LOS ANGELES, Calif. (FOX 11) - The iconic downtown hotel Figueroa underwent a facelift recently– but some of its most beautiful and distinctive features impress guests to this day. What also remains is the hotel’s importance in the country’s women’s movement.
The fireplaces throughout the lobby and the large skylights are relics of the past interweaved with the designs of the present.
“This hotel was built by the women of the YWCA. It was a safe haven for women to come to because back in those days women could not travel alone without a male chaperone,” said Suzanne Shumway, Director of F&B Marketing.
They needed a place to stay while in town on business, where they felt safe, respected, comfortable, and catered to.
The year was 1926 – and it was these women who used money raised from YWCA supporters, and two mortgage bonds, to finance the 409 room hotel. The hotel quickly became a mecca for business women. It still is. The tradition lives in and on the walls of hotel Figueroa.
When you walk through the lobby, art canvases most surfaces, but there are no male artists exhibited here.
“All the art on the walls is made by women,” said Shumway. “We are not just showcasing their art we are supporting them by putting their art up for purchase.”
And ladies literally run the show. Female singers and DJs provide the sound at Hotel Figueroa. They also have an all-female comedy show once a month.
And in the kitchen - it’s the ladies that make up the pastry staff led by Ashley Jacoby. They make all of the delicious sweets you can enjoy at the hotel’s multiple dining areas – including their outdoor patio.
The pool - surrounded by downtown’s concrete jungle – is a beautiful oasis. Cut across to the other side of the pool and you’ll find Rick’s – a cocktail lounge, which has the perfect view of another female artist’s work. This one is hard to miss.
“We commissioned this artist from England her name is Bella Gomez and her style is bold flowers,” said Shumway. “We have so much female art on the inside we want it to bring it on the outside as well.”
The hotel is a beacon of women’s history and that tradition continues today.