“Hotels should be living things not stuffy institutions,” said Tim and Kit Kemp, owners of Firmdale Hotels. The husband-and-wife-duo has redefined the boutique genre since creating their first winning combination back in 1985. The group now consists of 10 stylish townhouse properties – 9 in London and 1 in New York – and shows no signs of slowing as the portfolio enters its 31st year in business.
Kit, the creative force behind each hotel, is a self-taught designer who met her husband Tim – the brand’s number cruncher – while working in an architects’ office in London, and they then went on to develop a string of small hotels in West London, kicking off proceedings with the launch of the debut Firmdale property, Dorset Square Hotel in 1985.
Since then they have grown the Firmdale portfolio into one of the most successful new boutique hotel groups of the past two decades, injecting personality, style and modernity into each new project along the way. Kit’s interior flair has become the backbone to the brand’s success; her designs reflect a fresh, modern English style and she certainly isn’t afraid to go with her gut.
Tim and Kit won the title of Independent Hotelier of the Year in 2014, to add to their cabinet of awards including three Queens Awards for Enterprise in 2000, 2006 and 2009, in recognition to Firmdale’s achievement to international trade.
In March 2015, Firmdale opened One Denman Place, a cluster of 24 serviced apartments located adjacent to the brand’s hot property Ham Yard; perhaps the most talked about Firmdale hotel thanks to its bowling alley and private cinema.
The first overseas Firmdale boutique, the Crosby Street Hotel in New York opened its doors in 2010 and a second property in the area is already firmly in the development pipeline.
While expansion may have been slow compared to other empires, with an estimated value of £600m Firmdale is proving that slow and steady really is winning the race.