FrontRunners October 2014 TRAVEL
Hamming It Up
The latest whimsical creation from London’s Firmdale Hotels opened in June in the city’s Soho neighborhood, a short walk from Piccadilly Circus. Ham Yard Hotel (www.hamyardhotel.com)—the company’s eighth property in London—is expansive by Firmdale standards, with 91 guest rooms, 24 apartments, and more than a dozen boutiques. Firmdale properties (which also include the Crosby Street Hotel in Manhattan) all feature the eccentric interiors of co-owner Kit Kemp, who at Ham Yard blends mix-and-match furnishings, antiques, and collectibles with a kaleidoscope of vibrant tapestries and wallpapers. Visitors can enjoy drinks in the Drawing Room and the guest-only Library or, for a livelier affair, in the hotel’s popular restaurant and bar. Most entertaining, however, are the amenities downstairs, which include a 176-seat theater filled with tangerine-colored leather armchairs and a1950s-era bowling alley imported from Texas.