Ham Yard Hotel London review
Caroline Sylger Jones reviews a colourful, elegant spa hotel in W1
Part of the wondrous Firmdale Hotel group created by interior designer Kit Kemp and her partner Tim, Ham Yard Hotel is a 91 bedroomed beautifully designed and inspirationally colorful place to eat, stay and spa a two-minute walk from Piccadilly Circus tube.
The Soholistic spa offers a gorgeous white marble steam room, a relaxation area filled with intriguing artworks, and lots of decent face and body treatments using Temple Spa products. Owner Kit also offers a fragrant range of her own products, Rik Rak, named after one of her fabrics, which you can buy at the spa and which are used in the rooms (her Eucalyptus and Lavender range is especially refreshing). There’s also a gym, which has colour co-ordinated fit balls and weights – naturally.
During my stay I enjoyed numerous trips to the steam room all by myself (if you want it hot before 8 am, just call the reception and they’ll sort it for you). I also indulged in a Signature massage with Italian therapist Marilena in a warm and comforting deep red-painted treatment room. This began with a waft of Temple Spa’s Breath of Life inhalation essence through the massage bed hole and an application of cooling gel on my legs before a full body rub using Temple Spa’s Drift Away oil, which is avocado oil laced with lavender.
Marilena really got into my head, back, neck and feet tension and the 60 minutes felt longer than it was. I asked her to end with a face massage, for which she used Temple Spa’s nutritious boost facial oil. Classical music playing in the background had a soothing sound of a running stream alongside it which I found very relaxing. After I sipped a hand-infused lemongrass and ginger tea from a Wedgewood China cup graced with Kit Kemp’s unique Mythical Creatures design – later in the restaurant I enjoyed her very own peachy blend of Mythical Creatures tea.
My room 126 was large and elegant, overlooking the surprisingly peaceful Ham Yard courtyard, where a tree dotted with fairy lights each evening created a magical effect when I returned to my room. Individually designed fabrics mixing circles of blues, greens and yellows on the bedhead and the hotel’s signature manikin in one corner were contrasted by dove grey wallpaper and an all-grey marble bathroom, where interesting pictures included a fun celebration of the Ladybird guides to life. I had space to do my yoga each morning, and they provided a matt for me free of charge.
I hung out with friends in the conservatory, a wonderfully light and airy place to chat and eat, and had a meeting in the library, which is more snuggly and exclusive to guests. The huge dining room and bar sports sweeps of gloriously coloured fabrics, alcoves with interesting objets d’art and interesting paintings. Meals were brilliant – from my breakfast of avocado on rye toast with poached eggs and good coffee to a supper of amazingly comforting cauliflower cheese with a triumphant duck dish and an Irish coffee crepe brûlée. All terribly tasty and indulgent.
What’s queenly: The inspirational art everywhere, from hand-painted sofas and dramatic installation ceiling art to mixed media collages and a natty mosaic birdhouse in the fourth-floor rooftop garden.
What’s lowly: The wooden loungers in the relaxation area are super comfy and have coral drapes you can pull around you for privacy, but they’re not adjustable, so you can’t lie fully down if you’re feeling extra sleepy.