In the midst of Soho and moments from Mayfair, Ham Yard Hotel has an urban village feel. The interior was designed by Kit Kemp in her award-winning modern British style.
Alongside the hotel’s 91 individually designed bedrooms and suites are 24 stunning apartments, 13 independent stores and a restaurant and bar with outdoor dining. There is a drawing room and library, rooftop terrace, spa and gym, theatre, private event rooms and bowling alley.
The Croc Bowling Alley houses an original 1950’s bowling alley, stylish lounge with silver baby grand piano, bar and dance floor.
Greeting you as you enter The Croc, is an impressive collection of dozens of vintage bowling shoes and bowling balls. It’s a hint of what’s to come as you enter the richly decorated space to find one of the most unique bowling alleys in the UK.
The centrepiece of The Croc Bowling Alley are the four maple lanes from Brunswick — the first wood lanes to be installed in the UK in at least 15 years. Complementing the lanes are immaculately refurbished vintage over-lane ball returns.
The Croc Bowling Alley was created as a unique private event space for the hotel as well as a fun place for guests to use when events were not taking place. The bowling lanes form part of a full floor of other event spaces including the Dive Bar, which leads into three private rooms of varying styles and sizes, and a 190-seat state of the art theatre with a stage and balcony seating.
The space has an impressive collection of art curated by co-founder Kit Kemp, including two large scale artworks by Howard Hodgkin and three crocodiles scaling one wall. There is a defined music theme reflecting the original life of the site in the 1960s, home to several music venues including The Scene Club, where artists such as The Who and the Rolling Stones performed.
While they did consider other manufacturers, the hotel chose Brunswick in part due to its status as the iconic American bowling alley brand. The hotel has a service contract with UK-based Brunswick distributor Bowling Vision, which also managed the importation, refurbishment and installation of the lanes and ball returns.
Bowling has exceeded the hotel management’s expectations, having become one of the unique selling points of the hotel. When the bowling alley is not booked for private events, lanes are booked individually with a food and beverage package. The hotel has experienced an incremental increase in revenue based on the usage of the bowling alley.
Hotels and resorts are offering more and more amenities to entertain their guests and encourage them to stay on the property. Bowling offers a revenue-generating, recession-resistant, food-and-beverage driving entertainment offering that everyone loves to play. Bowling is just as much a fun night out for travellers as it is for locals.