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Hotel review: Ham Yard, London

Lucy King
23 May 2015

It’s slap bang in the middle of Soho and moments from Mayfair, but with a private cinema, bowling alley and magical roof terrace, Lucy King finds this luxury big hitter hard to leave

THE LOWDOWN:
Tucked away in a corner between Piccadilly and Regent Street, Ham Yard occupies three-quarters of an acre of prime Soho real estate. And yet, thanks to its own cinema (this is no screening room, this is a two-deck theatre with big leather seats), spa, ultra-modern gym, bowling alley and beautifully put together reception rooms, once you’re ensconced in the hotel’s comforting bosom there’s little reason to venture out.

Not to be outdone, upstairs doesn’t disappoint either — each of the 91 rooms and suites has been individually designed by the talented Kit Kemp using artfully mismatched furnishings and colours. Our room is not large, but still has space for a sofa bed and desk, a huge TV and a marble-clad bathroom (complete with another TV screen over the bath, much to the delight of my eight-year-old daughter).

We start our stay off with a pre-dinner drink on the leafy roof terrace — a splendid guests-only entertaining space dotted with fruit trees, huge white sofas, raised beds of herbs and flowers, and offering spectacular views of Soho, yet none of the noise.


Dinner in the restaurant is equally as pleasant (seared tuna and scallops washed down with a glass of house rosé for me, roast chicken and new potatoes for my daughter, followed by an ice-cream cookie sandwich).

If aperitifs are in order then a jaunt to the basement is a must. Here there are two further bars (there’s also one next to the restaurant): a ‘dive’ bar with large sofas and fluorescent artwork on the walls or, if you’ve booked in advance as it’s private hire only, the hotel’s original 1950s bowling alley has its own bar where they do a mean rye cocktail.

Bowling is definitely worth considering if you’re here with a crowd; the maple bowling lanes are bespoke, retro bowling shoes are supplied, the place is lit with UV, and the skittles shine neon blue. All you need do is get a strike.

THE GOOD:
The décor — as with all Firmdale hotels, Ham Yard is a lovely place to sit and enjoy your surroundings and the lack of corporate branding is a definite bonus.

You can breakfast like a king: its one of the best to be had in London.

THE NOT SO GOOD:
On our visit, the service in the restaurant was slightly erratic.

The hotel is deceptively big and can be quite a maze — which could be good or bad depending on your mood, and inebriation level.

THE VERDICT:
A central London haven that caters to all.

BOOK IT:
Doubles from £372 including breakfast. Ham Yard, One Ham Yard,W1D 7DT (+44 20 3642 2000, firmdalehotels.com)