A partnership between members’ club specialist Soho House and Co and New York’s Sydell Group, which runs several hotels in the US – including the Nomad in Manhattan – the Ned opened in the City in May.
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
Part luxury hotel, part private members’ club, part restaurant complex, this much-anticipated property is housed in the imposing former Midland Bank HQ, built in the 1920s and 1930s at a cost of £2.2 million (about £100 million today), and designed by Sir Edwin “Ned” Lutyens. The Grade I listed property has undergone a fabulous five-year renovation costing an estimated £200 million.
Most notable is the 3,000 sqm ground-floor former banking hall, which has been transformed into an open-plan restaurant emporium housing eight venues and accommodating 850 people. Featuring vaulted ceilings, arches and some 92 green verdite Corinthian columns (worth about £1 million each, I was told), with the food and drink venues separated by original walnut banking counters, and a raised stage at its heart hosting daily live music, it makes for quite a first impression.
Amidst all this is the reception desk for the 252-room hotel, where we received a warm welcome on a buzzing Saturday lunchtime. Hotel guests get temporary membership to Ned’s Club, which comprises a rooftop restaurant, bar and pool, plus a ground-floor restaurant and a lower-ground bar, gym and pool.
WHERE IS IT?
At 27 Poultry in the heart of the Square Mile, a minute’s walk from Bank station. There are two entrances to the property, the main one on Poultry and another on Princes Street.
Like the public areas, the design of the rooms and suites, which are set across floors one to seven, has been inspired by the era in which the property was built, with vintage touches, richly patterned fabrics and hand-knotted rugs on wooden floors.
The nature of the building means they come in different shapes and sizes – categories range from Crash Pad (17-19 sqm) and Cosy (20-30 sqm) to Medium (25-35 sqm), Large (35-45 sqm) and a range of suites (45-100 sqm). Décor varies depending on category – Cosy rooms are 1920s influenced, for example, while Medium ones are more 1930s art deco in style. There are also Heritage rooms (30-45 sqm; example pictured below), located on the Grade I listed fifth floor and offering period features such as wooden panelling and marble fireplaces.
Provided as standard are free wifi and movies, coffee machines and tea facilities, bottled water at turndown, Samsung smart TVs (ours didn’t work when we arrived but an engineer arrived swiftly to fix it), Roberts digital radios, minibars with pre-mixed Ned’s cocktails and crystal glassware, a desk or table to work at, adjustable air conditioning, safes, Apple chargers, adapters, hair straighteners, and fluffy robes and slippers.
My fourth-floor Medium room (example pictured below) was peaceful and spacious and had pale green walls, a wonderfully comfortable king-size walnut bed with plug sockets either side, a marble-topped circular table flanked by velvet club chairs, a mirrored cocktail cabinet and a vanity area.
In the bathrooms, which have walk-in rainshowers (plus tubs in higher categories), there is a huge range of full-size Cowshed products to choose from (available to buy), with some travel-size bottles to take away. A partnership with Mr Porter and Net-a-Porter allows you to purchase clothing items you might have forgotten, in case you are in urgent need of a bow tie or top-of-the-range gym gear.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS
Seven of the eight venues on the ground floor are open to the public – all-day British lounge Millie’s, a City branch of high-end Venetian chain Cecconi’s, Jewish-style New York deli Zobler’s, Asia-Pacific restaurant Kaia, the Malibu Kitchen for Californian cuisine, Parisian-style Café Sou, which serves excellent omelettes, and the Nickel bar for bourbons and cocktails. We had a great lunch at Zobler’s, tucking into hot dogs with the works and overstuffed turkey club sandwiches, and a reliably good breakfast in Cecconi’s (pictured below).
For dinner, we tried the other ground-floor restaurant, Lutyen’s Grill, which is open to members and hotel guests only and set in its own private wood-panelled rooms. Service here was spot-on and our steaks perfectly cooked, with some well-suggested wine pairings.
After dinner, we enjoyed listening to the jazz band performing on the Nickel Stage and indulging in a spot of people-watching before descending to the members-only Vault bar. One of the highlights of the hotel, as the name suggests, it’s located in the former bank vault, where up to £335 million (about £15 billion today) of gold bullion deposits were once stored. It’s accessed via the original 20-tonne, two-metre-wide vault door and is lined with 3,800 safety deposit boxes. A peaceful spot for pre-dinner drinks, it transforms into a lively and glamorous late-night haunt with DJ sets.
If that’s not enough choice for you, the restaurant and bar on the roof offers 360-degree views of the City skyline and its many landmarks, plus a heated infinity pool surrounded by sun loungers and day beds.
The sixth floor has six event rooms ranging from 21 sqm to 165 sqm, each with period features and natural light. The largest space, the Tapestry room, holds 210 people theatre-style and is lined with wood panelling and a vast tapestry featuring the coats of arms of 120 cities and towns in which Midland had a presence.
Another strength of the property, these are spread over the three lower floors (in addition to the rooftop pool). They comprise a Cowshed spa with eight treatment rooms, a steam room, sauna, Moroccan hammam and a lovely 20-metre pool; a 620 sqm gym with Technogym kit, a boxing ring and spin, pilates and yoga studios; plus a Cheeky nail bar, traditional barbershop, Miguel Perez hair salon, make-up parlour, juice bar and a book-lined Club room for relaxation. Book in for two nights – you’ll need it to get around everything…
Really impressive. This was a fantastic building for Soho House and Sydell to have secured, and they have done a great job in transforming it while preserving its history. Being a hybrid of hotel and club means the Ned has the kind of extensive facilities you couldn’t normally expect to find in a property of this size. Add to that its sense of glamour and superb location for doing business in the City, and it’s definitely one to try.
Internet rates for a flexible midweek stay in September started from £330 for a Cosy room.
27 Poultry; tel +44 (0)20 3828 2000; thened.com