Fans of the Firmdale chain have been awaiting Ham Yard with considerable anticipation and my wife and I finally managed to organise an overnight at the Bank Holiday weekend. It was worth the wait!
Committed enthusiasts for the smaller hotels such as Covent Garden or Charlotte Street will find a very different atmosphere and feel here due to the all-new hotel's size and consequently different vibe but they will not be disappointed to find that all of the best aspects of every Firmdale outpost remains firmly in place. Friendly, engaging and relaxed staff. Stylish, comfortable and remarkably well equipped bedrooms. Buzzy and bustling bar and restaurant. All these familiar aspects have been transferred to Ham Yard - thanks in part to many of the senior team having been moved across from the other venues - creating a comfortably familiar personality.
Perhaps the biggest similarity will be noticed by those who have stayed at Crosby Street in New York. The extra size, the larger crowds of drinkers and diners, the greater numbers of staff are all reminders of the US outpost. But there is much to keep Firmdale traditionalists happy.
Quiet, relaxed corners abound. There is still the reassuring provision of an honesty bar for a late nightcap in the resident-only library. The engaging nature of everyone from check-in to room service remains firmly Firmdale!
And the rooms couldn't belong anywhere else! They may be boasting the latest style-book look, but clearly Kit Kemp and her creative team were determined to ensure continuity - even if some of the colour and trend combinations are clearly bang up to date the rooms have that "how do you manage to put so many potentially divisive elements together and come up with a harmonious feel" Firmdale style!
For stick-in-the-muds at least the bathrooms have exactly the same look as all the other properties.
It would be wrong not to say that there are perhaps one or two initial teething troubles to be ironed out. Clearly many of the restaurant team are new to Firmdale and so some elements of service can be tightened. But the quality of the food, drink and general service is way above the price-tag! This will undoubtedly become a go-to location London's hip and trendy - deservedly so.
If you are staying, don't miss out on the fourth-floor roof terrace. It is a peaceful, green retreat from the fast pace of the public areas and I can imagine many a cocktail reception taking place in here in the time ahead.
Welcome Ham Yard - I can only imagine that the teams at Soho and Haymarket will be both envious and worried - which probably means they will work even harder to pull back their loyal clients who perhaps have been tempted by the new arrival!
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- Also Known As:
- Ham Yard Hotel London, England