Assuming you’ve got pockets down to your ankles, we’d recommend booking into the Ham Yard Hotel for at least a month to truly get the most out of it. Not only is it situated in Soho, the buzziest bit of the West End, itself one of the buzziest bits of London, it’s also much more than a hotel. The Ham Yard Village complex comprises (deep breath) a bar, a restaurant, a nail bar, a spa, a theatre, a bowling alley and a handful of boutiquey shops. Trying to squeeze it all into a weekend just isn’t going to happen.
The whole place is basically an unofficial art gallery, too. Pieces are dotted here and there throughout common areas, all of them playful and engaging but not so out-there that they’d spook your mum if you brought her in for afternoon tea (which you definitely should). Like the Firmdale group’s other hotels, decor is colourful, quirky and eclectic, with interior designer and Firmdale co-owner Kit Kemp’s trademark patterned fabrics everywhere. In the bedrooms, even the walls are upholstered.
Bathrooms deserve a special mention. Even if you see the wall-embedded TV - and accompanying waterproof remote - as a bit of a novelty, there’s no denying the luxury of a shower that packs the force of a fireman’s hose, or a bath almost big enough to practice your breaststroke in.
Service at the in-house restaurant is excellent, though on our visit the food was hit-and-miss. Bread was stale, while a rib-eye steak was well below the standards of the city’s top meat merchants, lacking colour on the outside and beefy juiciness on the inside.
Kitchen slip-ups aside, everything else about Ham Yard just feels special. Whether you use it as a base to discover the best of the West End or stick within its self-styled community, it’s a luxurious treat from start to finish, and one of those hotels that even long-time Londoners ought to experience at least once.
Time Out tip
For a cheap and cheerful taste of French cuisine in a stunning space created by Chris Corbin and Jeremy King, look no further than Brasserie Zedel, housed in the former iconic ’80s club venue Atlantic Bar and Grill.