I spent two weeks at the Hotel Figueroa recently for work purposes. It’s located in Downtown Los Angeles just across the street from L.A. Live. I’d been walking by it quite a bit and was fascinated by the structure. Getting to spend a week inside the historic building was a fantastic adventure.
The building was originally erected in 1924 as a YWCA. It seems to have been part of a small block cultivated by women. Across the street is a venerable piece of architecture known as the Variety Arts Center built the same year by a social and political club for women. After the Depression, the YWCA was turned into a hotel, which is what it has remained to this day. Five or six years ago, the Hotel Figueroa was given the Casablanca meets Arabia theme it now languishes in. It’s absolutely beautiful and haunting at the same time. It is as if the building has managed to capture every year that has gone by and kept a piece of it like a soul gathered. Every time I stepped into the lobby, I felt as if I was walking through a mist or veil into a unique convergence of moments – some rooted in the present and some decades old.
I started to get the feeling the hotel might have something of a pulse after a comment someone made to me. Some of the people I was working with had traveled from out of town and were staying as guests. One of them mentioned that he had a hard time sleeping because he felt unsettled. I took note in the back of my mind as he wasn’t the kind of person I’d expect to believe in ghosts or haunted buildings.
On the third day of meetings, I noticed that the elevators in the lobby moved completely on their own. It was fascinating. There was also no discernible pattern to blame on electronics. It was as if there were invisible guests traveling up and down between floors. I had never seen anything so blatant in all my haunted experiences. With a little research, I discovered that others had come to the same conclusion.
I have yet to be inside the hotel after dark. That’s an adventure I am saving for a later date when I am able to visit for pleasure rather than business. I can’t wait to see what antics the restless building will unleash once the sun has set.