HOTEL & RESTAURANT
About five years ago hoteliers Tim and Kit Kemp acquired the site for their newest and most fabulous project yet; a 3/4 acre bombed-out shell nestling – unbelievably – in a corner right by Piccadilly Circus tube and Shaftesbury Avenue. For anyone that has used this cut-through and seen the Firmdale hoardings over the past few years, it seemed like an unlikely setting for a luxury hotel but after a three year build the Ham Yard hotel has just opened its doors and it’s a stunning new addition to the centre of town. For a start there’s the restaurant and bar area which feel a lot like sister hotel Crosby Street in New York – the space is huge, colourful, buzzy and fun. Every possible surface is a visual feast – walls are covered in various gorgeous linen wallpapers (designed by Kit Kemp for Christopher Farr mostly) while chairs are upholstered in endless dazzling materials (kelim, ikat, traditional English checks, amazing African prints). There’s an interesting piece of art on almost every wall. There’s a cosy library, a gorgeous, airy conservatory with a huge stone fireplace as well as a more peaceful ‘alley’ off the restaurant where people can huddle for more private meetings. Down in the basement there’s a theatre space and screening room as well as a bowling hall complete with a wall of vintage bowling shoes and a stunning vintage bowling alley shipped in from Texas. The serene courtyard, which is punctuated by two beautiful oak trees (which have been grown for 25 years before being craned in a few weeks ago), will no doubt be a really popular spot for al fresco lunches over the summer. And on top of all this, the rooms – needless to say – are just as sumptuous with marble bathrooms (now with a new Firmdale range of toiletries), colourful upholstery and big windows with views over the wildflower planted roofs.