A luxurious new venue
What happens when you combine an iconic heritage building with the hospitality nous and design brilliance of Nick Jones, the man who founded Soho House? A luxurious new venue that houses nine restaurants, six private events spaces, a spa, a gym, a members’ club and 249 hotel rooms. And did we mention that it’s located slap bang in the middle of London’s most prestigious business district? Welcome to The Ned.
A careful renovation
It all began in 2012, when Jones first toured the then-mothballed Midland Bank building, originally created by legendary architect Sir Edwin ‘Ned’ Lutyens in 1924. Jones fell instantly in love with its dramatic spaces and elegant lines, but knew that restoring and adapting all 29 450m2 of it was a task with which Soho House & Co needed an experienced partner. Enter Andrew Zobler, the CEO of New York City’s Sydell Group, which has developed a number of top hotels in the USA, including Manhattan’s gorgeous NoMad.
New and improved
Five years later, The Ned opened its doors. The results of the years of care and attention that went into its renovation are obvious, and it is a genuinely remarkable hospitality achievement. The building’s gorgeous period features have all been meticulously retained and restored, as this is a Grade I-listed building in which every element is protected by law.
On the ground floor, the enormous banking hall space is now home to the venue’s nine restaurants. They range in focus and flavours from the British-inspired Millie’s Lounge – where you can of course sit down to traditional afternoon tea – to classic Venetian-style food at Cecconi’s. For more intimate occasions, there’s the Lutyens Grill, which is situated in the wood-panelled old bank manager’s office and where the old-school atmosphere is heightened by traditional trolley service, with meat carved and fish filleted alongside your table.
In the centre of the main space on the ground floor is the restored stone reception podium to which bank clients could address queries in the past: it now functions as a bandstand, with musicians and DJs on the schedule daily. So you can enjoy your early-evening drinks at The Nickel Bar with a spot of live jazz piano on the side, or a Sunday brunch at Malibu Kitchen complete with a laid-back DJ set.
The interior designers have made cleverly creative use of what were previously the bank’s vaults and storage spaces in the two basement levels below the ground floor. Here the members-only Ned’s Club Downstairs area includes The Vault bar and lounge, which is situated in the old bank strong room and where the designers have made features of all the original fixtures – including heavy vault doors and more than 3000 safety-deposit boxes. Sumptuously furnished in an urbane, gentlemanly style, this is the ideal spot for a nightcap.
Also situated in the basement are the exquisite spa (with a 20-metre indoor heated swimming pool) and hammam. Plus there’s the Cowshed for beauty treatments of every sort, Cheeky nail bar – with over 50 polish shades to choose from – and Ned’s Barbershop for anyone in need of a traditional wet shave.
On the second basement level is the members- and hotel guests-only gym. With boxing rings, three studios and all the latest equipment, this is much more than your regular hotel workout space. Spar with your trainer, take a yoga class or do some strength training – the choice, obviously, is entirely yours.
Up on the roof
The floors above ground level house The Ned’s hotel rooms, which range from the super-cute Crash Pads, which are perfect for an impromptu overnight stay, to spacious Studio Suites that are ideal for more extended visits. All the rooms are exquisitely furnished, with period touches such as vintage chandeliers and velvet upholstery. You can also expect luxurious bed linen and retro-style bathrooms with rain showers and full-size Cowshed bath products.
Floating serenely above it all on the top of the building is Ned’s Club Upstairs. This members-only area encompasses a rooftop bar, another heated pool, and panoramic views of the London skyline. The only possible downside to The Ned? We’re not perfectly sure how, once ensconced, you’ll ever drag yourself away.