Since opening in 1926 as an exclusive women’s hostelry by the YWCA, Hotel Figueroa has been at the forefront of social progress.
Throughout the years, it has been a home for intellectuals and artists—it exhibited “Women Painters of the West” in its lobby in 1933—and provided a platform for activists to give speeches denouncing racism and sexism, among other issues, especially in the 1950s. Today, the legacy lives on in the Hotel Figueroa’s current form.
Located in the South Park district of Downtown Los Angeles, near the Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) and The Broad, the hotel occupies a 13-story historic building originally designed by Stanton, Reed, and Hibbard.
In February 2018, it revealed its new face after a two-year renovation led by Rockefeller Kempel Partners Architects and boutique interior design agency Studio Collective.
Inspired by Hotel Figueroa’s original Spanish Colonial splendor and its women-centric, artistic roots, the results of the restoration begin in a grand lobby under high ceilings, where an art gallery features works by female artists.
Welcoming guests is an Alison Van Pelt painting of the hotel’s first managing director Maude Bouldin on a motorcycle. The art program celebrating L.A.’s female artists, including Whitney Hubbs, Sarah Awad, and Jesse Mockrin, is on view throughout the public and private areas.
Curvy chairs and booths invite guests to sit and relax in spaces where earthy colors are complemented with rich textiles such as velvet and suede. In the 286 rooms and suites, hardwood floors, wood beams, custom millwork, and plaster walls accompany glass, leather, and metal, while custom tiles reference Spanish architecture and colorful wallpaper reflects the city’s cultural spirit.
Thanks to a partnership with the popular L.A. institution The Last Bookstore, each one of the 23 Artist Series suites and 33 Writer Series suites comprises a collection of books by an L.A.-based author or artist. In all of the Hotel Figueroa’s carefully considered spaces, Studio Collective focused on balancing nods to the past and allusions to the contemporary creative local scene.
Renowned chef Casey Lane is at the helm of Hotel Figueroa’s two restaurants: Breva, a Basque brasserie situated inside the lobby; and Veranda, an alfresco dining venue with Mediterranean influences. Dushan Zaric—a pioneer in craft bartending—leads the libations programs at Bar Figueroa, Bar Alta and Rick’s.
In addition to the 10,000-square-feet event space, Hotel Figueroa has a surprising coffin-shaped pool on the ground floor, surrounded by fig trees, cactus, and eucalyptus, creating an oasis in the middle of the city. Honoring women and the arts, Hotel Figueroa is an ode to the buzzing cultural soul of Downtown L.A. hotelfigueroa.com
PHOTOGRAPHS: COURTESY HOTEL FIGUEROA