May 1977, the band's fourth song to reach No. 1 on that chart. It peaked at number 10 on the Easy Listening chart in April 1977. Billboard ranked it number 19 on its 1977 Pop Singles year-end chart. Three months after its first release, the single was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America, representing one million copies shipped.
  • Rolling Stone magazine ranked "Hotel California" as number 49 on its list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time".
  • The song was named one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.
  • The song's guitar solo was voted the best solo of all time by readers of Guitarist magazine in 1998.
  • The song's guitar solo was ranked 8th on Guitar Magazine's Top 100 Guitar Solos.
  • The song was ranked the number 1 in the list of the best 12-string guitar songs of all times by Guitar World magazine in 2015.
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Hotel California

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