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Tuesday, 20 February, 2001, 12:23 GMT
'Hotel California' for sale
The Eagles - Hotel California cover
The album's cover caught fans' imagination
A Mexican hotel which is rumoured to be the inspiration behind The Eagles' hit song Hotel California is up for sale for $1m.

The Hotel California, in the Pacific coastal village of Todos Santos, has been owned by Ray Di Genaro since 1986.

Then it was a broken-down hostel with a hippy clientele, and locals said that Eagles drummer Don Henley, who co-wrote the track, made the hotel his retreat in the mid-1970s.

Di Genaro, who came to Todos Santos from California, said: "When we purchased it we were told by some of the locals that this was the hotel that The Eagles sang about.

We never really promoted it as such but the legend was there and it just grew

Hotel owner Ray Di Genaro
"It fits the description of the hotel in the song, you know, desert highway and church close by.

"We never really promoted it as such but the legend was there and it just grew."

Fans' curiosity

But the band deny they ever set foot in the hotel, and insist they song was about surrealism and not property.

Instead, they say the 1976 track reflects the cocaine-fuelled Los Angeles rock scene of the time.

But the album's cover - a silhouette of a hotel at sunset surrounded by palm trees - has fuelled fans' curiosity.

"If the images on the cover represent a Hotel California, we created them," said photographer David Alexander, who took the famous shots of the Beverly Hills Hotel.

"They're not even anything anyone can see. Very few people who even know the Beverly Hills Hotel knew that it was the Beverly Hills Hotel. We were in the business of creating fantasies, and that's what it is."

But it won't stop fans wanting to believe that the hotel in Todos Santos is the real Hotel California, according to US rock critic Anthony de Curtis.

'Tourist attraction'

"There's a clear desire to ground the Hotel California in a specific location, whatever its metaphoric implications might be," he said.

There's a sense that you should visit it - it's unsatisfying to just exist as an idea

Critic Anthony de Curtis
"There's a sense that you should visit it, and that it should somehow become a tourist attraction. It's unsatisfying to just exist as an idea - it has to be a place you can bring the family to."

David Alexander agrees: "The images and the music take you on a trip and if it works it works, and if people go along for the ride, it's not a bad thing necessarily."


The Eagles formed in 1972, four years before the single Hotel California became a US number one.

The group disbanded in 1980, with leading members Glenn Frey and Don Henley embarking on competing solo careers.

But they reformed for a lucrative comeback tour in 1994, and Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 album is the biggest selling ever in the US.

See also:

18 May 00 | Entertainment
Eagles sue California restaurant
07 Dec 98 | Entertainment
Eagles fly high in Radio 2 chart
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