Kit Kemp’s buzzing Ham Yard Hotel in London

The latest Firmdale Hotel offers a new level of hotel-design happiness

The bar at Ham Yard Hotel, London
The bar at Ham Yard Hotel, London | Image: Simon Brown

There comes a point when a hotelier, in creating a collection of properties, starts to turn cookie-cutter: not Kit Kemp, who with her husband Tim owns and designs Firmdale Hotels and exceeded her own standards for individuality with Ham Yard Hotel(; from £336), which opened in June in LONDON. It buzzes like a beehive: the banquette-filled brasserie restaurant spills into the Soho courtyard space, which is flanked by long-stay serviced apartments and Kemp-selected boutiques (Eyewear Concierge sunglasses, Dinosaur Designs). This gives the feeling of community, not just passing trade. There are Kemp trademarks – the long zinc bar, the explosion of colour – but here the mismatched fabrics and custom-designed wallpapers take hotel-design happiness to a completely new place. A 1950s bowling alley has been reconstructed in the basement, while the movie theatre has a sound system that could take on the Cannes Film Festival.


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