As hotel locations go, you’ll be pushed to find a better one than the Ham Yard Hotel. In the space of just 60 seconds I’ve successfully meandered my way through Piccadilly Circus, up the iconic Shaftesbury Avenue, and into the elegant surrounds of the Ham Yard Hotel lobby. So this is what it feels like, I think, to live the high life.
So, at this point, I’ll come clean. I’m not actually staying in one of the rooms – and, at £310 a night, it’s unlikely I’ll be able to for the foreseeable future. However, their lovely Public Relations Executive agreed to give me a tour of the hotel, which recently opened back in June.
Tucked away in a buzzing courtyard behind Piccadilly circus, the hotel is just a hop, skip and a jump away from Soho and Covent Garden. And, in my opinion, you couldn’t ask for a prettier place in London to stay.
The previously neglected three-quarter acre space in one of London’s hottest postcodes has now been turned into a lively yard, kitted out with a hotel, bar, restaurants, a theatre and a shop. Designed by husband and wife duo Tim and Kit Kemp, the hotel has a distinctly urban village feel, making you feel like you’re in your own little town.
It’s plain to see that care and attention has gone into styling the hotel itself. The lower floor of the hotel is deliberately laid out so as to allow guests to see from one room straight down until the other. At one end sits the restaurant and bar, a vibrant space open to the public all week, while at the other is the peaceful haven of the hotel’s library, a room only accessible by hotel guests. Despite overlooking the courtyard, the library has an incredibly restful vibe, with guests able to snuggle up in one of the armchairs with a good book, or retreat to their room with their new-found literary adventure.
I just love the eccentricity of the mismatched patterns, the juxtaposition of contemporary art against the more rustic furniture, and the sweeping view from one end of the suite to the other. It’s a perfect little space for families.
One of my favourite things about the hotel, is that you really feel like every inch, nook and cranny has been lovingly cared for. From the wallpaper in the corridor, to the prints found in the lift, the hotel’s decor is a real treat for the eyes. Kit Kemp’s beautiful designs, wallpaper and fabric cover everything. You would think such a mish-mash of designs wouldn’t work altogether, but they really play off each other.
As with most things, it’s the little touches really bring the whole hotel together. If you stop by for afternoon tea, chances are you’ll be served a hot beverage in an exclusively printed Wedgwood china cup. In the restaurant area, huge, concrete mirrors from India hang on the most reinforced wall in the whole building, while a wacky clock spells out the time every few minutes for those waiting for lifts (although it does make your eyes go funny…)
Every last fixture has been well thought out – including the lights. My favourites were these stunning chandelier-style ships, and these woven shades made from recycled bottles, giving the space a multicultural vibe.But the hotel is more than just a place for guests to rest their weary heads. Up on the 4th floor you’ll find a lounge area, with water fountain, apple trees and sun loungers – plus its very own allotment where vegetables are grown and used by the restaurant’s chefs in meals.
And in the depths of the hotel, you’ll even find an original 1950s bowling alley imported all the way from Texas. Sadly, I didn’t get a chance to look round as it was in use, but from the pictures it appears to be just as wonderfully eccentric as the rest of the building.
I didn’t think it was possible to be so in love with a place I’ve only visited once. I lost count of the number of times the word ‘WOW’ escaped from my mouth every time we entered a different room, lift or outside space. With so much to see, my eyes were constantly hungry for more. A whole week probably wouldn’t be enough to see everything – but, if I had the money, the stylish and eccentrically English Ham Yard hotel would definitely be my first choice of London accommodation.
Many thanks to Firmdale Hotels for showing me round. As always, opinions are my own.
What do you think of The Ham Yard Hotel?