HAM YARD LONDON HOTEL REVIEW
AN URBAN VILLAGE IN THE HEART OF LONDON’S SOHO
Firmdale Hotels opened its eighth London property, Ham Yard Hotel in the summer of this year and we couldn’t wait to take a look. Set on a three-quarter acre site in the heart of bustling Soho, a couple of blocks from Mayfair, the hotel revolves around a unique tree filled pedestrian thoroughfare connecting Great Windmill Street to Denman Street, opening up historic Ham Yard and Denman Place to the public for the first time since the 1960s.
'Its centrepiece is a specially commissioned large scale bronze sculpture by Tony Cragg right outside the front door'
Tim and Kit Kemp, owners of Firmdale Hotels’, have designed Ham Yard Hotel with a distinctly urban village feel. Alongside the hotel’s 91 individually designed bedrooms and suites there are 24 residential apartments, a collection of 13 individual specialist stores and an airy restaurant and bar with outdoor dining and drinking.
Interiors are beautifully designed by Kit Kemp in her award-winning luxurious, modern British style for which her innovative, exciting mix of colour, pattern, texture and art is world renowned. As well as a sumptuous drawing room, library and orangery, the hotel plays host to Firmdale’s first Soholistic Spa with a fully equipped gym, including a hypoxic chamber for altitude training.
There is a 190 seat, state-of-the art theatre, several spacious private dining and event rooms and an original 1950s bowling alley imported from Texas, complete with bar, lounge and dance floor. To top it off, there is a leafy rooftop garden with sweeping views across the London skyline.
Comfort is always key in a Firmdale bedroom – large, elegant headboards in exciting prints provide a great contrast to beds dressed in crisp white linen, teamed with full-length curtains, some shutters, sofas, chairs and rugs in a mélange of colour and pattern. Walls are fabric-covered to create another layer of warmth and tactility, many of the rooms drawing in the green from the oak trees outside. Keen attention to detail makes each room a pleasure to stay in.
We were particularly impressed with the comfort and thickness of the bed's mattress – we’ve never seen one so big! Kit Kemp has also created a bespoke bath product collection entitled Rik Rak. It is the hotel group’s new and exclusive in-room amenity, which brings a fresh and new retail range to the international market. The pillow spray is amazing and will ensure you drift off into a deep sleep – we certainly did!
The Croc Bowling Alley
Back-lit bowling balls, vintage bowling shoes and bowling pin lamps sit alongside two large scale Howard Hodgkin artworks at the Croc Bowling Alley. The silver baby grand piano and South African made sofas give a lounge feel. This area has been given a vivid rock’n’roll kick with neon signs, including a diving Jantzen swimmer, dramatically oversized Rick Rack wallpaper, a specially commissioned 30ft tall orange squeezer and a collection of retro bowling shoes, bought from around the world, showcased in perspex boxes. Zinc-topped bars, wing chairs covered in brightly coloured Hainsworth wools, and a baby grand piano complete the party picture.
Ham Yard Restaurant
The Ham Yard restaurant offers all-day dining from a frequently changing menu, revolving around the freshest seasonal ingredients and showcasing the best of British produce. Our waitress was fun and bubbly with positive energy, perfect for this setting. Group Executive Head Chef Robin Read has created a menu focused around simple dishes with fresh, clean flavours, using techniques from around the world. The breakfast menu gives guests the opportunity to create and combine. Dishes include chilli beans on toast and house-glazed smoked ham with eggy bread, not forgetting the Breakfast Martini.
For lunch and dinner, starters include seared scallops with tempura courgette flower; glazed candy beets with goat’s curd, mustard, orange and walnuts, and ham hock, dandelion and parsley salad. These are complemented by a choice of hand rolled pastas; fish dishes such as sea trout with samphire and mussels, and a selection of hearty dishes from Aberdeenshire sirloin to crispy duck. Desserts include blueberry meringue with lemon curd and poached lemon segments; coffee brûlée with cinnamon doughnuts, and cherry pie.