Inside the Ned - one of London's newest hotspots
The City of London has always been famous for its luxury hotels and fine dining. Recently, the city has received a new addition of architectural finesse. With the opening of The Ned, which was developed by social scene-makers Soho House and tucked into a stunning heritage-listed building, the English capital has acquired a new hotspot which is as much a hotel as it is a place for the social butterflies.
It is not your average hotel lobby, but one of London's hottest social scenes. The Ned’s entrance hall is the first taste of how this previously conservative banking building has been converted into an Art Deco dream that is as contemporary as it is historic (with much attention to the preservation of heritage). Raised wood teller counters are now bar seating for the restaurants, while inconspicuously delineating separate spaces and original marble and panelling features still grace the floors and walls - even the original African verdite columns have been retained.
By evening, the hotel buzzes with noise. It is so popular, that bouncers stand by the entrance vetting potential visitors and opening the doors to guests and those with dining reservations, so make sure you are on the list. The Ned might be a hotel, but what has made this property such a success is its careful attention to its F&B offerings. Suits from nearby banks flock here for power lunches, while socialites descend by night to see and be seen at the hotel's nine restaurants and bars.
The Ned’s top dining choice is the Lutyens Grill, a private steakhouse where premium cuts of meat are served up amidst the fine wood interiors of a former bank manager's office. Meals here are best followed up with a visit to The Vault. At the exclusive bar and lounge, set in the bank's former stronghold, decadent cocktails and light bites are served in spaces lined with punchy feminist art and some 3,800 original safety deposit boxes.
But there are plenty of other options, too. Malibu Kitchen's fresh, California-inspired fare and the New York-style deli dishes at Zoebler's are perfect for a quick lunch. Cecconi's hearty Italian meals and Café Sou's Parisian plates invite diners to linger longer, while Millie's Lounge, the quintessential British brasserie, serves up a quality afternoon tea.
Drawing from the Soho House model, The Ned also operates a club membership program called Ned's Club which gives subscribers access to a few of the property's best hidden extras, including the aforementioned Lutyens Grill and The Vault. Guests are treated as members and are able to use the full range of facilities.
At the top of the property, Ned's Club Upstairs features stunning views across the City and St Paul's Cathedral, along with an outdoor heated pool and domed terraces for eating, drinking and socialising. Ned's Club Active is a gym, offering the full complement of cardio and strength-training equipment.
Guests can also spice up their routines with studios that host boxing, pilates, yoga and spinning classes. And then there is the spa, a beautifully appointed wellness haven, featuring a gorgeous lounge where guests and members can relax over magazines, light bites and drinks. Made to look like a classic manor home library, you almost don't want to leave when it comes time for your treatment.
If you can tear yourself away, make time to lounge by the 20-metre indoor pool, get a hammam treatment, or unwind in the sauna and steam room. In the name of inclusivity, however, everyone has access to the full range of head-to-toe Cowshed spa offerings. A Cowshed massage may be one of the best you will ever have, but in here, it is just the beginning of your descent into total wellbeing.
The full range of treatments includes wraps, scrubs, facials and even medical options like LED light therapy and vitamin IV drips. The Cheeky nail bar offers quick, professional manicures and pedicures, while in the changing rooms, you will find Ned's Barbershop for gents and Ned's Parlour for ladies.
A full range of offerings are available in one of the hotel's 252 guest rooms and suites, running from intimate crash pads to sweeping regal suites. Each style of room is ever so slightly different, with serious glamour inspired by the twenties and thirties. Expect thoroughly elegant spaces decked out with plush patterns, antique-look fixtures and furnishings, and plenty of carved oak.
Each room features a slightly different setup, so you could be lounging in leather wingbacks, pouring drinks from vintage bar cabinets, or sleeping on cloud-like canopied beds. It is an exquisitely luxurious experience furnished with marble-tiled bathrooms, full-sized Cowshed products and, depending on the room, free-standing bathtubs.