The Eagles want a cut of whatever an decades-old hotel called “Hotel California Baja” in Mexico is making. As Reuters reports, the band is suing the 11-room Todos Santos hotel in a Los Angeles court for “actively encourag[ing]” their patrons to think of the place as “Hotel California.”
Among the complaints in the band’s lawsuit: playing Eagles music in the hotel, and selling T-shirts that call the hotel “legendary”–seemingly because of the name’s use in the band’s 1976 mega-hit. The remaining Eagles (founding member Glenn Frey passed away in January of last year) are accusing the hotel’s owner of misleading visitors into thinking that the hotel was the inspiration for the song. (It is generally considered, by virtue of comments the band has made in interviews, to be inspired by The Beverly Hills Hotel, or to be a composite of various Los Angeles establishments).
The Baja hotel has been around since the late 1940s and was indeed called “Hotel California” originally, but it changed names and ownership during that time. The Eagles are claiming that the use of the band in the company’s advertising began under new leadership in 2001.
On the hotel’s site, the “History” section currently includes the following passage, the sole reference to the Eagles in its PR:
…one rumor, fabricated in the 1990’s by someone with no connection to any owners of the hotel, states that the Eagles once owned it. This is unequivocally false….Although the present owners of the hotel do not have any affiliation with the Eagles, nor do they promote any association, many visitors are mesmerized by the “coincidences” between the lyrics of the hit song and the physicality of the hotel and its surroundings.
The suit seeks seeks unspecified damages and a halt to any infringement.