The Ned, Lon­don; Sof­i­tel Washington DC Lafayette Square; Court­yard by Mar­riott Stock­holm Kung­shol­men

The for­mer Mid­land Bank HQ has un­der­gone a fab­u­lous fiveyear ren­o­va­tion cost­ing an es­ti­mated £200 mil­lion

Business Traveller - - NEWS -

BACK­GROUND A part­ner­ship be­tween Soho House and Co and the Sy­dell Group, which runs sev­eral ho­tels in the US, the Ned opened in the City in May.

WHAT’S IT LIKE? Part lux­ury ho­tel, part mem­bers’ club, the Ned is housed in the Grade I listed for­mer Mid­land Bank HQ, built in the 1920s and 1930s and de­signed by Sir Ed­win “Ned” Lu­tyens. It has un­der­gone a fab­u­lous five-year ren­o­va­tion cost­ing an es­ti­mated £200 mil­lion. The 3,000 sqm ground-floor bank­ing hall has been trans­formed into an open-plan restau­rant em­po­rium hous­ing eight venues. Featuring vaulted ceil­ings, arches and 92 green verdite col­umns, with the food and drink out­lets sep­a­rated by orig­i­nal wal­nut bank­ing coun­ters, and a raised stage host­ing daily live mu­sic, it makes for quite a first im­pres­sion.

Amidst all this is the re­cep­tion desk for the 252room ho­tel, where we were wel­comed warmly. Ho­tel guests get tem­po­rary mem­ber­ship to Ned’s Club, which com­prises a rooftop restau­rant, bar and pool, a ground­floor restau­rant and a lower-ground bar, gym and pool.

WHERE IS IT? At 27 Poul­try, a minute’s walk from Bank sta­tion. There’s also an en­trance on Princes Street.

ROOMS Like the public ar­eas, the de­sign of the rooms – on floors one to seven – is in­spired by the era in which the prop­erty was built. Cat­e­gories range from Crash Pad (17-19 sqm) and Cosy (20-30 sqm) to Medium (25-35 sqm), Large (35-45 sqm), Her­itage (30-45 sqm, with pe­riod fea­tures) and a range of suites (45-100 sqm). Dé­cor varies – Cosy rooms are 1920s in­flu­enced, for ex­am­ple, while Medium is 1930s art deco in style. All of­fer free wifi, movies, tea, cof­fee and bot­tled water, smart TVs, Roberts dig­i­tal ra­dios, mini­bars, safes, charg­ers and fluffy robes. My Medium room was peace­ful and spa­cious with a won­der­fully com­fort­able king-size wal­nut bed.

Bath­rooms have walk-in rain­show­ers (plus tubs in higher cat­e­gories) and a huge range of full-size Cow­shed prod­ucts (avail­able to buy). A part­ner­ship with Mr Porter and Net-a-Porter al­lows you to pur­chase cloth­ing you might have for­got­ten.

RESTAU­RANTS AND BARS Seven of the eight ground-floor restau­rants are open to the public – Bri­tish lounge Mil­lie’s, a branch of Vene­tian chain Cec­coni’s, Jewish-style New York deli Zobler’s, Asia-Pa­cific eatery Kaia, Parisian-style Café Sou, the Mal­ibu Kitchen and the Nickel bar. We had a great lunch at Zobler’s, tuck­ing into hot dogs with the works and turkey club sand­wiches, and a re­li­ably good break­fast in Cec­coni’s. For din­ner, we tried the other ground­floor restau­rant, Lu­tyen’s Grill, open to mem­bers and ho­tel guests only and set in its own wood-pan­elled rooms. Ser­vice was spot-on and our steaks per­fectly cooked. Af­ter lis­ten­ing to the jazz band on­stage, we de­scended to the mem­bers-only Vault bar. Ac­cessed via the orig­i­nal 20-tonne bank vault door, it’s a lively late-night haunt with DJs. The rooftop restau­rant, bar and in­fin­ity pool of­fer 360-de­gree views of the sky­line.

MEET­ING FA­CIL­I­TIES There are six rooms on the sixth floor, the largest for 210 peo­ple theatre-style.

LEISURE FA­CIL­I­TIES On the three lower floors are a Cow­shed spa with treat­ment rooms, a steam room, sauna, 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 bar­ber­shop, nail bar, hair and make-up sa­lons, and a Club room for re­lax­ation. Book in for two nights – you’ll need it to get around ev­ery­thing… Michelle Harbi

VER­DICT A fan­tas­tic ren­o­va­tion of a land­mark build­ing. Be­ing a hy­brid of ho­tel and club means it has the kind of ex­ten­sive fa­cil­i­ties you wouldn’t nor­mally find in a prop­erty of this size. Add to that its sense of glam­our and su­perb City lo­ca­tion, and it’s def­i­nitely one to try.

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