Hotel California Chords

Hotel California Chords: How to Play this Classic Song

Hotel California by The Eagles is one of the most iconic songs in American history. Learning how to play Hotel California chords is a rite of passage for any musician.

In this article, we will teach you how to play hotel California on the guitar.

We will also discuss some of the song’s history and its place in popular culture. So buckle up!

Welcome to the Hotel…

The Eagles’ Hotel California is one of the most iconic and well-loved songs in American music history.

Released in 1977, the song has become a staple of classic rock radio stations across the country.

This song is a six-minute (plus) masterpiece that tells the story of a person who checks into a hotel called “The Hotel California” but never leaves.


Hotel California Composition

Hotel California was written by Don Felder, Glenn Frey, and Don Henley.

The demo of the instrumental was developed by Don Felder in a rented house on Malibu Beach.

He recorded the basic tracks with an old rhythm ace drum machine and added 12 string guitar, mixing it all together through his spare bedroom four-track deck to make sure that everything sounded perfect before giving both Don Henly and Glenn Frey a copy.

Henley was especially impressed with the sound due to its Latin and reggae music.

Is Hotel California easy to play on guitar?

The Hotel California chords are not too difficult to play.

If you know your basic guitar chords, then playing Hotel California should be manageable for you.

What makes the Hotel California guitar parts challenging is that the song has a long introduction and is six minutes in length.

We will not be focusing on the solo in this post as this is strictly pertaining to the chords of the song.

Is Hotel California played with a capo?

Hotel California is played with a capo on the second fret.

A capo shortens the length of strings and raises the pitch. This helps to accommodate for a player’s vocal range or an easier chord pattern.

Hotel California Chords

Let’s start with what chords are used before we brerak the Hotel California chords down.

Remember this is with a capo on the 2nd fret.


For the intro, we are going to play the above chords twice.

Again the progression is: Am, E7, G, D, F, C, Dm


Am                         E7
On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
G                      D
Warm smell of colitas rising up through the air
F                          C
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
Am                               E7
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
F                          C
Then she lit up a candle, and she showed me the way
There were voices down the corridor,
I thought I heard them say...


F                          C
Welcome to the Hotel California.
       E7                                          Am
Such a lovely place, (such a lovely place), such a lovely face
F                               C
Plenty of room at the Hotel California
    Dm                                       E7
Any time of year, (any time of year) You can find it here

Verse 2

Am                            E7
Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, She got the Mercedes bends
G                                    D
She got a lot of pretty pretty boys   she calls friends
F                                   C
How they danced in the courtyard, sweet summer sweat
Dm                       E7
Some dance to remember, some dance to forget
Am                           E7
So I called up the captain; Please bring me my wine (he said)
G                                     D
We haven't had that spirit here since 1969
F                                         C
and still those voices are calling from far away
Wake you up in the middle of the night
Just to hear them say...

Chorus 2

F                         C
Welcome to the Hotel California.
       E7                                          Am
Such a lovely place, (such a lovely place), such a lovely face
        F                             C
They're livin' it up at the Hotel California
       Dm                                               E7
What a nice surprise, (what a nice surprise) Bring your alibis

Verse 3

Am                        E7
Mirrors on the ceiling; the pink champagne on ice (and she said)
G                                D
We are all just prisoners here, of our own device
F                              C
and in the master's chambers, they gathered for the feast
They stab it with their steely knives but they
just can't kill the beast
Am                             E7
Last thing I remember, I was running for the door
G                                       D
  I had to find the passage back to the place I was before
F                                   C
"Relax" said the night man; we are programmed to receive
  You can check out any time you like
 But you can never leave...

Outro Solo

Similar to the intro, the chords for the outro/solo are Am, E7, G, D, F, C, Dm.

Final Thoughts

The Hotel California chord pattern may seem overwhelming at first. Playing the chords will become second nature to you once you get used to them and practice regularily.

If you are new playing with a capo on your guitar, don’t worry as it will be an invaluable tool to learn Hotel California and other classic songs.

Capos are a great way to transpose songs so you can play them in different keys without having to adjust your chord shapes.

We recommend starting out slowly and learning each Hotel California chord individually before moving on to playing them together in sequence.

This playing method should help ease any frustrations that might arise when trying to learn Hotel California guitar!

If you want to learn more about playing chords, check out our resources right here: Guitar Exclusive Resources.

We thank you for taking the time to read this article.

If you would like to learn the chords of a specific song, then drop a comment below.

Thank you again and remember to always HAVE FUN!

Frank DeMaria
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