The latest artillery in Firmdale’s impressive portfolio is by far the grandest to date. Having already set up several boutique hotels in London, husband and wife Firmdale co-founders, Tim and Kit Kemp, have taken signature elements from their winning British hotel chain formula and installed them with gusto at Ham Yard, which is rumoured to be their last opening in London. It’s all there: the eye-catching, eclectic décor, the modern artworks and the die-hard fan favourite honesty bars. The couple’s claim that “hotels should be living things not stuffy institutions”, rings true with their latest offering.
The Firmdale Group has become a formidable force in the boutique hotel arena since launching their first property, Dorset Square Hotel, way back in 1985. Now, with nine hotels in total under their belts (in London and New York), Firmdale’s steady rise to the top is unstoppable. But what is the key to their well-deserved success and legion of loyal fans? The answer undoubtedly lies with the Kemp duo’s nonconformist, bold approach, not just in terms of aesthetics, but also when it comes to service.
Whilst the interiors, courtesy of Design Director Kit Kemp, provide plenty to catch the eye, the group’s bespoke service style ensures you’ll never pass the threshold of a Firmdale hotel and be greeted with an air of rigid impersonality. Quite the contrary — Firmdale has character by the bucket load. As A-listers and devotees will testify, if you want an intimate home from home, this quintessentially British hotel chain is probably the answer.
Ham Yard, for instance, is more than simply a boutique hotel. The three-quarter acre plot also houses 13 bespoke retail spaces (exclusively occupied by brands handpicked by the group), a pristine outdoor terrace area littered with tables of people chatting over cups of coffee and petite sharing plates, and 24 private apartments for an equally upmarket bunch. This is a mini village in the making, and a discreet yet comfortable haven just a few metres away from the manic streets of Soho.
The success is two-fold. Inside, Kit has worked her magic with signature, individually decorated guest rooms and kitsch public spaces, making it a celebration of individuality. No area is left neglected; even the elevators get a Kit Kemp makeover. Outside, the hotel seamlessly blends with its environment. The same hallmarks can be found in earlier incarnations like New York’s Cosby Street Hotel and London’s Covent Garden Hotel, but with each new edition, Firmdale pushes the envelope a little further.
Ham Yard is a true statement of what Firmdale Hotels stand for: eccentricity, style, comfort and luxury. Creating a bespoke experience is fundamental to Firmdale Hotels’ appeal, and staying at this latest edition offers a slice of their signature style in a fresh new format.
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