Bob Bestler

Recent lawsuit can’t spoil the times we had at ‘Hotel California,’ real or not

In this Jan. 19, 2013 file photo, members of the Eagles, from left, Timothy B. Schmit, Don Henley, Glenn Frey and Joe Walsh of The Eagles pose with an autographed guitar after a news conference at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, in Park City, Utah. The band sued the owners a Mexican hotel on May 1, 2017, claiming it’s capitalizing off the band’s hit, “Hotel California,” even though it has nothing to do with the song.
In this Jan. 19, 2013 file photo, members of the Eagles, from left, Timothy B. Schmit, Don Henley, Glenn Frey and Joe Walsh of The Eagles pose with an autographed guitar after a news conference at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, in Park City, Utah. The band sued the owners a Mexican hotel on May 1, 2017, claiming it’s capitalizing off the band’s hit, “Hotel California,” even though it has nothing to do with the song. Invision via AP

About a dozen years ago Elaine and I and two North Myrtle Beach couples spent a week in Cabo San Lucas, still a favorite vacation spot.

At one point we had a great idea. I had read a USA Today cover story about Todos Santos, 50 miles to the north, and we decided to hire a van and driver to take us up there.

It was an interesting ride through Baja California Desert. The only life we saw was an occasional cow, nearly emaciated from the lack of greenery.

About halfway there, we saw a sign, “Art & Beer,” and a rusty oil drum with the words, “Give Peace a Chance – Lennon.”

The place was owned by an aging hippie couple and we enjoyed perhaps the best bloody Mary ever.

But I digress.

Todos Santos seemed something out of a movie about old Mexico, with dusty streets and small shops amid some very nice restaurants. It seemed to be a haven for artists, both American and Mexican.

Our primary destination, of course, was Hotel California, situated in the center of Todos Santos.

USA Today had highlighted the hotel, suggesting strongly that it was the inspiration for the great Eagles hit, “Hotel California.”

The reporter did leave some doubt, noting that no member of the Eagles had ever confirmed or denied the Todos Santos connection.

When we arrived, the bartender immediately put on the Eagles hit and we sang along.

Nor was it difficult to see the similarities between the lyrics and the place we were visiting.

We had arrived in daytime, but at night it certainly would have been “a dark desert highway” that took us to the Hotel California.

The Eagles “heard the mission bell” and just a block away was a beautiful Spanish church, complete with bell.

“They were dancing in the courtyard,: the song said, and some of us danced in the courtyard as we sang (some of us don’t do that).

And finally, “there were voices down the corridor.” We didn’t hear voices, but a bellman showed us the long corridor.

So we came away pretty much persuaded that we had seen the real deal.

Whoops.

On Monday, the Eagles filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Hotel California, claiming the hotel has falsely led guests to believe it is associated with the Eagles and that it served as inspiration for their song, which it said was untrue.

The hotel didn’t respond immediately, but its website denied that the owners promote any association with the band.

It added that visitors are mesmerized by the “coincidences” between the hotel and the song.

OK, so this is not “the” Hotel California. But it sure was a cool place.

And I’m sorry we were so darn mesmerized. Must have been “the warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air.”

Contact Bob Bestler at bestler6@tds.net.

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