Hotel Figueroa: Repainting a Rich Canvas with Feminine History and a Love for Los Angeles
Even after a multi-million dollar remodel, Hotel Figueroa, a magnificent edifice built from deep roots of strength and femininity during a time where a lady wasn’t necessarily as welcome to be an independent woman as she is today, still shines with intricate and lasting grace. What was originally built in the 1920s as a YWCA and managed by one of the original feminists, Maude Bouldin, was at the time perhaps the largest business built by, run by, and for women.
Hotel Figueroa’s remarkable soul and style still stand tall within it’s newly renovated walls. Where the saying, “Out with the old, in with the new,” isn’t always necessarily the rule to live by, the intricate structure that had spent it’s last few years in a colorful, Moroccan-Themed haze, has regained it’s warm and sophisticated Spanish Colonial feel, this time with the luxuries of the twenty-first century.
“What you notice the most are the bones of the hotel, the architecture, it’s just amazing,” says General Manager, Clay Andrews. “We always meant to highlight that, the structure of the hotel. It has such great bones, it was just like a canvas and we repainted it.”
Much of the artwork adorning the walls of the hotel exudes a latent, feminine vibe, considering most of it was created by, you guessed it, a female artist. In addition, a specular corridor filled with photographs by legendary LA photographer, Estevan Oriol, captivates you with an intriguing juxtaposition of delicate, stylistic beauty and raw street culture.
“This hallway is something. I didn’t know what I was going to do, but I walked up and down maybe twenty times and all I could see was Estevan Oriol’s work in here,” says Director of Experience, Seulgi Oh, who’s been with the hotel just over two years and brings an innate sense of style to the forefront of Hotel Figueroa’s team of masterminds that run each individual part of the hotel’s operations.
With a star player at each base, you will find the well-deserved personal touches of each individual behind the new evolution of Hotel Figueroa to be apparent, but still very cohesive with its overall identity. Hotel Figueroa’s two dining spots, Mediterranean-inspired Breva and brand-spanking-new Veranda, which opened only weeks ago, are lead by Chef Casey Lane formerly of Tasting Kitchen.
“There’s a difference between rustic and lazy,” says Casey, “that’s kind of always been our motto.” “When it comes to Veranda, I wanted to mimic the food you would eat when you’re on vacation. You’re always eating the simplest food. You’re eating really well-cooked traditional foods of the location. We wanted that to be what you felt.”
Behind each bar program of the hotel is Dushan Zaric, co-founder of famed Employees Only, who brings his mentorship and personal and professional values to create an unmatched experience at every bar top within the hotel.
“I had the fortune to be involved in this whole reconstruction and remodeling of Hotel Figueroa and I was given basically the ability to create the concepts for these bars, and to actually do things the way I think they should be done.” says Zaric. “What differentiates my bars is my staff. Not only do I design the bars to be tools, but I design my bartenders to use those tools so that they can function as a human experience. That’s extraordinary.”
The reoccurring local theme keeps you from escaping too far from what is only just outside on the streets below and the culture carried beyond. For instance, classic suites each hold a selection of books by specific LA authors, and the deluxe suites hold books by LA artists. The selection of liquor in each mini-bar specifically features California-made products. The list goes on and on and the pride of The City of Angels shines through in every detail.
If you haven't explored the exquisite beauty and unmatched experiences that Hotel Figueroa has to offer, plan to head downtown for your next date night. Just look for the building with the blue leaves!
Written by Dakota Nate | Photography by GL Askew II