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…
Welcome to the hotel california
Such a lovely place
Such a lovely face
Plenty of room at the hotel california
Any time of year, you can find it here
– The Eagles
The Hotel California in Todos Santos, Mexico may or may not be the place The Eagles sang so lovingly about on their seminal hit song bearing the hotel’s name back in 1977. Nobody knows for sure really. Despite published reports to the contrary, the urban legend connecting the tiny boutique hotel to the song many consider a rock classic persists even to this day and the claim is not without some merit.
After a recent visit, I can personally confirm that there is a mission bell that rings regularly at the Mission Church of Pilar located next to the Hotel California in Todos Santos. I can also confirm that the hotel resides on a sleepy road towards the end of what could quite easily be described as a dusty, “desert highway”. And there is no doubt that for all its quiet loveliness and unspoiled charm, the bohemian chic hotel could also quite easily become “a lonely place” in a very short period of time.
That said, I’d hardly say there was “plenty of room” at the 11-room Hotel California, nor could I say that I literally believe you could find a room at the popular hotel “any time of year” given that the town was widely considered to be a pot smokers’ paradise back in the 60‘s and 70‘s. (For the record, “colitas’ is apparently the Mexican slang word for joint…just another link between the song and the hotel that may actually be a bridge too far).
But here’s the thing…who cares? The Hotel California is a charming and funky little hotel where you can kick back and enjoy a kick-ass Margarita at the property’s La Coroneda Bar & Restaurant in the company of some folks who make the pilgrimage to the hotel because of legend and some who just enjoy a good drink and good food. It‘s also a place where you can shop for jewelry, leather goods and ceramics steps away from the hotel’s entrance or sample authentic Mexican culture just outside the hotel’s doors as I did when I came across the cutest bunch of little girls practicing a dance routine on a neighboring square on a lazy, humid afternoon.
Whether you buy into the hotel’s mythology and connection to the Eagles song or not, two things are undeniably true: It’s worth the drive from the neighboring metropolises of Los Cabos and La Paz and it is indeed a lovely place. (Oh and did I mention that nothing says welcome like a cold Margarita? Well yeah…that too).
Find out more about The Hotel California at: www.hotelcaliforniabaja.com.
MoxieQ Rating: Muy Caliente