Hotel Figueroa opened in 1926 as an exclusive women's hostelry by the Young Women’s Christian Association (Y.W.C.A.). According to a Los Angeles Times article, the hotel was "financed, built and operated by and for femininity," and served as a safe haven for women travelers. The hotel’s first general manager was the first female general manager of any hotel in the world: Maude Bouldin.
Throughout the decades, the hotel was at the center of cultural events, and continued to be a special place for women in business and social clubs, as well as a special place for art, politics, and intellectualism. Art exhibitions, musical shows, and hosted talks by world travellers were all part of the dynamic social scene at Hotel Figueroa. Political press conferences were often held in the lobby of the hotel. Community leaders gave speeches decrying racism, sexism, and other social issues. For many years, Hotel Figueroa was a center point of the Los Angeles and Downtown LA community.