Place // Landmarks

Hotel Figueroa, top-rated hotel in DTLA featured in South Bay DIGS Magazine

Hotel Figueroa Gets A Renaissance In DTLA

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.



A Beverly Hills Home For Every Taste

Luxe Living


A Beverly Hills Mediterranean-style masterpiece crafted by noted architect Richard Robertson III and developer (and retired Grand Prix motorcycle road racer) John Kocinski is for sale in the Bird Streets for $30 million.

The only newly built home currently on the market by Robertson—best known for his work on Bel-Air’s Fleur de Lys estate—the four-bedroom residence offers 9,000 square feet of lavish living space highlighted by French limestone flooring and five wood-burning fireplaces boasting massive hand-carved mantels.

Yet other special features include an entry door surrounded by sculpted French limestone, a library, theater, 800-bottle wine cellar, and 13,498-square-foot lot boasting a manicured garden and infinity-edge pool surrounded by European flagstone.

“This home evokes a luxurious feeling,” says listing agent Lupita Rangel of United Agency Beverly Hills. “The views from the French doors in the master bedroom make you feel like you are soaring over the skyline. It really is in a different atmosphere of design.” 


9,000 SQ. FT.

Listed by Lupita Rangel of United Agency Beverly Hills

List Price
$30 million


Soaring Above


What does the lucky new owner of this posh penthouse on the top floor of the full-service Le Faubourg building get for $9.995 million? More than 5,300 square feet of chic, open living space boasting views for days via walls of French doors throughout, plus first-class amenities (including a concierge, 24-hour security, valet, gym, pool and spa).

“This is the most prestigious building in Beverly Hills,” says listing agent Jade Mills of Coldwell Banker Global Luxury. “It is an immaculate jewel in a star-studded building.”

As for the interiors, expect a grand foyer with a dramatic pyramid-shaped skylight; six bedrooms (including a spacious master retreat sporting two fireplaces, a seating area, dressing room and opulent marble bath); a formal living room with fireplace and bar; chef’s kitchen with breakfast room; and spiral staircase leading to a private rooftop deck with a fireplace and built-in barbecue.


5,385 SQ. FT.

Listed by Jade Mills of Coldwell Banker Global Luxury

List Price
$9.995 million


Resorts For All In Wine Country or Honolulu

Wine Country Residential


When the new Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa Valley opens mid-year in Calistoga, guests and residents alike can expect to find upscale accoutrements including a winery and organic on-site vineyards (with a limited collection of wines produced on-site under the direction of, and in partnership with, Thomas Rivers Brown), along with a destination restaurant showcasing local flavors, multiple pools and a spa, and a street-side tasting room and general store, just to name a few.

As for the accommodations, the property will include 85 guestrooms and 20 private residence villas adorned in farmhouse-chic decor. “We will offer a five-star experience that blends luxury home ownership with Four Seasons’ legendary service and amenities,” says GM Mehdi Eftekari.

“Residents will enjoy unique offerings, coupled with spacious modern designs and stunning views of the resort vineyard and surrounding mountains. Of the two-, three- and four-bedroom homes, two remain on the market, starting at $4.5 million.” 

Calistoga, California


Cosmopolitan Jewel


Five years in the making, the contemporary new ‘Alohilani Resort delivers unparalleled experiences in the heart of Waikiki Beach following a $125 million makeover.

“Everywhere our guests look, they are met with awe-inspiring features,” says Vann Avedisian, principal of Highgate Hotels, “from the seascape infinity pool deck, to two exclusive dining options by Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, a mesmerizing reimagined 280,000-gallon Oceanarium that houses more than 1,000 indigenous marine animals, and guest rooms that have been transformed into an airy and serene space with private lanais overlooking the Pacific.”

Formerly the Pacific Beach Hotel, the new property on fashionable Kalakaua Avenue has been transformed into a sophisticated venue that pays homage to Hawaii’s rich cultural heritage, complete with Rockwell Group-designed spaces that include pillars clad in basket-woven teak and a custom coral wall sculpture by artist Nina Helms in the reception area, as well as locally inspired surf and sand experiences. 

Honolulu, Hawaii


Privacy in the Bahamas & Community in Honolulu

Five-Star Living in the Bahamas

A boutique hotel and luxury residences are front and center at this new tourist development coming soon to the Bahamas.

Plans are now under way for Star Resort Group’s Port St. George Resort, an 882-acre mixed-use tourist development on Bahama’s Long Island that encompasses a boutique hotel and spa; 500 ocean-view condos and townhouses, as well as 15 luxury villas; modern amenities (think an 18-hole golf course, six tennis courts, a yacht club and an organic hydroponics farm); a protected 100-acre harbor with a 640-berth marina (the largest in The Bahamas); and a landmark lighthouse housing a bar and café.

“This one-of-a-kind location will provide owners and guests a unique connection to the beauty and tranquility of nature, along with comforts offered by elegant residences that include the services and amenities of a fine hotel resort,” says Star Resort Group partner Chris Cannon. “The protected harbor, along with the 4,200 feet of shoreline embraced by the turquoise waters of the area, are two of the most alluring features that come to mind.”

Long Island, Bahamas

Honolulu Highlight

The Howard Hughes Corp.’s sixth mixed-use high-rise community in its Ward Village master-planned development in Honolulu is now open for residential sales. Named Kō’ula, and situated adjacent to the newly opened Victoria Ward Park, the 41-story tower by Studio Gang features approximately 570 Yabu Pushelberg-designed studios and one- to three-bedroom units, ranging from 300 to 1,500 square feet.

Prices start in the mid-$500,00s for the homes, which are showcased by floor-to-ceiling windows and private lanai terraces, as well as access to amenities including a lap pool, spa, fitness center, dog park, and more. “The tower is uniquely situated along Victoria Ward Park, rare open greenscape steps to the ocean and Oahu’s historic Kewalo Harbor,” says Bonnie Wedemeyer, senior vice president, The Howard Hughes Corp. “Residents will experience over 1 acre of luxury resort-style amenities coupled with all the benefits and conveniences of living in a privately curated master-planned community.”

Honolulu, Hawaii


Luxury Vacations in the Caribbean & Hawaii

Caribbean Luxury

A beloved destination through the years, Malliouhana, Auberge Resorts Collection now offers even more reasons to visit. The beachside hideaway overlooking Meads Bay and Turtle Cove in Anguilla reopens in mid-December following a refresh and updates a year in the making. “We have poured our heart and soul into restoring the resort guests have come to know and love, while adding new amenities that elevate and complement this special corner of paradise,” says John Volponi, general manager and regional vice president, Auberge Resorts Collection.

Expect 11 new beachfront suites and four garden suites, along with a completely new Auberge Spa and gathering spaces. Among the highlights is a newly expanded pool deck that now extends toward the cliff’s edge to create a scenic overlook, and a new two-bedroom beachfront villa boasting Caribbean-inspired décor and a private plunge pool. Also coming: two new standout dining concepts—Bar Soleil and Café Celeste.

British West Indies

New beachfront suites and an enhanced pool area are part of recent updates at Malliouhana, Auberge Resorts Collection.


Sublime Harmony 

Haven’t visited Castle Resorts & Hotels’ hip new boutique hotel on Kauai’s famed Royal Coconut Coast? Here’s what you’ve been missing at the Kauai property called The ISO (short for Island, Sky, Ocean): a recent $5 million renovation of the former Mokihana Resort that includes the lobby, guest rooms, exterior and grounds. Expect 79 ocean-front rooms revamped with rustic-chic island decor (along with logoed canteen coffee mugs, refillable water bottles and yoga mats), as well as a new poolside fire-pit seating area and a terrace for the Bull Shed steakhouse.

Guests can also look forward to perks like yoga on the oceanfront lawn, complimentary Continental breakfast, and bikes to explore the area and 4-mile coastal trail. “The ISO offers everyone a place to rejuvenate their mind, body and soul,” says General Manager Ala Perreira. “It allows you to fall in love with taking care of yourself, reminding you to breathe, slow down and enjoy the little things.” -W.B

Kapaa, Hawaii

The ISO’s renovations include the lobby, guest rooms, exterior and grounds.

From Mountain to Shore Resorts

Season, by the Shore

With spectacular vistas of the Pacific, Hotel Casa del Mar—a jewel of the Southern California coast—blends a glamorous past as a 1920s beach club with the luxurious look and mood of a Mediterranean resort. Though a sense of classic timelessness pervades the place, the Santa Monica staple is a grand-dame gone modern, with a big dose of contemporary design from Obama White House mastermind Michael Smith, who redesigned the hotel’s lobby with a decidedly elegant brush. The space has a sense of melodrama, with a soaring ceiling and dramatic windows that open up the extraordinary scene beyond for a beautiful embrace of indoor and out. So if looking for a refuge from the stress of the holidays—breaking time to time to partake of indulgences ranging from sumptuous indoor cabanas and an exclusive spa to that oh-so-stunning setting—Hotel Casa del Mar plays up its past and its present as star of the shore.

High Desert Holidays

Opened in 1929, the Arizona Biltmore, a Waldorf Astoria Resort is a desert oasis steeped in pedigree, with the property one of only two existing hotels designed in conjunction with Frank Lloyd Wright (the other half of this collab was Chase McArthur, a draftsman from Wright’s Oak Park studio). One sees Wright’s consultation on the project in several architectural signatures, most notably the building’s iconic “Biltmore Block” façade—a variant on Wright’s textile block motif that he applied to a number of high-profile residential projects in Los Angeles: the John Storer House, Samuel Freeman House, and Ennis House. To experience living in a Wright design, the property’s Cottage offers a mix of historic accommodation, refreshed for a contemporary aesthetic, and is just one result from a $35-million resort-wide renovation. The Aztec Room is another space heavily influenced by Wright. And there’s this gift: Irving Berlin wrote his holiday anthem “White Christmas” right here.

Après Escape

Winter is peak season in Aspen, where snow falls in storybook flurries on the broad, bricked shoulders of Hotel Jerome, an Auberge Resort built in 1889 but reinvented many times since (most dramatically in 2012) to give the Aspen landmark a modern feel while preserving its historic character. This summer Hotel Jerome introduced a host of enhancements helmed by Aspen-based architecture firm Rowland + Broughton, landscape architects Design Workshop, and interior designer TAL Studio. Among these is the conversion of the structure next door: the 1,423-square-foot Aspen Times building, transformed to keep the building’s façade marquee and bulk of its original volume, but fit to operate as another social space. And just behind this building are new three-bedroom residential-style suites with views of Ajax Mountain. All this and just one cocktail at Bad Harriet—the hotel’s new sexy subterranean bar named after one of many strong women in the West—and you’ll be in the holiday spirit.



Great American Train Stations

With transportation taking a surreally futuristic turn—commercial flights to the moon, driver-less cars—the thought of rail travel offers a certain comfort once one wraps their head around the fact that for a long time in this country trains were the high-speed option. As they were instrumental to national progress, helping move the country from an agrarian society to an industrial one, full steam ahead.

The Missouri River Runner operates between St. Louis and Kansas City and is financially supported by the state of Missouri.

If trains are essential to the American story, then train stations are our most tangible connection to it. “The permanent building of a depot meant that a community had arrived,” explains Patrick Kidd of Amtrak.

“It is a link in a larger network that connects people and places” and thus merits preservation.

So in 2006, Amtrak rolled out its Great American Stations program to help educate communities on the benefits of redeveloping and rehabilitating train stations across the country.

Conceived as a clearinghouse for related information, the initiative helps communities contact Amtrak before investing significant time and money in a major station project. Amtrak offers significant support, but “gives credit where it’s due, and that’s with the communities,” says Kidd. “They are the ones driving these projects from start to finish, with Amtrak and other stakeholders providing guidance and feedback.”

Such collaboration is key to restoration projects from coast to coast, including new construction on the East Coast and in the heartland, along with restorations of historic structures, including a 1907 Prairie-style depot in Iowa; a century-old neoclassical depot in Oregon, and in Ohio, Cincinnati Union Terminal, one of the greatest Art Deco buildings in the nation, flush with the era’s architecture and interior finishes.

In Oklahoma City, another an Art Deco gem, the Santa Fe depot, underwent an extensive rehab to restore its limestone and granite exterior, terrazzo flooring, ornamental metalwork, and windows. This past summer, Union Station in Raleigh, North Carolina opened with five times the passenger space of the depot it replaced, its structure marrying the steel skeleton of a 1940s-era warehouse with contemporary design, including soaring facades of glass and sustainable green roofs. Among the communities deciding that depots were important gateways and part of their civic identities are many in California, with both historic and contemporary rail stations throughout.

Locally this includes the Mission Revival depot in San Bernardino, the recipient of a major overhaul executed to maintain the building’s historic integrity, and Los Angeles Union Station, which is in the preliminary planning stages for a substantial revitalization project with preparation for future high-speed rail service.

Norman, Okla., station.

Much like Los Angeles Union Station when it was built, train depots were usually one of the most prominent buildings in town—in their architecture and placement within the town’s urban fabric. They were beautiful embellishments to their environments that invited people of differing backgrounds to interact freely.

“One didn’t need a ticket to watch the trains from the platform, sit in the waiting room or have a cup of coffee at the depot restaurant,” says Kidd. They were, he insists, completely democratic, “the front doors of a community.” This too seems especially important to preserve. All aboard!


Perfect Getaway In Hawaii and Mexico

Crowning Touches

The Queen Kapiolani Hotel near Diamond Head has unveiled the results of its $35 million transformation. Expect an homage to Old Waikiki, complete with hallways filled with vintage and Hawaiiana prints from the Mid-century modern era; a trio of large, original art murals gracing the property’s ground level; and a second-floor gallery offering a visual journey of Hawaii through the decades via classic art, period pieces and modern installations.

Among the other updates at the 19-story getaway: 315 updated guestrooms featuring coastal color palettes, modern amenities, large new windows, vintage art murals created by local artists and individual lanais. “We are thrilled to restore the Queen Kapiolani Hotel to its former glory,” says Jeff Perkins, the hotel’s general manager, “and to share this authentic Waikiki experience with new and repeat guests.” Rates start at $126 per night. 

150 Kapahulu Ave.
Honolulu, HI 96815

A portrait of day-to-day life in Waikiki by artist Nick Kuchar; Kapiolani Park; a newly renovated guestroom.

Exclusive  Hideaway


When developer Antonio M. Dávila first discovered the Puerta Cortés area of Baja California Sur several years ago, he was mesmerized by its beauty, spectacular scenery and extraordinary amenities. Fast-forward to today, and the president of the Mexican-based asset-management firm Ascendancy is the new owner of the rebranded Puerta Cortés resort and residential destination (formerly the CostaBaja Resort & Spa).


His first order of business: a $5 million revamp, including updates to the property’s Blue Cortés Beach Club; boutique collection of hillside and oceanfront residences; and 18-hole Gary Player-designed links. Plans also call for more fine-dining restaurants. “Part of what makes Puerta Cortés so extraordinary is our authenticity and community feel,” says Dávila. “We’re perfectly positioned as the gateway to the Sea of Cortez, and in addition to our beautiful residences, we offer owners an unparalleled lifestyle with direct access to a world-class marina and the only Gary Player Signature golf course in Mexico.” 


An oceanfront communal area;
viewpoint from Puerta Cortes and the property’s Beach Club.



Near & Far | Ritz-Carlton of Oahu and Private Costa Rica Resort

Oahu’s Jewel

The ‘Ewa Tower at The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach now has a twin. Opened in mid-October, the new Diamond Tower mirrors its 38-story sister building and adds 245 more units to the resort’s 307 luxury hotel suites. Envision a Guerin Glass Architects-designed structure inspired by Hawaii’s natural elements—like facades reflecting the surrounding landscape and a modern, 3-D interpretation of a traditional Hawaiian kapa design wrapping the first three floors—plus studio and one-to-four-bedroom residences and penthouses showcasing contemporary, island-deco interiors by Jon Brent Design, complete with ocean views, kitchens, and washers and dryers. Among the new tower’s amenities and services is a spa with four treatments rooms and a relaxation lounge, plus a 2,900-square-foot infinity pool boasting private cabanas outfitted with TVs, refrigerators and day beds. Coming in early 2019: a gourmet market and pool-side dining venue.


383 Kalaimoku St. Waikiki Beach, HI 96815
The new Diamond Tower boasts an infinity-pool with private cabanas, and coming soon, a poolside grill.

Your Own Private Peninsula

Papagayo Aerial


This lush, 1,400-acre resort and residential community in northwest Costa Rica recently unveiled more upgrades as part of its $100 million communitywide transformation.

Costa Rica’s Peninsula Papagayo resort and residential community has unveiled the next phase of its $100 million-plus transformation. “This is an extraordinary destination where rich biodiversity and vivid landscapes meet the highest levels of geo-luxury across Latin America,” says Donald McGregor, senior vice president of development and managing director of the Latin America region for Gencom, the property’s developer. “With our new lineup of amenities and experiences, we are nurturing a strong and cohesive community across the 1,400 acres of this private peninsula.” Meyer Davis-designed enhancements at Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica (complete with a new concierge lounge and re-imagined spa); a new beach club at the adjacent Andaz Costa Rica Resort; and an expanded marina village. Also now online: a bike-share program featuring 60 electric bicycles, eco-adventures (including a Cacao Volcano Expedition), as well as an updated golf clubhouse and signature restaurant.


From Honolulu To Miami

Taking Shape

The Mandarin Oriental Hotel and Residences, Honolulu is helping shape the city skyline, complete with a 36-story tower offering 99 exclusive, luxury condos on the upper floors (starting at level 19). “Envisioned by a world-class design team, the bespoke collection of residences will afford privileged access to world-class amenities, combined with legendary hospitality steeped in the values of the Orient,” says James Ratkovich, managing director of Salem Partners, the project’s developer.

Situated at 1695 Kapiolani Blvd. in Waikiki’s Ala Moana District, the residences are set for completion in March 2021, with the hotel opening in May 2021. Living options include spacious and open floor plans accentuated by classic yet modern Dianna Wong-designed interiors, with each home featuring a lanai with views of the Pacific. Residents will also have access to a private amenity level replete with a pool, outdoor lounge space with cabanas and fire pits, a karaoke room and Dolby Theatre. “The catalytic building is a towering symbol of everything to come in the neighborhood,” says Ratkovich.

Miami Flair

One of Miami Beach’s historic Art Deco properties has undergone a multimillion-dollar renovation. Found in the heart of Miami Beach—oceanfront at 39th Street and Collins Avenue—the newly revamped Cadillac Hotel & Beach Club now is part of Marriott International’s Autograph Collection. “Cadillac offers modern Miami flair with European-inspired sensibilities while maintaining its authentic and genuine personality established decades ago,” says General Manager Karan Kakar. Expect a preserved Art Deco aesthetic designed by New York-based Bill Rooney Studio, including original terrazzo flooring in the lobby, as well as 357 guest rooms (including 20 suites) boasting white stone flooring punctuated by gold and smoky blue accents.

Among the perks: a Lobby Bar and two restaurants (authentic Italian trattoria Donna Mare and coastal chic Bungalow by the Sea); beachside and pool service (think a sunscreen bar and shaved ice cart); curated air, land and sea experiences; and a fitness center. Introductory rates start from $149 to $299 for stays through Nov. 30.


BDHM Design’s “Nature Meets Neon” Look and the Revamped Shoreline Hotel Waikiki

BDHM Design’s cutting-edge “Nature Meets Neon” look showcasing bold colors and Hawaii’s tropical flora and fauna now envelopes the revamped Shoreline Hotel Waikiki

Among the highlights at Filament Hospitality’s 135-room, boutique property: a colorful signature ombré wall painted by California-based artist DJ Neff at the entrance, and a reinvented open-air lobby area featuring tropical “jungle” walls, rattan cage light fixtures housing paper sculptures of native birds and geometric-shaped furnishings. An updated rooftop pool deck boasts commissioned neon wall murals, also by Neff, while tropical wallpaper, multicolored floors and fluorescent kinetic hallways lead to redesigned rooms.

“Travelers will want to visit the new Shoreline to experience our take on a unique, vibrant and contemporary hotel in the heart of Waikiki”


Also new is live music, a shave ice cart, pau hana “relax & refresh” hour and artisan markets. “Travelers will want to visit the new Shoreline to experience our take on a unique, vibrant and contemporary hotel in the heart of Waikiki,” says General Manager Alvida Surpia-Jones, adding that the hotel’s ombré wall is particularly popular with guests, a “great spot to capture a memory.”

Photographs: Adam Macchia for Shoreline

The Mandarina Resort’s Brand New Luxury Residential Development to Debut in 2020

One&Only Mandarina Resort and Residential Development Set to Debut in 2020

About an hour north of Puerto Vallarta lies land shaped by a long-dormant volcano, creating a stunning landscape boasting cliffs, a tropical beachfront jungle, sandy beaches, natural estuary and flatlands. Taking up residence amid this natural beauty is the new One&Only Mandarina resort and residential development.

“Mandarina’s positioning along the mountainous coast of Riviera Nayarit is a location unlike any other in Mexico,” says Ricardo Santa Cruz, partner at Mandarina, which is being developed by RLH Properties.

At the center of it all is one of the world’s first collections of One&Only Private Homes—55 contemporary-designed villas offering four-, five- and eight-bedroom floor plans ranging from 7,500 square feet to 13,500 square feet, with prices from $4.65 million to $10.5 million.

Set to debut in early 2020, owners will also have exclusive access to the One&Only Mandarina Resort, which features a collection of 108 luxury suites, world-class cuisine, beach clubs, wellness, and a Polo & Equestrian Club.

Photographs: (from top) courtesy of Hayes Davidson and Mandarina

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