THE FIRMDALE COLLECTION
By: Haiting Tan
If you are looking for a home away from home in London, the Firmdale hotels offer a charming yet intimate boutique hotel feel with the luxurious amenities of a five star hotel. Scattered across London’s posh West End, Firmdale has five stunning full service decor hotels surrounded by lush gardens decorated with bronze statues.
Nestled in the busy town of Soho, Ham Yard turns into a relaxing getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city with an urban village feel. As you enter through the doors, you are welcomed into a classic English hotel with a twist. The hotel’s drawing room, facing the beautiful Ham Yard terrace, is where the old facade meets modern features such as colorful upholstered chairs, light fixtures and plenty of contemporary art paintings hanging from the wall. On cold winter nights, huddle by the French fireplace while sipping on a cup of hot tea. The warm glow simply enhances the beauty of the orange themed room.
Walking into each of the 91 bedrooms and suites, guests will notice that each room is uniquely designed by Kit Kemp, co-owner and design director for Firmdale Hotels. “I love color and texture and it should look colorful and carefree.” Staying true to her love, guests are drawn in by the pop of color in every corner of the room decorated with furniture with contrasting patterns. With floor-to-ceiling warehouse style windows, the deluxe rooms offer a fantastic view overlooking the greenery of the courtyard or the London skyline.
Literary fans will be enthralled by the book-lined entrance hallway of the courtyard suite. Sitting by the windows overlooking the hotel’s garden, guests can enjoy a nice read from the curated library. Equipped with four upholstered chairs, a dining area to its side and a sleek Boffi kitchen, the suite is a perfect location to entertain guests. Understanding their guests’ love of technology, the suite offers the use of iPad, Macbook or a laptop. If you would like to enjoy music while dining, the suite has a bluetooth Bose unit.
Tired from shopping along the streets of Soho? The roof terrace is an outdoor area with beautiful floral and fauna surrounding the Whitman benches and bar. Sip on a cocktail while taking in the sweeping views of the London skyline. Alternatively, guests can enjoy afternoon tea at the restaurant. Awarded best afternoon tea at the Harden’s London Restaurant Awards, Firmdale Hotels Executive Head Chef Robin Read and his talented team are constantly creating innovative pastries. With tea served on Kit Kemp’s gorgeous collection of Mythical Creatures china designed exclusively for Wedgwood, it will leave guests feeling like English royalty.
Looking for activities to do after dark? Housing an original 1950s bowling alley, a chic bar and a lively dance floor, the Croc bowling alley is the trendiest place to be. Bowling onto solid maple bowling lanes into a suspended rick wall with flickering lights, the alley has made bowling hip again. Hoping for a quiet night, enjoy a show at the 190 seat state-of-the-art theatre.
Situated in the heart of London’s theatre district, this quaint modern English hotel crosses path with some of London’s best restaurants, bars and shopping outlets. “At Haymarket Hotel, we commissioned Sue Lawtey who designed the ribbon of pebbles in the entrance.” Designed by Kemp, each of the 50 bedrooms and suites are equipped with the luxurious facilities expected of a deluxe hotel. Designed over four floors with two to five double bedrooms, the townhouse has a private entrance into the hotel. Though rooms at the Haymarket reflect a subtler tone compared to rooms at the Ham Yard, the décor still features vibrant patterns and brightly painted walls.
The ground floor houses numerous spacious rooms each with its own individual style. Walking through the main entrance, you are greeted by stunning sculptures by Tony Cragg and a dramatic John Virtue landscape. Decorated with original artwork, the conservatory has a soothing mint green theme while the library features a colorful pink patterned sofa for guests to lounge on.
Vacationing in a busy city like London, you may not have time to take a quick dip in the 55 foot swimming pool, but you should. With a ceiling lit in fibre-optic lights, a pool surrounded by acres of grey oak and a bar lighted up by ever-changing color light installations, it is certainly a sight to remember.
Looking to enjoy a classic English holiday at a hotel equipped with a theatre, a bowling alley and a top notch restaurant or one that is situated steps away from the London chicest neighborhoods, the Firmdale collection married with Kit Kemp’s fresh modern style at turns a vacation into a celebration.