Travel

By Kelly Hushin

We may have thought it impossible, but with their latest property, the Firmdale Hotel Group has outdone itself.

The Haymarket Hotel, aptly named for its location on one of Central London’s most historic and happening streets – Haymarket – is truly a gem unparalleled. And I do not use the term “gem” lightly, for that is what makes the Haymarket unique. Hidden gems lie in almost every corner, and those still undiscovered are surely waiting to peek out, dazzle and surprise.

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Launching on the success of the group’s other six properties in London, (including the Soho Hotel with its popular restaurant, Refuel) the Haymarket has upped the ante on a style status that the Firmdale has single-handedly built. The first unmistakable treasure is the hotel’s location smack dab in the heart of the theatre district – a place that attracts both Londoners and tourists like Broadway does in the states. The Theatre Royal is adjacent to the hotel, and Her Majesty’s Theatre is directly opposite.

If theatre is not your forte, the surroundings are also buzzing with prime shopping provided by Regents and Jermyn streets. The art scene is none to scoff at either, with spots like the Royal Academy of Arts housing exhibitions by everyone from college students to Monet.

Once you’ve had your fill of London tourism by basking in the delightful surroundings, be sure to dedicate at least an afternoon to peruse the interiors of the hotel during your stay. It will take at least that long to find all the wonders tucked inside interior designer Kit Kemp’s cleverly thought-out landscape.

First is the lobby, a room that will instill such a promising first impression, you will surely want nothing else but to explore the lay of the land. A bold statement is made with a silver sculpture that serves as the centerpiece to a room accented by bright yellows and dramatic black.

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Traveling through the lobby, you will then come to the conservatory – a room that is airy, open and green all around. Wooden tables and light fixtures as well as thick glass tabletops make this spot perfect for casual meetings for either business or pleasure.

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Beyond this room comes the library, a room full of warm pinks and blues and bookcases lined not only with books but with colored lights resembling books; a perfect mix of modern and classic elements. Naturally, you may take your tea in either of these rooms as they are fully serviced around the clock by the staff.

Though all the public spaces on the first floor are impressive, what is hiding downstairs is perhaps the most breathtaking of all since it is something you rarely find in a hotel in Central London. The indoor pool downstairs is flanked by modern art style tables on one end and a massive flat screen projector on the other that rotates with colored stripes reminiscent of a sunny beach. All across the ceiling are small LED lights that also change in brightness and color and almost resemble a star-strewn sky.

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It’s hard to feel like you’re lounging at a beachside pool when visiting the traditionally grey and drab UK city, but the Haymarket’s pool sets that atmosphere with ease.

The hotel’s restaurant has also generated quite a buzz with its eclectic design and playful use of pinks and purples throughout.

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Though some of London’s toughest critics weren’t too pleased with the spot, the Brumus restaurant doesn’t disappoint when it comes to food and drinks. With muddled cucumbers and tasty vodka, the Hendricks martini is a must.

When all is said and done though, what really matters most is the bedroom – and the Haymarket has truly given it the most attention and care.

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Super king-sized beds with feather blankets and pillows will make you never want to leave. The bathrooms, with double sinks, stand-up shower and separate tub are also a gorgeous sight with black and white marble covering them from floor to ceiling. As if that wasn’t luxurious enough, each bathroom has a flat-screen TV embedded into the wall above the tub; a seamless gem which can easily be missed, but once found is greatly appreciated. Hidden away in the desk is yet another gem – a DVD player which links to the flat screen TV in the bedroom which is located above the faux fireplace.

One of the most memorable of all the little details inside the Haymarket is the mannequin in each room. Kemp has branded her hotels with this accent, placing one in every guestroom of her hotels. The Haymarket’s mannequin is the most stylish. It looks like a chic city girl getting ready for a night on the town. Yet another example of a marriage between modern and traditional English décor, the mannequin reminds you that the whole place is really a wonderland of design brilliance.

Originally published October 2007
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