Most London hotels can’t claim to have a bowling alley in the basement. But then Ham Yard isn’t most hotels. The new address, opened in June 2014, also features a 176-seat cinema with Dolby surround sound, a spa with its own Hypoxic Studio for high-altitude training, a roof terrace with a full vegetable garden, and a karaoke bar curated by Lucky Voice. Ham Yard is the eighth opening for Firmdale Hotels, the chain run by husband-and-wife team Tim and Kit Kemp. Tim brings business brains to the partnership, while Kit handles the interior design. It’s this aspect for which the brand is best known, and Ham Yard is the most exuberant of Kit’s colorful creations. Kit has filled the space with her trademark mismatched fabrics and art works sourced from the likes of Shilo Engelbrecht. Curious touches, such a light installations from cult-creator Gods Own Junkyard, lend the hotel an idiosyncratic edge. The unusual name derives from the Soho square in which the hotel stands. Ham Yard's emergence has not only created London’s hottest new opening, but also a courtyard space where locals come to sit and linger at the hotel’s partner shops, including Brazilian beachwear brand Frescobol Carioca and a Press London juice bar.
Have you been here? Share a tip or a photo with fellow travelers.
London’s former red-light district, Soho, is now a hub for the creative industries. Serving the rows of production and graphic design companies are affordable restaurants and edgy bars such as House of Ho, Polpo, and the drinking den Basement Sate. The British capital’s gay scene also converges here—try Green Carnation for camp-as-you-like, piano-led sing-alongs. The Curzon Cinema is a must for film buffs, while theater lovers are spoiled by the surrounding stages of the West End.
Need to Know
Rooms: 91 rooms and suites, plus 24 apartments for long-term stays. From $500. Check-in: 2 p.m.; check-out: 11 a.m. Dining options: Ham Yard Bar & Restaurant takes up a large part of the ground-floor space, extending out in summer to the tree-shaded outdoor courtyard. Food ranges from snack-style sliders and grilled octopus to light, healthy, à-la-carte offerings of gnocchi with beans and baby spinach. Spa and gym details: The hotel features Soholistic, the first full-service spa for Firmdale. It has three treatment rooms, a beach-style chill-out area, and a 24-hour gym.
Who's it for: Creative types, in town to do business amid the film production companies of surrounding Soho. Guests have included Samuel L Jackson, Idris Elba, and Keira Knightley. Our favorite rooms: Number 117 is a Junior Suite whose green color scheme reflects its leafy courtyard views. We also like 405 for its steel-framed windows looking out at jumbled Victorian buildings. The Terrace Suite, number 502, has the best balcony. For work events: Ham Yard has business facilities to get creative minds thinking. Rent the cinema and you get the adjoining Dive Bar included. The three meeting rooms also laugh in the face of traditional office space.