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The Eagles Are Suing the Owners of a ‘Hotel California’

Robin Marchant, Getty Images
Robin Marchant, Getty Images

Once again, the Eagles are going to court over what they are saying is an infringement upon their trademarks. They’ve filed a lawsuit in a U.S. District Court against the Todos Santos hotel in Baja California Sur, Mexico, whom they claim are billing the property as the “Hotel California” without permission from the band.

Reuters reports that the Todos Santos, which opened as the Hotel California in 1950 and went through a number of name changes until the current owners restored the name in 2001, have been marketing their property as if to suggest the band is connected to it. This includes playing Eagles songs over the PA system, selling t-shirts that call the hotel “legendary” — as if to suggest that it was the inspiration for the song — and a website URL of hotelcaliforniabaja.com. It is unknown what their checkout time is or the quality of their wine list.

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 and that there has been some confusion among former guests in online reviews.

Indeed, 23 of the 593 reviews of the hotel on TripAdvisor have the phrase “Eagles song.” This ranges from people saying that it’s the inspiration for the song to others who disagree.

Despite the use of the Beverly Hills Hotel for the album‘s famous cover, 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,” he said.

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