I am a serial loser.
Raffles, the Grand National, The lottery – I lose them all.
BUT my losing streak was brought to a 33 year halt when mirculously I finally won something. The “something” in question was a 1950’s fancy dress party and the prize was so good that I kept it for over a year to make sure that I used it at the right time… the night after the London Marathon 2019!
Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce you to the Ham Yard Hotel.
My prize was a three course meal in the Ham yard hotel restaurant, a night in their fabulous hotel, and breakfast the next morning. As you can imagine, after completing the 26.2 miles around our capital city, I was ready for some rest an relaxation, and I was not disappointed – not one iota.
My day job focuses firmly on creating a level of service that is of the highest calibre, and to that end I have quite discerning standards when it comes to the service industries, I expect the very best, especially if there is a sizeable price tag attached to it. So, needless, to say, I was extremely excited to spend some quality family time in this high-end setting and to really put the facilities to the test.
Upon entry to the hotel, we were greeted with a smile, doors opened for us and a personal greeting was made to our 3 year old. (this makes a huge difference to us, as parents). Check in was a breeze, and we were given the opportunity to ask questions – but more than that – we had a fantastic converstion about the London Marathon and I was congratulated on completing it!
In such a high end setting, I can sometimes feel like an imposter in someone elses world. This isn’t the sort of hotel experience that we can usually afford, and couple that with the fact that I have arrived wearing my sweaty marathon gear (and a slight hobble) and I could have easily started to feel self-conscious, but I didn’t. The fantastic team had made the whole family feel at ease and had also offered us a tour and morning paper! Thank you very much.
Our room was on the second floor, and due to the hobble and our son in a buggy, we took the lift to get there. Every inch of this fantastic venue is vibrant modern and comfortable. The lift itself was lined in yellow fabric with some blue highlights and featured some incredible pieces of Art! It really was quite the experience for such a short journey!
Arrival to our room was bliss. A sumptuous bed, stunning bathroom and space a plenty! We also had a view of the old Windmill Theatre, and a cheeky little sign which added a fantastic retro feel from the floor to ceiling windows. This is LUXURY. And not “stuffy luxury”, but a modern and welcoming sort of luxury that isnt all gilded picture frames and ancient paintings – the modern surroundings speak to fun and drama, and really make a feature of the staff and their elevated level of Customer Service. Nothing said this more that the fact the we arrived to our room less than 2 minutes after checking in, and we arrived to two hand written notes, one addressed to my wife and I, wishing us a fantastic stay with a selection of chocolates, and a second addresses to me personally congratulating me for completing the marathon and a gift of massage oil sat just beside it! I was genuinely quite taken aback.
My son and I both took advantage of the excellent tub and shower facilities – for him it was a mini swimming pool, and for me it was a welcome and relaxing relief for my aching muscles and a chance to watch some TV in the tub! The RikRak Products were fantastic and I really enjoyed the Gardenia Sandalwood shampoo which worked up an excellent lather and was 100% appropriate for men and Women (so good choice). Then there was the robe… the robe was soft and fluffy and just so comfortable, if I could have done, I would have worn it to dinner!
We dressed for dinner (for the sake of others thankfully not in the robes!) and made our way down to the restaurant. First and foremost the food was excellent (so good that I have limited pictures, as I couldnt wait to eat it!) I had the soup au pistou to start, which was a very tasty vegetarian soup not dissimilar to a minestrone only vegetarian and with beans. My wife had the Dorset crab mayonnaise, cucumber and dill, rye crackers which was so good that my fussy 3 year old was also a fan (which really is high praise). For mains, I had the Ribeye Steak and Frites whilst my wife devoured the Roast duck breast, duck hash, celeriac and rosemary. Yummm.
Throughout the meal our son was treated like a king, which made a huge difference to our enjoyment of the evening because we were so much more at ease. The wait staff were friendly and efficient and interacted with him throughout. they gave him a colouring book and crayons, the quality of which was terrific. (Unfortunately, we realised that we had left the colouring book under our table, which was gutting, as we would have loved to have kept it as a momento.)
For dessert we shared the Chocolate liégeois, which was a “Super-Sundae” filled with chocolate in many forms and lashings of cream! And the Vanilla panna cotta, poached rhubarb, lychee, raspberry and rose sorbet … need I say more?
After a little Veuve Cliquot Yellow label and a bloody good Clemens Busch 2017, Riesling it was time for bed. I am pretty much an insomniac. Sleep does not come easily. Add to that the fact that my whole body has been through a physical hell and you don’t get the most favourable sleeping conditions. But I have to say that taking all of that into account that I slept pretty well. The bed was comfortable and roomy, the blackout curtains and blinds created a great space to chill out and catch those zzz’s.
The next morning we had a hearty breakfast, read the paper and caught up on some TV, before heading back to reality. From the minute we arrived, we were looked after with care and attention and this didnt stop even from our last second leaving the next morning.
The Ham Yard Hotel is part of the Firmdale Group, and is a fantastic Central London location to really feel the luxury that the capital has to offer. If I had the money I would stay here all the time, but thanks to my losing streak finally being broken (by me not making a very pretty woman at all!) I have at least had the opportunity to experience this amazing hotel, even if this is the only occasion.