What does Hotel California mean?

Eagles: Hotel California Meaning

Album cover for Hotel California album cover

Song Released: 1977

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. anonymous
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    May 25th 2011 !⃝

    actuly this song is about the chain of hotels called "the marriot" like in the lobby when theres mirrors and windows on the roof and such a friendly place because all the employees are nice and helpfull. and the reason they dont drink is cause they dont want little kids to be exposed to drinking. and the pretty boys she calls her friends are her friends are homosexual cause theres alot of homosexualness in california.

  2. anonymous
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    May 20th 2011 !⃝

    First of all, if the band were Satanists and they had written the song about Satanism, would they openly admit it in the era that the song was written?

    Probably not. So people saying "Well, the band said in an interview that it was about this or that", while you are not necessarily wrong, this is not proof at all that it was not about Satanism.

    Of course it is about Satanism, or at least what is commonly referred to as such by people unacquainted with Thelema and Luciferianism.

    The year reference (1969) is a dead giveaway--it can't be accidental and I ask you what purpose the lyricist had in mind by including it if it is not a reference to the religious organization founded in California that very year? Wine and spirit used in the same verse certainly evoke images of communion wine and the Holy Spirit.

    Disclaimers that the image on the back is not of La Vey are not very persuasive--the image certainly looks like him and in the days when the album was released, it would have evoked La Vey to anyone remotely familiar with the spiritual scene in CA. Might not have been him but whoever designed the album certainly meant it to look like him.

    "Master's chambers"..."The Beast..."..."steely knives"....

    Why the imagery if not related to the religion attached to such terms and imagery?

    The Beast can't be killed because he is the lust inside human beings.

    Anton Lavey taught people to fulfill that lust--so many references that can allude to this man and his religious organization, replete with the Satanic spiritual philosophy itself being recounted throughout the whole song, yet we are to believe it is not about Satanism (or the equivalent)?

  3. anonymous
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    Apr 26th 2011 !⃝

    I agree with the top rate interpretation of the song. Hotel California is Hell. The Lyric : I said to the captain please bring me my wine. He said we haven't had that spirit here since 1969. The word "spirit" is referring to wine and alcohol itself. Alcohol used to be called "spirits" because of how it makes the human body react and almost lose control of itself when taken in large consumption. The beast at the end that they are trying to stab is Satan but he cannot be killed because he along with everyone else in the hotel, who landed themselves there "by their own devise" by the way they chose to live their lives, are already dead, and thus can never leave.
    And the only way to escape a place far worse than this is to repent and get saved:)

  4. anonymous
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    Apr 19th 2011 !⃝

    There's some extension of personal interpretation here, albeit in accord with original intended metaphor.
    This was much more exaggerated in the late 70's when this song was introduced. Hotel California's release coincided with my high school graduation year, Naive to the music industry intent of the song but to me represented the broader sense: west coast's pretentiousness yet financial superiority over the relatively "bumpkin morality" pervasive in much of the midwest. As a child of the coastal life, then moved unwillingly by parents to bumfuckville the damn song taunted all I had missed about coastal life at the very time of my return to it sans family, the relative proximity to the captains of industry and... at the time... a sense of intellectual superiority, palatable avocado and bean sprout sandwiches VS. spam and mayonnaise, but all at a price-- your soul-- because once infected with even climate, intelligent professors, oh, hell, the best of every damn thing... you can stab it with steely knives, but you can never leave! One walk down hollywood blvd practically left the rest self-explanatory, some were meant to indulge, relish in it's decadence, other's to remain forever niave to it. I represented the latter, from which I could never return. To my ignorant redneck peer group, such would be "my eternal damnation" and would apply some "satanistic" meaning to it all, yes, some controlled, even possessed, if you will, by this very pretentiousness if one does not possess the chutzpah (my own little hats off to donald fagan and the dan band, yes I even caught that one right off) to moderate his/her indulgence... : we haven't had that spirit here since 1969: those so accustomed to L.A. life they know no other, and had become "bored" with everything, despite it's "spirit" yet I'd say... bring me my wine! Her mind is tiffany twisted, she got the mercedes bends... or so I heard that: her pretentiousness so well practiced she'd get decompression sickness to come up too fast. I won't go further into how many of those queens...oh, my... no... I won't.
    The mission bell: symbolic of the enslavement of the native population by the early california missions, for which in return the european inhabitants now must spin in a maze of nauseating delights, forever! Now, not sure if this is heaven or hell.
    Now I add yet another layer to this CAKE:
    I could finally, in such an atmosphere, be my true GAY self. Where the hell else in 197damn6 was I going to find companionship? I can run naked on the beaches north of L.A.. I could be totally open about my preference without fear of violence, how could I return to the previous ignorance without PRETENDING to be someone other than who I was?
    For me, at the time, Hotel California tripped me out in it's parallels to my own experience, and a totally bitchin' song to groove to as well!

  5. anonymous
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    Apr 17th 2011 !⃝

    The song is not about a whore house or a Satanic order, it is a song about the state of the world at the time and all the perseptions the band had about life and the things around them. The Hotel is a symbol for indulgence and decay.

  6. anonymous
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    Apr 15th 2011 !⃝

    All of these interpretations are off base. The Hotel California is about the Hotel in Todos Los Santos on the Pacific Side of the Mexico Peninsula west of Cabo San Lucas. It was a hangout for musicians, artists, philosophers, people on the fringes of society, people escaping the US and other countries for who know's what? It was a venue popular in the 60's as an alternative cultural retreat. Heavy on the drug use, alcohol, sex and generally a place to inspire your imagination and sedate. Whether you came for the drugs or to dry out or illuminate a pathway to a different life it was the altenative retreat that attracted a wide range of people and cultures. For the Eagles and Don Henley it was a place to hangout and recharge as an alternative to the grind of the road as a rock star. Here you could indulge your senses and physical needs with drugs (heroin, the beast) and sex in a safe environment that had not rules or restrictions. In moments of repose and deep thought, a manifest of the pause of drug use, or an enlightened moment, Don Henley reflects on the history of the many people he came into contact with. These unique characters with their colorful personalities and spirits lit up this place and left an indelible historical footprint. Don Henley basically wrote a song about his experiences at this venue. The inferences regarding the use and addictions to drugs and alcohol, sex, and nostalgia for the '60's etc are all part of the experiences he had that he wants to share with you.

  7. anonymous
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    Mar 24th 2011 !⃝

    The line
    "mirrors on the ceiling, pink champagne on ice"
    Refers to the mirrors on the ceilings of rooms in mental hospitals used by staff to view the patients. Pink champagne on ice refers to a pink sedative that has to be kept chilled.

  8. anonymous
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    Mar 4th 2011 !⃝

    Okay, after reading a lot of these descriptions, which, honestly, either don't make sense, or seem kinda right, but wrong at the same time...

    If you think about it enough, you'll realize this: An insane asylum. The voices in the halls are literally people talking in the other rooms, which is characteristic of such locations. They haven't had alcohol since 1969 because a lot of asylums are converted from something else, or they used to allow it before some sort of incident. They can check out anytime by submitting to the rest of the wards, thus removing all delusions.

  9. anonymous
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    Feb 26th 2011 !⃝

    I hate people who think their interpretation is the only right one. This is very subjective. The lyrics are so good because you can extract so many different meanings each time you read or heard them... I feel as though I'm love when i listen it, it's just perfect, my favourite song.

  10. ArcadeFire_TheChilis
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    Feb 8th 2011 !⃝

    Holy f**k. I saw an interview and i and 100% positive that this song, is in fact about cocaine. It was all about his drug recovery! I'm not "pretty sure" or any shit like that. I've seen an interview all about the inspiration for the song.

    The song starts out where he is 'cruisin' down the road (its all fine so far)

    it says things like "I heard the mission bell." He's into it now.
    "this could be heaven or hell" he is thinking this could be a bad or a good experience. "

    The 'she' he speaks of is cocaine. Just pay attention to the song with this is mind and is really quite clear.

    Remember, this is not my opinion. This is they interview done with the Eagles.

  11. anonymous
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    Jan 16th 2011 !⃝

    This is not an interpretation, but a question to all those who feel that this song is based on "demonic worship" or "hell"...

    If the song was actually based on the above mentioned subjects the why would the captain say that they hadn't had the spirit since 1969, considering that the demonic bible was written in 1969. Shouldn't it be the time for the demons to rejoice after 1969???

    Food for thought...

  12. anonymous
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    Jan 5th 2011 !⃝

    Those interpretations are WRONG, Hotel California is a Hotel in Mexico, satanic rituals were done in that hotel, and many weird/strange things happened there...

  13. sydferret
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    Oct 19th 2010 !⃝

    I'm with The Dude. No point at all.

  14. anonymous
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    Oct 16th 2010 !⃝

    I thought it was about a guy who got sent to the nut house.

  15. m320753
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    Sep 30th 2010 !⃝

    to anonymous from july 25. if your'e so positive this son is satanic why would you be commenting on it. when i see something in the headline or a song on lyric interpretations that sounds wrong for my beliefs i just don't read it. as far as a true interpretation why oh why do we need 2 zillion anonymous commenters? are they afraid to stand up to their comment. personnally i like this song especially the videos. but i think putting it on lyric interpretations for God only knows how many times, is wearing the song out

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