the-vault-bar-the-ned

Cecconi’s spaghetti with tomato sauce, Zobler’s N.Y. Cheesecake, a Nickel Bar maple bacon slider and a red Mansur Gavriel mini suede bucket bag (delivered in minutes courtesy of a Net-a-Porter collab)… The Ned just took room service to the next level, but that’s not all.

This April (after a £200 million renovation) Soho House and Sydell Group opened their much-awaited members club and uber-hotel in The City. With all 11 floors, 252 bedrooms, nine restaurants, barber shop, salon, gym and more fully fired up, we spent the night at what could be the most exciting hotel opening of this year. What’s it really like on the inside? Where are the best spots to eat? Is it all suits? This is what you need to know.

Where can you go as a member of the general public?

Unlike Soho House, where the answer is usually “nowhere”, The Ned has taken a different approach. The general public have access to seven ground-floor restaurants, the Nickel Bar cocktail bar, the spa Parlour, Cheeky Nails for a mani-pedi, Ned’s Barbershop, Miguel Perez Hair and The Powder Room for makeovers or make-up lessons. So kind.

What’s the vibe on the ground floor?

“The faded glamour of a 1930s transatlantic ocean liner” is what inspired the interior design of The Ned and the vibe follows suit. It’s distinctly old-world Titanic-esque with a grand hall and live music performances at night. Unless you’re used to state banquets, the size is what’ll hit you first with high ceilings and huge marble pillars throughout, but actually the eight restaurants manage to feel somewhat intimate through the use of screens, cleverly placed bars and private booths. Yes, during the day it has a distinctly “work vibe”, you are in The City after all, but come evening when the piano fires up and the ties loosen, there’s a buzzy “school’s out” feeling that we dig.

Where should you eat?

We love Malibu Kitchen which serves up healthy South Californian fare in one of the most private sections of the grand hall. For dinner, go for the charred peppers and ‘brick’ chicken or fillet served with mushrooms and tamari sauce. For an Instagram hit head to Kaia, the healthy Asian eatery, for the flower-adorned poke bowl or Millie’s for its millennial pink upholstered booths. The latter is open 24 hours and is a welcome contender for chicest late-night eatery in London.

What do you get as a member and hotel guest?

Membership at The Ned costs a hefty £3,500 a year, so what’s it worth? Membership gets you access to the rooftop with its own restaurant, pool, terrace and epic views of St Paul’s Cathedral. The food was undoubtedly better than Soho House and the terrace is around four times the size of Shoreditch House. There’s also the legendary vault bar, housed in the original Midland Bank strongroom (which stays open pretty much until you leave), a spa, pool, hammam and 24-hour gym with its own boxing ring. When you stay with The Ned as a hotel guest, you get temporary membership for the time you are there.

But are all members in finance?

No, according to a founding member, just one third of members at The Ned are finance. The roof felt less corporate than downstairs – a few suits, glamorous couples, a bride and groom for some added quirk and the odd celebrity (even if it was founder Nick Jones showing James Corden around).

Best bits for members?

Most people will say The Vault bar. They’ve managed to transform the Midland Bank’s original strongroom lined with 3,000 safety boxes into a cosy, somewhat debaucherous den. Yet on a Tuesday night we didn’t get to see it in full swing, so it’s the rooftop for us – it’s rare to get that type of space in London.

What are the rooms like?

Opulent and luxurious with a distinctly 1930s vibe. Think deep purples and reds with fringed lamps, art deco furniture and chandeliers. It’s still the type of pinch-me place for those that don’t often go to hotels but clearly designed with the modern well-travelled banker in mind. There’s even a crash pad room for super short stays. Rooms are small but swanky and prioritise the gigantic, cloud-like double bed. Bathrooms are luxurious, some featuring stand alone baths, but most a heavenly rain-shower. Forgot your Lanvin Pocket Scarf or High Power Spanx? Order it from the Net-a-Porter and Mr Porter room service and it’ll be with you in minutes.

Are there any teething issues?

For the size of the place, you’d expect there to be some, but surprisingly The Ned seems to run mostly without a hitch. Service at the rooftop restaurant was impeccable, rooms spotless, and room brochures and collatoral perfectly explain the lay of the land. If we were being harsh we’d say two things. Check in needs work: it’s confusing across the hall and there was a queue of about six people, complaining loudly. Bar service needs work: with so many seated areas, orders get lost or forgotten and we waited around 15 minutes for a G&T.

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