What does Hotel California mean?

Search Login

Eagles: Hotel California Meaning

Song Released: 1977


Get "Hotel California" on MP3:

Get MP3 from iTunes

Hotel California Lyrics

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...

  1. 1TOP RATED

    #1 top rated interpretation:
    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jul 8th 2019 report

    I have been an Eagles super-fan for three decades now; I think Hotel California is one of the best songs of my lifetime and I have been on a journey to find out the meaning as intended by the authors (Henley, Frey and Felder). There are a lot of conflicting interpretations on the web, so I went to the horse’s mouth; Frey and Henley did an interview on 60 minutes. Frey and Henley also done one-on-one interviews – all in the 90’s.I have watched all these interviews and have compiled what I think the authors were after. The Eagles had great respect for Steely Dan’s lyrical creativity, so they set out to write a song that was lyrically progressive. Something like an episode of the Twilight Zone including fantasy, science fiction, suspense, horror, and psychological thriller, often concluding with a macabre or unexpected twist, and usually with a moral. Let’s start with what the song is NOT about: It is not about death and hell and Anton LaVey’s church of Satan, as many interpretations have surmised based on a nior interpretation of the lyrics and the photos on the album jacket.
    The simplest interpretation per Henley: it’s about a journey from innocence to experience. It’s not really about California; it’s about America,” Henley said. “It’s about the dark underbelly of the American dream. It’s about excess, it’s about narcissism. It’s about the music business. It’s about a lot of different…. It can have a million interpretations.” We achieved perfect ambiguity.

    There is a playful nod to the band Steely Dan in the song

    The line "They stab it with their steely knives, but they just can't kill the beast," is a playful jab to rock band Steely Dan. in the song. Steely Dan and the Eagles had a mutual admiration club in the 70s – as they referenced each other in songs (see following).

    Frey revealed in the liner notes of "The Very Best Of" that they alluded to the "Do it Again" rock band in "Hotel California" after Steely Dan made an Eagles reference in their song "Everything You Did."

    This song to me (Frey) has always been the inability to run away from yourself and our own personal demons that’s why I love it so” … we are all prisoners here, of our own device…”
    That’s my best shot. I welcome any other opinions.

  2. 2TOP RATED

    #2 top rated interpretation:
    JackDiamond
    click a star to vote
    May 20th 2021 report

    Hotel California.. Commentary..
    “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,” Henley said in a 2002 interview with "60 Minutes."
    In 2005, Henley further explained the meaning of the song to Rolling Stone magazine, which placed "Hotel California" at no. 49 on its list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.

    Hotel California, The Eagles..
    Commentary by Daniel W. Johnson..

    •On a dark desert highway
    "Trip within, the closest, desert = confusion, a higher way of thinking, upper self"..
    •Cool wind in my hair
    "The feeling, breeze, of the energy flowing"..
    •Warm smell of colitas
    "rising Colitas = little tails, Kundabuffer, lower self, Devils tail"..
    •Rising up through the air
    "Higher vibrations, Spiritual movement, Air = 3rd level of conciousness"..
    •Up ahead in the distance
    "Upper self, the mind, which is to come"..
    •I saw a shimmering light
    "The lamp of the body, light within, just in sight"..
    •My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim
    "Pressure/weight in the forehead/pineal/3rd eye/single eye when activated and both eyes closed, the thieves that deceive us daily"..
    •I had to stop for the night
    "Meditation, pray in secret, no thought, to sit in the darkness, the shadow of death"..
    •There she stood in the doorway
    "She = the female Spirit, Gaia, Goddess, Life, Mother.. Doorway to the Kingdom of Heaven"..
    •I heard the mission bell
    Bells of the seven seals, seven churches, seven chakras, seven energy wheels or seven energy centers of the body"..
    •And I was thinkin' to myself
    "Thinking within self"..
    •This could be heaven or this could be hell
    "Kundalini and Kundabuffer, Mountain top and valley so low, Upper self, heaven positive thoughts and lower self, hell, bottomless pit, negative thoughts"..
    •Then she lit up a candle
    "She/female spirit.. Candlestick of pure gold, Exodus, Revelation kjv"..
    •And she showed me the way
    "She/Gaia/Spirit"
    •There were voices down the corridor
    I thought I heard them say
    "Inner voices of the universe one hears while listening in meditation or praying in secret/silence.. the passageway"..

    •Welcome to the Hotel California
    "Life on earth, Life Within self, Our Soul, 3rd eye, Pineal, City Within, New Jerusalem"..
    •Such a lovely place (such a lovely place)
    "Kingdom of Heaven within you".. God is Love"..
    •Such a lovely face
    "Face of God, Genesis 32:30 kjv, Pineal gland"..
    •Plenty of room at the Hotel California
    "Vacancies for each and evey individual soul"..
    •Any time of year (any time of year)
    You can find it here
    "Always open, 24/7"..

    •Her mind is Tiffany-twisted
    "Tiffany = Manifestation of God"..
    •She got the Mercedes Benz, uh
    •She got a lot of pretty, pretty boys
    •That she calls friends
    •How they dance in the courtyard
    "When we are woke, ying vs yang, light vs dark, day vs. night, Good vs. Evil.. The two coexists, we realize life is not a competition and life becomes a dance.. Courtyard = inner temple, house or palace..
    •Sweet summer sweat
    •Some dance to remember
    •Some dance to forget

    •So I called up the Captain
    "Creator, God, Almighty"..
    •"Please bring me my wine"
    "Wine = Spirit"..
    •He said, "We haven't had that spirit here since 1969"
    "Spirit of 1969 = Love.. God is Love"..
    •And still those voices are calling from far away
    "Inner voices light years away"..
    •Wake you up in the middle of the night
    Just to hear them say
    "Activation of the pineal, the lamp of the body, in the middle of darkness to hear the inner voices of the Universe/God..

    •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
    "Claim or piece of evidence of being elsewhere or ones own personal experiences"..

    •Mirrors on the ceiling
    "Its all been written in the stars, what happens in the stars mirrors/duplicates what happens within"..
    •The pink champagne on ice
    •And she said, "We are all just prisoners here of our own device"
    "Souls visiting earth, trapped in our earthy borrowed vessels"..
    •And in the master's chambers
    "Temple within"..
    •They gathered for the feast
    "Book of Revelation, Sup with God"..
    •They stab it with their steely knives
    But they just can't kill the beast
    "We harness both positive and negative energy, the Beast is thy lower self, negative, Kundabuffer that can never be killed.. Coexistence:..

    •Last thing I remember
    "the experience"
    •I was running for the door
    •I had to find the passage back
    "the way back"
    •To the place I was before
    •"Relax", said the night man
    "The darkness"..
    •"We are programmed to receive
    "Pineal, 3rd eye and the12 cranial nerves, seat to our soul, antenna, connected into a single consciousness, Oneness with All life..
    •You can check out any time you like
    But you can never leave"
    "We will all die/transcend but will be reincarnated back on earth"..

  3. 3TOP RATED

    #3 top rated interpretation:
    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Aug 7th 2015 report

    Despite popular belief, the Eagles have confirmed that “Hotel California” actually has nothing to do with Satanism, psychiatric hospitals, or cocaine addictions. The hit song is actually an examination of the pitfalls of living within Southern California in the tumultuous 1970s.

    Written by Don Felder, Glenn Frey, and Don Henley of the Eagles, the “Hotel California” lyrics meaning is focused on the excess materialism of California, as well as across the nation in the 1970s. In an interview with the London Daily Mail in 2007, Don Henley disproved the wilder interpretations as merely figments of the overactive public imagination. Instead, the song was about the “uneasy balance between art and commerce.” The Grammy winner for Record of the Year in 1977, “Hotel California” was the band’s interpretation of the high life in California full of propaganda with the signature images of the stars on Hollywood Boulevard, beaches with scantily clad women, and shining lights seen for hundreds of miles.

    The song is aimed the characteristic greed and hedonism associated with Hollywood during the time period, including the excess of drugs, piles of money, and easy women that the Eagles admitted they themselves were drowning in. As evidence from the photographer for the album cover, he has stated that the picture was intended to represent the dramatic loss of innocence and rising growth of corruption.

  4. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jan 12th 2021 report

    This interpretation makes complete sense to me. https://thegodabovegod.com/the-secret-gnosis-of-hotel-california-part-2/



  5. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Nov 12th 2020 report

    It's about love. She's tiffiny twisted. A kinky kind of love. He's a prisioner for love. Some danced to remember some danced to forget. Forget and remember love.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  6. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jul 14th 2020 report

    I interpret this song to be about hell. It's easy to see once you realize it. The music intro reveals a rattle coming from a rattlesnake. It's faint, but it's there. The snake representing the devil. A man on a dark desert hwy falls asleep at the wheel crashes, dies and end up at the gates of hell. "My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim
    I had to stop for the night. I heard the mission bell, and I was thinking to myself this could be heaven or this could be hell"
    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

    Plenty of room at the Hotel California
    Any time of year (Any time of year)
    You can find it here" Hell is open 365/24/7
    She got a lot of pretty, pretty boys
    She calls friend Some dance to remember
    Some dance to forget ....Pretty boys are gay boys who according to the bible cannot enter heaven
    Her mind is Tiffany-twisted
    She got the Mercedes Benz
    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

    "Welcome to the Hotel California
    Such a lovely place (Such a lovely place)
    Such a lovely face
    They living it up at the Hotel California
    What a nice surprise (what a nice surprise)
    Bring your alibis" Why would you need an alibi? And she said: "We are all just prisoners here
    Of our own device" prisoners of our own device is a huge hint.
    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...The beast according to the bible is the antichrist. Only God can defeat him
    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!" Find the passage back? You can never leave??



  7. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jul 9th 2020 report

    I think it starts as him driving, enjoying his life to max (colitas) marijuana tails. DUI. And he sees a light he dies. Only remembers him being tired and arriving at a hotel. Were this lady is waving and waiting for him. (Death). She leads him in to purgatory. People laugh at him saying pretty face because they know he doesn’t know where he is. And later finds out he’s dead.

  8. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Apr 14th 2020 report

    Well as I remember it this song is actually about the Feds and their eavesdropping abilities.
    It was the height of the cocaine importation and smugglers

  9. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Feb 22nd 2020 report

    To me this is a song about PTSD and Vietnam. I left from California going to Vietnam. I wake up in the middle of the night reliving the experiences I had there. You can check out but you can never leave - you can leave Vietnam but it’ll never leave you! I cry every time I hear this song...

  10. Angelboo
    click a star to vote
    Dec 23rd 2019 report

    This song is so ambiguous. It could be about anything. I think it's talking about everything that everyone mentioned already. The music industry, a cult, drugs, sex, prostitution, hell, fame, relationships, a asylum etc.

  11. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jul 8th 2019 report

    Frey and Henley were both interested in the tune after hearing the demo, and discussed the concept for the lyrics. In 2008, Felder described the writing of the lyrics:

    Don Henley and Glenn wrote most of the words. All of us kind of drove into L.A. at night. Nobody was from California, and if you drive into L.A. 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.
    - from wikipedia

    -Punk who has no opinion on this song. Wait for others who might have an opinion on this song!
    (Seems you only welcome those people who are also Anonymous like you)



  12. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jun 5th 2019 report

    This is about the excesses and facades of the glamour life centered in Southern California. The lights and then a lady draws him in. He sees the glamour but recognizes this could be his dream life or a nightmare. As he enters the nightlife scene he becomes increasingly aware that this is not heaven. The lady with the pretty boys is rich and maybe once famous but is now using money to attract where beauty once did. She’s dances to remember those days while others are dancing to forget these days. There is no wine as it has been replaced with drugs. The beast is the addition to the lifestyle which is drug fueled but is socially driven to other empty excesses. The voices keep saying you are having great time here. The drifter shows so outside but inside they all know this is in fact hell. He wants to rewind the tape to the innocent time before. He has the power to check out, but as the night man explains, no one there has the will.

  13. WindRoseLyrics
    click a star to vote
    Mar 21st 2019 report

    Now that all the pedophilia/sex trafficking/satanists are being exposed on QAnon .pub and QMap .pub sites as of the big drop on 3/20/2019, I think the song is talking about how Hollywood lures and traps them into the lifestyle, and I think the Hotel itself may be alluding to The Standard, where Ray (Rachel) Chandler is active as a front for procurement of children and young teens for the Elite, for ritual sexual abuse and torture to acquire Adrenochrome, secreted by the body when terror-induced. There is a movie out called "Adrenochrome." Truth is stranger than fiction. Hollywood's been showing us right under our noses in movies for years. I only suggest watching the trailer, if you can stomach it.

  14. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Mar 16th 2019 report

    According to the Straight Dope newsletter, there was a post on the Usenet by Thomas Dzubin of Vancouver, British Columbia, with one of the theories. It is that there was a Hotel California located in Baja California on the coastal highway between Cabo San Lucas and La Paz, near Santa Barbara.

    There was an explosion near the hotel in a fireworks factory three blocks from Hotel California. One of the workers that survived the fire spoke to Don Henley. Don asked the guy what he saw. The worker said: "Wurn Snell of Colitas...rising up through the air". Wurn Snell was a worker that died in the explosion and he was from Colitas, Greece.

    Maybe Dan and the band were thinking about this man that died and what would happen if they died in the hotel.

  15. Pigglesnake
    click a star to vote
    Jul 5th 2018 report

    This song is all and only about pussy. (Vagina).

    Play on words--one smell of clitoris

    pink champagne on ice -- juicy

    mirrors on the ceiling in their masters chambers, gathered for the feast -- The bedroom where you mostly screw.

    Stab it with their steely knives --penis

    Just can't kill the beast -- fuck it all you want and it bounces right back.

    pretty face --pussy sight

    Relax said the night man, we are programmed... --- Everyone needs sex

    Once you lose your virginity you can never go back:

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  16. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Mar 8th 2018 report

    Versailles. Ive been there.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  17. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Mar 7th 2018 report

    I always thought that the song was about "Halloween," because It's a bit spooky! Every time I hear this song, I get the goose bumps at the same time that it fills me with unprecedented joy. Everyone makes one's own interpretation of the song and that's the genius of the lyrics and that is precisely how a piece of art should be: open to every person's interpretation, meaning giving a different impression to different individuals.But in the end when all is said and done, I believe that the final words on the interpretation and the meaning of the song should be attributed to the writers of the lyrics because no one knows better than them what they really meant by it. Period.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  18. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jan 7th 2018 report

    I thought it was about Thailand's Jail. There goes my bubble

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
‹ prev 123456789



More Eagles song meanings »


 


Latest Articles

 


Submit Your Interpretation

[ want a different song? ]





Just Posted

Close Yet Far anonymous
Welcome to the Jungle anonymous
The Mission anonymous
Courtesy Call anonymous
Invisible String anonymous
All Too Well anonymous
Afterglow anonymous
Bitches Broken Hearts anonymous
Mouth anonymous
Somewhere Down The Road anonymous
I Hate Myself And I Want To Die anonymous
It's Probably Me anonymous
Those Were The Days PauloTavares
Friends of Mine anonymous
Farewell anonymous

Get a weekly email update

(We won't give out your email)

Latest Releases

Price Of Fame
Brent Faiyaz
Rolling Stone
Brent Faiyaz
Ghetto Gatsby
Brent Faiyaz
Stick Season
Noah Kahan
Strangers
Bring Me the Horizon
Part Of The Band
1975, The
Sex, Drugs, Etc.
Beach Weather
Heal Your Heart (Interlude)
Brent Faiyaz