Opened in May, The Ned is London’s most talked about new hotel. Here’s why.
London is a city of reincarnation. SITE OF ST MILDRED’S CHURCH, DEMOLISHED 1872, reads a discreet blue plaque on the side of The Ned hotel, a short stroll from the Bank underground station in the city’s financial district. After serving as a place of worship, the site became the headquarters of the old Midland Bank, designed by the great English architect Sir Edward “Ned” Lutyens in the 1920s. Now, following a four-year renovation, the imposing facade of Portland stone encompasses one of the British capital’s hottest new openings, which is part private members’ club—from the same stable as Soho House—and part 252-bed hotel. Not to mention nine restaurants, 15 bars, several spas, and a rooftop pool that boasts views of such iconic buildings as St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Shard.
Step inside The Ned and there’s an immediate hit of money and power with financial types making deals over tea or something altogether stronger. But there is a palpable buzz here too. Many of the original fixtures have been retained in the former bank hall, a 3,000-square-meter ground-floor space that now houses the hotel’s reception area and eight of the nine restaurants including Zobler’s, a New York–style deli; Cecconis, an all-day Venetian brasserie serving the same north Italian favorites as its Mayfair sister branch; and 24-hour Millie’s Lounge, which dishes up fish and chips, roast chicken, or scones with jam and cream, depending on the time of day. On weekends there’s live music here from mid-morning onward, ranging from local singer-songwriters to jazz trios. Half close your eyes and you could be inside a grand, pre–World War II transatlantic liner, with acres of wood, chandeliers, and an air of Art Deco.
Upstairs, there are 13 room types, all of which retain a solid sense of Britishness in their decoration that some might find rather old-fashioned, from the 100-square-meter Lutyens Suite with two bedrooms and private rooftop access, to the smallest rooms, dubbed “Crash Pads,” which are all of 17 square meters. (In a nod to millennials, the latter are discounted for under-30s.)
There’s also London’s largest hammam, a gym with a full-size boxing ring, and two pools, one indoors and one on the roof. And in the belly of the building lies The Vault, which once stored billions of pounds worth of gold bullion behind a 20-ton steel door (it’s still there). Now, it serves Negronis and martinis until 3 a.m. Depending on how Brexit negotiations go, many Londoners might wish to just shut the door and carry on ordering.
27 Poultry, London; 44-20/3828-2000; doubles from US$235.
This article originally appeared in the April/May 2017 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Lutyens Luxe”).