Last night I was invited to stay during the soft opening of The Ned. Situated in the heart of the city opposite the Bank of England, this 252 bedroom hotel / members club is housed in the former headquarters of Midland Bank. The Grade 1 listed building was designed by architect Sir Edward ‘Ned’ Lutyen back in 1929. This hotel is one of London’s hottest new openings. It is a collaboration between Nick Jones, founder of Soho House and Andrew Zobler, chief executive of Sydell Group.
When you arrive at The Ned you are greeted by an army of staff. You are then escorted to reception to check in. The reason for this is because the entrance is a myriad of restaurants. There are in fact eight restaurants in the former banking hall with the reception desk discreetly situated in the middle of them all. Being a soft opening not only was the hotel busy with guests trialing the facilities but also building work was evidently ongoing.
I had original booked a ‘Cosy’ room for my stay. Upon check in I was pleasantly informed I had been upgraded to a ‘Medium’ room.
The bedrooms are decorated in an Art Deco style in keeping with the theme of the building. You will find a mirrored cocktail mini bar and a quirky lighting system that takes a little getting used to. The bathrooms are marble mosaic with a walk in rainforest shower. There is a whole selection of Cowshed products to use. The bathrooms have the fluffiest towels and robes. Every thing you would ever need is stored in it’s own pouch. From toothbrushes, loofas, slippers through to phone chargers, adapters, a hairdryer and even hair straighteners.
Exploring the hotel I first went up to the Rooftop to look at the Ned’s Club Upstairs Roof bar and restaurant with wonderful views of the city. There is also be an outdoor pool for members use. Ned’s Club Relax and Active areas are situated in the basement levels of the hotel and here there is a spa with hamman, sauna, indoor swimming pool and a gym.
On this level there is a also a gentleman’s grooming parlour called Ned’s Barbershop as well as Parlour 1 for facials and Cheeky Nails for an express manicure or pedicure.
It was now time to work out where I wanted to eat for dinner. The ground floor restaurants comprise of a selection of international cuisine. There is the Italian Cuccino’s, the Californian Malibu Kitchen, the very British Millie’s Lounge, and from New York Zobler’s Delicatessen. The American Lutyen’s Grill is for member’s only. From Asia Pacific is Kaia, there is the American Nickel Bar or the French Cafe Sou.
I ended up eating at Kaia, which was partially opened with just the bar seating available. This was their very first night of service and I opted for their Salmon Poke Bowl, which was delicious. By all accounts the day before this particular restaurant was not ready and the turnaround of where they got to last night was incredible. When fully operational this one restaurant alone will seat 98 people, which gives you an idea of how vast the ground floor is.
Although the gem of the building has to be Ned’s Club Downstairs Vault Bar and Lounge. Behind a 20 tonne, 2 metre wide bank vault door are the original 3,000 safety deposit boxes that line the walls. Inside the members lounge you will find 100 pieces of artwork 97 by female artists and 3 by male artists. A great place for cocktails, and if you are feeling peckish they also have a late night Italian menu.
The Ned is still a ‘work in progress’ and is not finished yet. With over 600 builders currently on site it’s scheduled date of opening is the 2nd May 2017…