Hot Hotels: The Ned, London
Author: Chloe Sachdev
The bank vaults have been opened, the money splashed about. After a four-year renovation costing a rumoured £200 million, The Ned opens this month in a disused 11-storey bank in London's central Square Mile. Developed by the London-based Soho House and the American Sydell Group, it's a 252-room hotel, a members' club and a restaurant hub - 850 seats in seven eateries plus three bars.
The Vault Room.
When British architect Sir Edwin "Ned" Lutyens built the Midland Bank building in 1924, it was one of the largest banks in the world. (He also designed the British embassy in Washington DC, and Lutyens Bungalow Zone in Delhi.) The trappings of once-vast wealth are apparent the moment you step into the foyer. Original features include 92 verdite columns, acres of marble, ornate wood panelling and intricate ceiling mouldings, plush carpets, opulent upholstery - bring on the velvet - and antiques from the 1920s and '30s.
Guest rooms span 13 categories. The smallest, The Crash Pad, is offered at a discount for under 30s (from £180), while the largest - the two-bedroom Lutyens Suite (from £1,995) - has direct access to a spectacular rooftop complex with views from St Paul's to the Gherkin. An overnight stay grants all guests access to several members-only perks. These include entry to The Ned's Club on the rooftop, a gym with a 20-metre pool, boxing ring and a hammam, and a subterranean late-night bar called the Vault Room. Fun fact: its 3,000 safety-deposit boxes stood in for Fort Knox in the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger.
There's no shortage of treats accessible to the public, from the Cowshed spa to the restaurants on the ground floor; they include Cecconi's, sister restaurant to the Mayfair original, Café Sou, a Parisian-inspired café, a New York-style Jewish deli called Zobler's and a health-focused Californian kitchen. Add live jazz in the banking hall for full theatrical effect.
The Ned, 27 Poultry, London EC2R 8A, thened.com