The Hotel Figueroa originally opened in 1926 as a hotel for single traveling women, at a time when downtown L.A. was one of America’s most glamorous destinations. But then of course came the bust. And for much of the past several decades, at least, the Figueroa operated as a grungy, seedy, quasi-Moroccan-themed residential hotel. Its derelict backyard pool attracted a mix of artists and pot-smoking hipsters who wouldn’t actually dream of renting a room upstairs. The lobby smelled of yesterday’s spilt beer and broken dreams.
New owners swooped in and bought the place in 2014. They took their time restoring it to its original Spanish-revival splendor, albeit with a distinctly contemporary urban vibe. The hotel is made up of three 13-story towers, which sit at the corner of Figueroa and Olympic, directly across the street from the Staples Center, home of the Los Angeles Lakers and most of L.A.’s biggest rock concerts.
Perhaps the single greatest thing about the redux is that the architects replaced all the old windows with double paned glass in brand-new casings, which snuffs out the unbearable cacophony that unfolds nightly on the streets below — something that the NoMad, Freehand and Ace hotels all failed to do.
The “classic suites” are essentially junior suites, and they are plenty spacious and comfortable, with all the amenities you would expect from a top-tier luxury hotel. Well, maybe not all, but most. They don’t have slippers, but the bathrobes are plush. The mini bar includes everything from condoms to small-batch tequila, which I guess go hand in hand.
Art plays a big role throughout the hotel, which serves as a gallery showcase for dozens of local artists. The grand old lobby is anchored with a terrific bar, and there’s yet another bar on the backyard patio, and another bar on the other end of the pool, and still another bar/nightclub downstairs in the basement, which thankfully can’t be heard from above.
Breakfast at Breva was a huge disappointment, while brunch at Veranda by the pool proved perfectly enjoyable.
Bottom line: Of all the vintage hotels downtown that have been given new life in recent years, this might be the best one yet. Certainly it’s the only one that bothered to replace the old windows, which counts for a lot.
Hotel Figueroa, rates from about $230. 939 S. Figueroa St., L.A., 888-801-1361