The Ned | London Soul

by Mui-Hai Chu

Why stay at just a hotel? In London, a city with a multitude of hotel options that can positively confound, there will seem at times, no shortage of a great hotel. But there are the hotels that are just places to sleep. Albeit luxe places, opulent beds, overly perfumed entryways, places with absolutely no soul, places that feel abundant with soul (read: ghosts). Where does one begin? Where does one rest and exist and live? Well, The Ned. Probably one of the most enjoyable hotels in the world and I wish every city had one. Because, the most striking thing about The Ned isn't the palatial lobby that transports one to a different era and it's however many feet high marble columns, it's impeccable design, it's 8 different restaurants that, at least from the 2 we tried, were exceedingly delicious, or it's award-winning Vault Bar that feels so clandestine and refined, or it's decadent rooftop pool overlooking St. Paul's Cathedral; it's really the juxtaposition of all this with a sense of community.

There's this idea when traveling, that one should immerse themselves, become one of the locals. And let's just admit something and get it out of the way, there are the travel blues. After an exhaustive journey, one doesn't want to venture far at all. Well, with The Ned, one doesn't need to if one doesn't want to (though getting out is ridiculously easy as Bank Station is just steps outside.) The city is literally there. There's a built-in community, being as The Ned is also one of the poshest clubs in the city. So, a typical spa visit isn't just generic massage and lay about and saunter back to the room. You'll meet people who swim daily laps in the extensive subterranean marble pool after work, or be able to drop into a cocktail party in the lounge and mingle a bit, and relax in the traditional Moroccan hammam (the only hotel in London that can boast that and it's quite the gem), and take a shower in the very efficient changing room where you'll run into more interesting and productive members of London society. 

And just some cold hard facts now that are of interest. The Ned used to be the headquarters for Midlands Bank and was completed in 1939 by British architect Edwin Lutyens. It therefore sits in London’s financial district. The redesign was carried out by Alice Lund, Rebecca King, and Adam Greco. There are 252 guestrooms, some of which used to be the bank managers’ offices and still contain the original panel and cornicing details from the 30s. If you’re in need of an event space, The Ned has a beautiful one as well, replete with mahogany and tapestried walls. And if anyone is concerned about the state of service, the staff at The Ned are exemplary - genuinely kind, sweet, and attentive people. 

Lastly, and it really is something to marvel at, there is just not one option for a shower gel, but about five. Because why only have an energizing shower when you feel like a relaxing one?! And whoever thinks that a relaxing shower is the same as soothing one, has some life exploration and spiritual examination to do. There are also three different types of shampoos and conditioners, all products by Cowshed. And for the eco-minded, they are not disposable tiny bottles which litter the world's oceans, so you can sleep in peace at night that you’re not contributing to landfill and littering the world’s oceans.

27 Poultry, London EC2R 8AJ, UK | +44 20 3828 2000