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Cateys 2018: Hotel of the Year – Group – Ham Yard Hotel

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Cateys 2018: Hotel of the Year – Group – Ham Yard Hotel

Sponsored by Bunzl Catering & Hospitality Division

From the moment Ham Yard Hotel opened its doors in 2014, guests have been wowed by everything about the property, from its unique, joyful design to its service from an engaged and motivated team. The result is a hotel that consistently outperforms its competitors, with hotel revenue in 2017/18 up 7.7% overall on budget and 11% year on year.

Located in the heart of Soho, the £88m Ham Yard is the flagship property of Firmdale Hotels, which has eight properties in London and two in New York.

Ham Yard was created from the extraordinary vision of Kit and Tim Kemp, who turned derelict land into a 91-bedroom luxury urban retreat with 24 apartments, all located around a tree-filled pedestrian thoroughfare.

Kit’s innovative, energetic and vibrant design – inspired by fabrics and artwork she picked up on her travels to India and South Africa – is what makes Ham Yard stand out. Her intention “to create an adventure for the senses, especially the eyes” has succeeded, with her love of colour and texture hitting guests the moment they walk through the door.

But Ham Yard is more than good-looking. The hotel’s focus on creating and retaining an enthusiastic team is just as important. Nearly three-quarters of the hotel’s staff say they love what they do, and 66.6% envisage themselves having a future career with the company.

The hotel, led by general manager Laura Sharpe, has received 1,105 value recognitions since April 2017, and 15 supervisors and managers have completed the Firmdale development programme. All chefs at the hotel who have completed the company’s apprenticeship programme have been retained.

Never content to sit still, Ham Yard has had a busy 12 months in moving the business forward, including opening up the hotel for press junkets. A Hot Gin Roof collaboration with Sipsmith has been the most successful of its pop-up events, resulting in a 4,000-person waiting list and additional revenue of £32,500.

Unique features within the hotel have been put to good use. Ham Yard’s beekeeper (the hotel has two beehives) has delivered talks followed by bee-themed dinners and cocktails, while regular art walks and talks around the hotel with curator Olivia Paterson are paired with bespoke meals.

As well as a busy restaurant and bar operation, with revenue up 7.4% year-on-year, the events team has hosted 1,325 events over the past year, resulting in an 8.7% rise in revenue.

What the judges said

“It is a joy to see a hotel that is exquisite, daring and exciting. Ham Yard is not only all of these – it delivers on every level, and I just love it!”
Gordon Campbell Gray

“The Ham Yard Hotel is a beacon of excellence. Tim and Kit Kemp are consummate hoteliers, who inspire their staff, engage with their guests and consistently innovate to ensure a memorable visit. The hotel has deservedly gained an international reputation for luxuriously designed rooms and public areas, a fantastic restaurant, spa and state of the art theatre.”
Harry Murray

“Tim and Kit Kemp, together with Laura Sharpe, have ticked so many boxes with this property. The hotel is brilliantly innovative physically, has consistently produced a strong financial performance and achieved 0% waste to landfill, while the management is clearly passionate about its people.”
Julian Tomlin

The shortlist

Bovey Castle Dartmoor, Devon

Ham Yard Hotel London

The Ned London

The judges

Jurgen Ammerstorfer General manager, the London Edition

Michael Bonsor Managing director, Rosewood London

Gordon Campbell Gray Chairman, Campbell Gray Hotels

Giovanna Grossi Advisor, AA Hotel Services

Michael Magrane Operations director, GLH

Harry Murray Chairman, Lucknam Park hotel and spa, Colerne, Wiltshire

Marvin Rust Managing director, Alvarez & Marsal Taxand

Julian Tomlin General manager, Pennyhill Park, Bagshot, Surrey

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