May 6, 2017

I was sucked in by Mexico’s fake Hotel California!

The Eagles sued Hotel California in Mexico – AFTER I bought the T-shirt!

Hotel California Mexico

Hotel California – NOT!

Legendary 70s band The Eagles tried suing a Mexican hotel for using their song Hotel California and sucking people in that the song was written about the hotel located in Todos Santos, just north of Jose del Cabo on the Baja Peninsular.

I was sucked in.

I literally bought the T-shirt – and a cap – for my husband. Then when I got home and began to do a little research about the hotel’s link to The Eagles, I discovered that there was none at all. Zip. Nada. It was all a huge scam. I’m just surprised it’s taken the band’s lawyers this long to try and get some of the money they have earned from hapless tourists like myself.

I was in Cabo, on Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, and was excited to have a guide for the day. We drove from Jose del Cabo to La Paz up the eastern side of the peninsula for a bit of seal watching and cerviche on the beach (as you do) then drove back down the west coast via a little town called Todos Santos, specifically to visit the legendary Hotel California.

Our driver played the hit song in the van and regaled us with stories of how it came to be named. (*cough.) Well I should have, but I didn’t know any better!

We pulled up and managed to find a car park among all the other tourists. There are a few local shops and bars, but it’s the hotel and it’s garden bar people come for.

They have a gift shop too, The Emporium, which is so big it has its own entrance selling all sorts of merch and I handed over my hard-earned cash for the aforementioned T-shirt and cap (pic below).

If you Google this hotel you’ll find images of motorbike groups lined up outside while their riders have a beer in the garden which has a sound stage out the back. You’ll find a gazillion selfies of tourists keen to put themselves into a little piece of Rock n Roll history. Or so they think.

Inside this 3-star hotel, reception is dark and a little eerie. It’s painted in blues and crimsons and I remember thinking that it was spooky at the time because we’d been belting out “you can check out any time you like but you can never leave”.

In fairness, I honestly think my guide believed this was the hotel that inspired the Eagles haunted song.

In January 2018 the courts allowed Mexico’s Hotel California to keep its name, they just can’t apply for trademarks in America.

So if you do fancy buying a “genuine fake” from the gift store, you’ve been warned!

Hotel California art work

The Hotel California tequila as art

Hotel California toilets

Ladies and Gents toilets!

Fake Hotel California merchandise

Hotel California T-shirt and cap. For some reason my husband’s not so keen to wear them!

About Megan Singleton


Hi, I'm Megan Singleton and I'm the word slinger of this travel blog as well as on radio every week and a few newspapers and mags from time to time. I set off on this travel writing journey 18 years ago and I've pretty much always got a suitcase half packed (or half un-packed!)I'd love you to join me on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for monthly newsletters if you want loads of travel tips, advice and deals!

"I was sucked in by Mexico’s fake Hotel California!" - What do you think?

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  1. Maureen Gibson on

    My friend and i also got sucked in in 2017 found out a few months later we had been done and that it wasn’t true about Eagles staying in hotel and writing music Hotel California Loved the experience though while on a cruise excursion tour to Todo Santos


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