London Life Places

Ham Yard Hotel

June 16, 2014

I’ve long been a fan of Firmdale’s Hotels so was excited to check out the newly opened Ham Yard Hotel in Soho.

“Hotels should be living things not stuffy institutions” maintain Tim and Kit Kemp, owners of Firmdale Hotels. They now have eight boutique hotels in London and one in New York. Kit Kemp designs all the interiors of the hotels. Her style is ‘modern English’ and although it’s not completely all to my taste, I think she and her husband do an amazing job in creating wonderful accommodation, great places to eat and relax in.

Ham Yard Hotel by far the most ambitious and probably seen as the flagship of all their hotels. There are 90 odd bedrooms and over 20 apartments, a bar, orangerie, restaurant, a screening room, spa and gym, a theatre, private event rooms, a roof top garden and a 1950’s style underground bowling alley. Phew! There are also some independent shops surrounding the courtyard.

On Friday, I took a dear friend of mine to have afternoon tea in the terrace courtyard area. The food and service was outstanding and the price very reasonable. Of course, I had my camera on me so took a little tour of the public spaces , which you’ll see are inviting, seductive and full of art and luscious interiors. I invite you to join me on my tour, where I’ve picked out the eclectic display of art, fabrics, objects, lights, textiles and furniture. Like all good interiors, a lot of thought was given to how the spaces feel and how guests interact with them.

As you walk in towards the reception, I couldn’t take my eyes of these over-sized beaded vessels turned into lamps. How effective are these?

Ham Yard Hotel - Firmdale Hotel - Colourliving

I loved this view into the library. This is a guest-only Library and like any good library, is full of stimulating and hand-selected books. Here the books are not just for show – guests are encouraged to pick them up, browse and read. I have it on good authority there are more than 2000 books on the shelves. At the far end of the library you’ll find an honesty bar that enables you to make your own drinks. Do honesty bars in big hotels really work?

Ham Yard Hotel - Firmdale Hotel - Colourliving

Ham Yard Hotel - Firmdale Hotel - Colourliving
Some details of what you’ll find in the library.

Ham Yard Hotel - Firmdale Hotel - Colourliving
Left: Loved this artefact of the Queen and her guards. By the way, a belated Happy Birthday M’am.
Right: an interesting ladder with a lampshade. Not sure what I thought of this.

Ham Yard Hotel - Firmdale Hotel - Colourliving
Detail of a low coffee table with vase and flowers. The table was stunning.

Ham Yard Hotel - Firmdale Hotel - Colourliving
I liked the light fitting against the framed art and wallpaper lining the staircase to go downstairs.

Ham Yard Hotel - Firmdale Hotel - Colourliving
A quirky art sculpture in the hallway by reception.

Ham Yard Hotel - Firmdale Hotel - Colourliving
This amazing and mesmerising 135-dial digital clock, where the hands were moving in different directions.

Ham Yard Hotel - Firmdale Hotel - Colourliving
Another great piece of art – a 3d piece of figurines in a circle.

Ham Yard Hotel - Firmdale Hotel - Colourliving
How great is this cluster of woven lights?

Ham Yard Hotel - Firmdale Hotel - Colourliving
The restaurant area has a plethora of fabrics, textiles and texture. Even the plinth are dressed in fabric, designed by Kit herself.

Ham Yard Hotel - Firmdale Hotel - Colourliving
Adjacent to the restaurant is another casual seating area, just beside the very white and serene Orangerie.

Ham Yard Hotel - Firmdale Hotel - Colourliving
Loved this small organ in the restaurant area.

Ham Yard Hotel - Firmdale Hotel - Colourliving
The drawing room. Yet another public space to chill in, have tea or while the afternoon away!

Ham Yard Hotel - Firmdale Hotel - Colourliving
Ship ahoy! You must admit this is an amazing light chandelier, as seen in the drawing room.

Ham Yard Hotel - Firmdale Hotel - Colourliving
The hotel is full of flowers, mainly bouquets, so this was refreshingly different.

Ham Yard Hotel - Firmdale Hotel - Colourliving
Left: yet more books in the drawing room. Loved this colouful seat.
Right: I have a soft spot for old writing desks. This one hits the spot.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my mini tour of this wonderful new hotel in the middle of Soho. I certainly will return to explore further, to continue to be intoxicated by art, colour, patterns and texiles. I’m looking forward to eat in the restaurant and relax in the Orangerie. I must admit I felt totally chilled by the time I left Ham Yard. I have no doubt it will become a regular haunt for me.

Have you ever visited or stayed in a Firmdale Hotel?

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  • Reply caroline @trend-daily June 16, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    Oh my goodness-a veritable colourful visual feast! I’m ashamed to say I have never been to a Firmdale. Like you-not entirely to my taste, but hurrah for stepping away from the safe interior designer beige and going for the mix and match, clash approach-I appreciate her individuality and bold approach. I’ll definitely be paying them a visit-what a fabulous place for tea and creative meetings-how could you not be inspired!! Intriguing about the bowling alley-open only to residents?? Hopping over to their site now. Thanks a million for sharing lovely xx

    • Reply tina June 19, 2014 at 12:23 pm

      Well, then you are in for a treat. Great places to hang out in for us people not seeking accomodation in London. Check them out.

      Yeah! banish the BEIGE brigade….I also admire bold approaches.
      I did love so many of the spaces there and it is a great place to have creative meetings.

      Pleasure love. Hope to see you soon xx

  • Reply Catherine@farmhousehome June 17, 2014 at 3:52 am

    Stunning, stunning, stunning. I visited The Crosby Street Hotel in Soho, New York on our recent visit which is also a Firmdale hotel and loved the interiors. It’s warmer, brighter and more interesting than your normal hotel interiors and definitely has that wow factor that make you want to stay and stay. Do you really want to make your own drinks in a hotel? I prefer to go there and be served by professional bar staff. I agree with Caroline fab place for tea and creative meetings. Just gorgeous..the hotel and your photos. xx

    • Reply tina June 19, 2014 at 12:27 pm

      Oh, good, I’d love to visit the Crosby Street in NY. Bet it’s fab.

      It felt very buzzy with so many different people hanging out in the different spaces.
      Ha. The honesty bar is a new thing. I don’t know. When I was in there someone had a soft drink. I guess it’s another talking factor:-)

      Thanks Catherine. Glad we both were inspired by the same hotel group, you in New York and me in London xx

  • Reply Igor June 17, 2014 at 9:34 am

    Wow, what an eclectic hotel full with details, colour and patterns. No wonder you felt so good in it as it is absolutely Colourliving style! I like to stay in hotels that transport you into another ‘visual dimension’ with their interior design – that rounds-up the full relaxing holiday vibe while staying in hotels.

    • Reply tina June 19, 2014 at 12:29 pm

      Hahaha. Yes, very much Colourliving style, in it’s abundance, boldness and taking risks.
      I couldn’t agree more.
      As I live in London and don’t tend to stay in hotels here I like that the new breed of hotels incorporate a outward attitude where you want to lounge, eat and drink there without using the accommodation. In the past, this was not the case. Who wants to hang out in a Hilton hotel??

  • Reply Sarah Campbell June 17, 2014 at 9:36 am

    wonderful feast – thanks!

    • Reply tina June 19, 2014 at 12:29 pm

      Thank you Sarah and pleasure!

  • Reply stephi June 17, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    What a great looking space. Kit Kemp is so visionary with her colourful and patterned interiors.
    I liked the look of the roof terrace too seen on Insideology and Liberty London Girl’s instagram feed.
    Would love to stay here.

    • Reply tina June 19, 2014 at 12:31 pm

      Hi Stephi, thank you for stopping by.
      Agreed, Kit and her husband are certainly visionaries.

      I actually went for afternoon tea in the courtyard so never made it to the roof terrace. There’s much to still explore there. Hope you get to visit!

  • Reply Mel June 18, 2014 at 2:14 am

    Next time you will need to stay and show us the rooms Tina! I like the beaded vessels in the entry and the beaded chandeliers also… I quite like stepping into places, especially bars that aren’t my taste yet make their own statement, makes life more interesting. Thanks for the tour Tina! xx

    • Reply tina June 19, 2014 at 12:33 pm

      Hahaha, yes, or do a press visit:-)

      The lighting there is amongst the best I’ve seen in ages, with a lot of wow factor and without being too OTT.
      A lot of it was to my taste but maybe, for me, they stuffed too much in. Sometimes less is more.

      Pleasure Mel xx

  • Reply Gerard @WalnutGrey June 18, 2014 at 11:12 am

    I’d say the definition of boutique hotel is long overdue a rethink. With that many rooms, this wouldn’t be a boutique hotel I’d choose to stay in. I did see a few pics yesterday on the Wallpaper* website of Ham Yard Hotel and it’s certainly an eclectic space. OK I’ll be honest… I just don’t get it. It’s such a jumble of artefacts and objects. Still the proprietors must be doing something very right as I’m guessing this place will be very popular. And the comments above all love it. Must just be me then.

    Thanks for sharing Tina, tho not one I’d be booking anytime soon 😉

    Oh and you do make me laugh… “a belated Happy Birthday M’am”!

    • Reply tina June 19, 2014 at 12:44 pm

      Ah, being on the Wallpaper website must make it more acceptable to you, right?

      What is it that you’re not getting? From what I understand Kit takes a starting point, like a painting, and then develops into a room scheme. It’s all very eclectic and a little OTT in bits but I admire the approach and the end product works.

      Of course, as you know, my design guru is Ilse Crawford and nothing will come close to her. Maybe one day Ilse will launch a hotel:-)
      Thanks Gerard x

  • Reply Doris June 18, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    I really admire Kit Kemp for the boldness in her aesthetic and use of colour. I have to say that what I really liked the most about this hotel is the inventive use of lighting. The beaded floorstanding lights, the multi coloured woven lights, the ambient lights that double as display into the alcove of a wall and who doesn’t love those ship chandeliers right? Very clever! Thanks for sharing x

    • Reply tina June 19, 2014 at 12:46 pm

      Yep, me too. I couldn’t agree more. The lighting is superb.

      I arrived at 3pm but left in the early evening so lighting had come on everywhere. The subtle changes from space to space was ingenious too.
      Thanks Doris and pleasure x

  • Reply Jenny Hurren June 18, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    Amazing place. I can see what you mean about it not being totally your own taste, and yet you still admire it. My feelings exactly. (Hi, by the way)!

    • Reply tina June 19, 2014 at 12:48 pm

      Thank you for stopping by Jenny.
      I think it’s good to question what we don’t like about a space and move out from our comfort zones.
      Kit and her husband clearly challenge people. Bravo to them!

  • Reply alisonsye June 19, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    Looks like a great place. That chandelier looks fab, and I love the little model of the queen.

    • Reply tina June 22, 2014 at 6:02 pm

      Haha. Glad you spotted the little model of the queen.
      The place is definitely worth a visit, especially for the art pieces and lighting.

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