The Ned is something of a time machine. Upon entering, you’ll be transported somewhere between the 1920s and early 1930s, as if this is exactly where The Great Gatsby was filmed. Inside, a sumptuous interior awaits, along with a lively jazz band that gives you all the festive feels. This Grade-I listed building, designed by Sir Edwin ‘Ned’ Lutyens in 1924, was formerly the headquarters for Midland Bank. Since then, it has been reborn — thanks to a joint venture between Soho House and New York-based Sydell Group — as a hotel, private members’ club and restaurant collection in the heart of London. Find out how this hybrid hotel/club/eatery in the British capital fares in our review below.
Just mere steps away from Bank underground station, The Ned is smack in the middle of The City, London’s financial district. Although the area is more commonly known as the hub for business and banks, it is in close range to stunning architecture such as St. Paul’s Cathedral and fifteen minutes from shopping on Oxford Street. Brisk walks around the area will also take you to some top landmarks including The Shard, Tower Bridge, and more. However, it’s good to note that although the building itself is expansive, there are only eleven floors, with three of which are underground. So you’ll likely hear some noise during times of high activity. During my stay, it was the Extinction Rebellion occupying the banks that woke me up from my slumber with drums and chants.
If the architecture of this historical building is not reason enough to give this hotel top design marks, the interior is. There are also some original features of the bank that remain, including its vaulted ceilings, huge wrought iron windows, gloriously green verdite columns and more, all of which help to add that sense of majestic grandeur. There’s even a 25-tonne vault door that opens up to the members’ only bar with 3,600 of the safety deposit boxes lining the wall. Overall, the design is a very clever marriage of luxury vintage and contemporary accents, resulting in an aesthetic that is slightly faded, but never dusty.
The front doors swing open to the former banking hall, which is now filled with different wine and dine venues. You’re greeted by a live jazz band and the excitement of its guests that permeate the hall. As you walk through, you’ll notice mostly bankers and lawyers from the area, along with tourists enjoying the vibes. The Ned exudes an opulent, old-world glamour and charm with elements of comfort throughout. It feels almost nostalgic to be there, though most of the guests are (myself included) not from that historical era.
Ranging from cosy rooms to spacious suites, all bedrooms at The Ned nod to the roaring ’20s. This translates into a blend of Art Deco, slightly kitsch furnishings and incredibly charming details. The medium room that I stayed in seemed a little snug, but there is enough storage to stow away belongings. It featured a king-size heritage walnut bed, ochre velvet chairs, tasselled loungers and patterned curtains. It may seem over-decorated for some, but there’s something very endearing about all the room accessories including silver tea tray sets, retro radios and antique style rotary phones. The bathroom has a rainforest shower brimming with Soho House’s Cowshed products, however bathtubs are reserved for the larger rooms only.
Service & Facilities: 9/10
The majority of restaurants and bars sit on the open-plan ground level along with the reception for the hotel, so you do have to manoeuvre swiftly to pass through the hubbub of people. It’s not quite the glamorous entrance you’d expect, especially if you’re carrying a heavy suitcase. Fortunately, the incredible team of staff are quick to help and offer a wealth of information, or just a good old natter, depending on what you’re after. As for the facilities, I think you’ll find the subterranean spa and pool more than fits the bill. It features a hammam, sauna, steam room, boxing gym, as well as beauty parlours and barber shops to cater both men and women. Furthermore, Net-a-Porter and Mr Porter offer guests an in-room menu in which they can place shopping requests for delivery within 30 minutes at any time of the day — great for when you’ve forgotten that one thing during your travels.
Food & Drink: 10/10
Eight public restaurants are located on the 32,000 sq. ft. ground floor area and offer guests and visitors a wide range of options. Cuisines range from Italian, American, French, Asian-Pacific, and of course British. An additional choice for a Sunday feast is sprawled across a few of the outlets. For breakfast, I opted for Californian-style restaurant Malibu Kitchen for healthy and millennial favourites such as avocado toast and an acai bowl washed down with kombucha. Two more wine and dine spaces, open to members and hotel guests only, reside on the upper and lower levels of the hotel. For daytime gatherings, Ned’s Club Upstairs includes a bright and airy semi terrace space overlooking the London’s skyline and a heated pool. In the evenings, head to Ned’s Club Downstairs and enjoy an intimate dinner in The Dining room or sip on a dirty martini in the exclusive Vault bar & lounge.
Rates: From HK$2,988/night for a Crash Pad to HK$20,695/night for the Lutyens Suite (prices may vary depending on availability and season).