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Six pictures of six London hotels. Which one is the odd one out? Your time starts…. now.
Having shown you around the public spaces at Firmdale Hotels’ new flagship Ham Yard Hotel, we’ll take the elevator up and peek inside a few of the 91 bedrooms and suites, all of which come with very individual, but very Kit Kemp, design.
As you make your way to your room, you’ll notice how the hotel twists and turns to fit in with the existing buildings around it. Hallways share the French wallpaper of flowerless plants that we saw at Dorset Square Hotel a few years ago.
Rooms range from entry-level Superior to Deluxe, with Suites continuing on from Luxury Junior to Terrace Suites. The above shot is from one of a small number of apartments that are also available. All rooms have the lovely floor-to-ceiling warehouse-style windows that led light flood in.
True to its word, Firmdale Hotels opened its new Ham Yard Hotel yesterday, and just 24 hours later we stepped through the front door to get a closer look at the group’s latest London – and overall flagship – hotel.
We’re still digesting everything we saw mere hours ago, from a number of the 91 bedrooms and suites to Ham Yard restaurant, the screening room and the pretty awesome underground bowling alley. We’ll start with a tour of the public spaces, which, like the entire hotel, are filled to the brim with Kit Kemp’s eclectic collection of art, objets, fabrics, patterns, and furniture.
Main access to the hotel is just off of Great Windmill Street, which indeed has a small driveway for cars and taxis to pull up to the front entrance. We love that a bit of green was introduced to this tightly packed area, with the courtyard being surprisingly quiet given that Piccadilly Circus’ neon extravaganza is just a block away.
Firmdale Hotels is so close to being ready to let us into its new flagship Ham Yard Hotel that the British Union Jack has already been raised above the entrance, in the quiet courtyard a block behind much less quiet Piccadilly Circus.
Having just walked by the hotel, things really are looking good for opening on June 1: we spotted some seating already out next to the entrance, as well as a glimpse of the Tony Cragg bronze sculpture that will be just in front (head over to Facebook to see more photos).
When we walked past Ham Yard Hotel last week, we could spot furniture behind the large factory-style windows, signalling Firmdale’s future flagship is making good progress. From the fabric on the chairs to the bold patterned curtains, there was no mistaking Kit Kemp’s style even from a distance, and now we have a whole set of images to back that up.
They come alongside a planned opening on June 1, which means we’re in the homestretch until the time we can check out the 91 bedrooms and suites, eat in the restaurant, drink at the bar, and knock over some pins in that bowling alley. Images show a number of different designs: from bold blue / yellow / white and a rich chocolate brown with gold and cream (above), to vibrant pink and purple and a more subdued grey (below). Reservations have also opened.
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London has had a few big years in hotels, including our best opening for 2013, but the next twelve months should give us plenty to pore over too. Just like the five worldwide openings we lifted out of our Master List of Worldwide Hotel Openings, here are 6 London hotels you should keep an eye out for this year.
Firmdale's Ham Yard Hotel : we’ve been taking pictures for a long time of the construction site, but this year should really be the year when Firmdale adds a new flagship to its quirky collection of individually Kit Kemp-styled hotels. Located just off of Piccadilly Circus with 90 rooms and suites and a whole range of amenities (bowling alley anyone?), the hotel will complete a piece of the puzzle in this revamped area between Regent Street and Soho. Recruitment has started, and based on the website, we think it will actually be called the Ham Yard Hotel when it opens in May.
We may have had to scrap it from our list of 2013 openings (it’ll be mid next year probably), but at least Firmdale Hotels’ future flagship in London is making some good progress. Construction has been going on for nearly three years now, and we can just about start to make out how the hotel is coming together.
Like a missing piece of the city’s puzzle, the building twists and turns on an irregularly-shaped plot right behind Piccadilly Circus that was vacant for four decades. Looking at the site from Great Windmill Street, we suspect there will be a (partial) pedestrian zone (above) cutting through to Sherwood Street, very nearly joining the one between Café Royal and Whole Foods.
We've not said much about the new hotel currently underway at 414 West 15th Street, across the street from the Chelsea Market, because the project itself has been fairly hush-hush -- and seems to be taking a while to get moving.
Architecture and design firm Stonehill & Taylor, at their website, are calling it only the Greenwich Village Hotel and state that the project was "created in partnership with one of the world’s most renowned hotel operators, (and) the details of the project are confidential". Oooh.
Even so, it's been a while since anyone has mentioned the project, so we went down to the West Village to take a peek. What we found (basically a big hole in the ground) didn't look too encouraging for a hotel that's been in development for a couple of years.
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Kemp states that the new 90-room property will be "all-new build similar in style to Crosby Street Hotel, with the large, warehouse-style windows rising to 15 stories". Some suites will have private terraces and facilities will include another screening room (there's already one at Crosby Street.)
We've loved the Crosby Street Hotel pretty much since it first opened back in 2010 so when we heard that London-based Firmdale Hotels was working on a second hotel for New York City, we got crazy excited.
Detes are scant but we do know that the hotel is already under construction at 20 West 56th Street, just off Fifth Avenue and just a few blocks from Central Park, not to mention Bergdorf Goodman, FAO Schwartz and The Plaza.
The Real Deal reported on hoteliers Kit and Tim Kemp's lease signing for the property back in February yet we're still waiting on more details about the rooms (how many?), the amenities (will there be an uptown screening room and film club?) and most importantly, the opening date (late 2014?)
However big or small the hotel will be, no doubt Kit Kemp will use her signature accents of "bold colours and textures" to do up the guest rooms. Embrace tasteful floral patterns, Midtown! The hotel, like all other Firmdale hotels, will also have its own logo. For example, Crosby Street features a girl in purple boots walking her dog. With Central Park so close by, the new hotel should have no problem drawing from it for inspiration. Perhaps something to do with The Pond?
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Will this be the Hudson London?
If you thought London would be taking a break when it comes to hotel openings after a rather frenetic Olympic year, think again: the next few years look to be filled with all sorts of exciting stuff to keep us happy. We’re listing the hotels we have our eyes on for you below, and stay tuned as we will be taking you inside when we can.
- A rebirth rather than a brand new hotel, the former St. John Hotel became One Leicester Street on May 1, including a refurbished restaurant and outdoor terrace
- Over in King’s Cross, the Great Northern Hotel also got a new a lease on life as part of the revitalization of the entire station, with sleeper compartment-inspired rooms called Couchettes
- South Kensington got a new boutique hotel contender this month in the form of the 99-room Xenia Hotel on Cromwell Road, not far from the Ampersand we showed you last year
- Affordable-chic brand base2stay is re-branding itself as Nadler Hotels, and its flagship The Nadler Soho will open on June 1, a stone’s throw from the likes of Dean Street Townhouse and Firmdale’s the Soho Hotel
- This isn't really a new hotel but it is newsworthy--The Waldorf-Astoria Syon Park has now been downgraded to just the Hilton London Syon Park. A Hilton Worldwide spokesperson told Business Insider that, "Having operated the property since March 2011, we've mutually agreed with our owner that the new positioning will be the best fit for the local market."
Last week, we promised you a closer look at Dorset Square, the newest of Firmdale Hotels. How would the return of Tim and Kit Kemp to this property after a decade of absence (they previously owned the hotel) stack up against the group's perennially popular Covent Garden and Soho Hotels?
Like we said, we're pretty confident that fans of Kit Kemp's style will feel at home here. If you prefer your hotel to be a stark vision of white-on-white and concrete floors, or need facilities like a spa or fitness centre, go elsewhere, but for a modern British townhouse with a twist, Dorset Square might be just the address.