The Eagles have filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court against the Todo Santos hotel in Baja California Sur, Mexico. The band says the resort is infringing on their trademarks, billing the property as the “Hotel California” without permission from the band.
Todos Sants opened as the Hotel California in 1950, before going through a number of name changes and owners. The Current owners restored the “Hotel California” name in 2001. According to numerous sources, including TripAdvisor, the hotel plays Eagles songs over the PA system, also it sells t-shirts that call the hotel “legendary” — as if to suggest that it was the inspiration for the song. They also own the website hotelcaliforniabaja.com.
The complaint reads, “Defendants lead U.S. consumers to believe that the Todos Santos Hotel is associated with the Eagles and, among other things, served as the inspiration for the lyrics in ‘Hotel California,’ which is false.” The paperwork also notes that the owners attempted to register the Hotel California name with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
The Eagles’ Don Henley has always insisted that the lyrics were not about an actual hotel, but rather a metaphor. “It’s basically a song about the dark underbelly of the American dream and about excess in America, which is something we knew a lot about”.