Hotel California is a song about a mental institution up north on the way to Santa Barbara. Henley apparently spent some time there and the lyrics were based on his attempts to get better ("you can check out any time you want...but you can never leave").
Actually that institution has been made into a college...Channel Islands or something a former co-worker of mine told me this.
It's about drug addiction and is a critique of L.A. culture in the 70's.
On the surface, the song is a tale of a weary traveler who becomes trapped in a nightmarish hotel that at first appeared tempting; as a metaphor the song may be commenting on drug addiction or simply the decadent lifestyle the hugely successful band had been caught up in.
soo... yeah. drugs. "decadent lifestyle," in the '70s, in california, if you're a really popular rock band, basically means drugs and groupies who do drugs and parties with club drugs.
But I always viewed as a song about drug addiction, cause I wasn't alive in California in the '70s, but I know drug addicts, and the whole "you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave."