Uno Thimansson is the owner of the Figueroa Hotel, a beautiful and lush oasis in downtown Los Angeles. He is also our favorite person on Tripadvisor.
For the uninitiated, Tripadvisor is a popular travel site whose primary function allows users to post reviews of hotels. We love Tripadvisor. We visit their site more than we do our closest relatives. It’s a great resource to peek behind the marketing of any given property. But because reviews are often critical, Tripadvisor also allows hotel representatives a chance to respond. Most responses are witless corporate bromides that thank the reviewer for their feedback and sneak in a positive aspect about their hotel. They are professional, sanitized and banal.
Thank god for Uno (pronounced YOO-no). His uncensored and cheeky responses read like the hotel version of Sh*t My Dad Says. He is alternatively wacky, indignant, gracious, forthright and risque. His candor and playfulness must make other hotel GMs giddy with jealousy. He will casually proclaim that there are better hotels down the street and superior food around the corner. And despite his admission that Tripadvisor is graying him, he is obviously having fun with it.
When a reviewer stated, “at the time of my stay the pool was too cold to use,” Uno responded thusly:
The jacuzzi next to the pool is really hot. Pretend you are in Sweden,the jacuzzi is the sauna, the pool is the snow ..only thing missing is a Swedish vixen, whipping you with a birch..Anita Ekberg died.
Okay, one: There are so many reasons the guy at the JW Marriott can’t write that. And two: What?!
But lest you think it’s just a lark, Uno clearly takes great pride in what is his labor of love. As well he should. The Figueroa Hotel is a special place. Stepping through the entrance into the grand lobby, you are instantly transported to a 1930s Hollywood stage set of some windswept Saharan epic. Antique treasures from Morocco, India, Turkey, and Mexico blanket every surface and furnish a rich atmosphere that rivals the historical rooms at the Louvre. It’s part Indiana Jones museum, part Rick’s Cafe, and just a tad Overlook Hotel. Housed in a 1925 YWCA building, it exudes a historic and hallowed feel.
Sunset magazine could publish an entire issue on the back garden alone.
But unlike modern hotel chains, The Fig eschews current luxuries such as flat-screen TVs — and coffee makers — for real soul and character. It is at once magnificent yet humble. But not everyone appreciates that. And they’re quick to point it out on Tripadvisor.
So without further ado, we present some of our favorite Uno quips below (published verbatim: typos, odd punctuation and all). We also intend to make this an ongoing series titled “Uno vs. Tripadvisor” where we’ll occasionally publish a favorite exchange to our site.
“front desk staff […] rarely cracked a smile”
A previous review mentioned about the lack of smiles at the front desk. These ladies have been here forever,,a couple of them are above 50.
I found the solution..every morning before their shift I give them a shot of Patrone Tequila..it has worked wonders..now they are smiling almost too much..so that takes care of that..thank you again..
“…a somewhat clueless staff…”
Clueless..the staff remembers you because you were so devastatingly handsome but had some difficulty understanding you due to your Boston accent. So basically you intimidated them. […] The girls at the desk have been with me for many years, speak English and Spanish and are genuinely nice, none of them beauties exactly but efficient and honest.
“The jacuzzi was a treat in the midst of a great collection of plants and the pool area is perfectly situated.”
Yes it is Paradise out there in the garden..we feed the sparrows scrambled eggs in the morning and Tiger the feral cat two meals per day….I actually have a cognac with him every evening,, at some stage I might even have a shot in the morning..
“The city traffic sounds that came through the old, single pane windows didn’t keep me awake. If you think that will bother you bring some earplugs.”
What if we provided complimentary ear plugs upon request? Could also be helpful if one is traveling with a nagging partner..
We are surrounded by the Ritz Carlton, JW Marriott and Luxe.We are the cheapest and rightly so..they are much much better..but as somebody said ” We are a redhead in a sea of blondes” personally I am graying..Trip Advisor is getting to me.
I am thinking of turning this hotel into a place for feral cats, They can’t be worse than some guests that we in the hotel industry have to put up with.in today’s environment. I am old and miss the old days when people had manners.
Frankly I was prepared to stop answering Trip Advisor until I spoke to a nice gentleman from a hotel named the O who said he enjoyed my responses. Can’t let him down. By the way O is a real jewel ..one of my favorites.
More photos of the amazing Hotel Figueroa can be found here. Oh, and why no pictures of Uno? When we informed him of our upcoming post, he replied: “I hope you’re not planning to take any pictures of me. When you get to be a certain age, it just stops being flattering.”