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Business N


ick Jones never intended to open a hotel in the City of London. The capi- tal’s financial centre is not a typical loca- tion for an outpost of Soho House & Co, the company founded by Jones 22 years ago and renowned for attracting guests and members from the media and entertainment industries. However, the moment he walked into the former Sir Edwin Lutyens-designed Midland Bank building on Poultry, just a minute’s walk from the Bank of England, Jones was bowled over by what he saw.


“The banking floor was jaw-droppingly beau- tiful,” he recalls. “I clambered up on the roof, with its views over St Paul’s, and immediately saw the huge potential the property offered as a hotel and collection of restaurants.” Jones, named by The Caterer as the 2015


Hotelier of the Year, had been tipped off about the building by the landlord of Little House, one of 18 members’ clubs owned and operated by Soho House & Co worldwide. “I wasn’t particularly keen to go along, but I didn’t want to appear rude,” he recalls. It proved to be a fortuitous visit, leading to the opening five years later of the Ned, unques- tionably one of London’s most ambitious hotel launches for some time. Featuring 252 bed- rooms, nine restaurants, two swimming pools – one on the rooftop and one in the basement – a spa, members’ club and much more, the Ned is a beautiful, multifaceted beast, which required the help of a partner to create. After speaking to Ron Burkle, the American investor who acquired a 60% stake in Soho House & Co in 2012, Jones met with Andrew Zobler, the founder and chief executive of Sydell Group. Burkle is also the main finan- cial backer of Sydell Group, a company that


The Ned


27-35 Poultry, London EC2R 8AJ 020 3828 2000 www.thened.com


Owner Soho House & Co and Sydell Group Chief executive, Soho House & Co Nick Jones Chief executive, Sydell Group Andrew Zobler Managing director Gareth Banner Executive chef (production), Zobler’s, Kaia, Café Sou Ewart Wardhaugh Executive chef, Millie’s, Lutyens Grill, Nickel Bar Luke Rayment Executive chef, Cecconi’s, Malibu Kitchen, Ned’s Club Upstairs, the Vault Michele Nargi Bedrooms 252 Cecconi’s Established Soho House brand, with sister restaurants in Mayfair, Berlin, Istanbul, Miami Beach and West Hollywood Café Sou Parisian-inspired outlet, serving classic French dishes Zobler’s New York-style Jewish deli offering smoked fish and Rueben sandwiches, with a dessert counter Millie’s Lounge British brasserie with a 24-hour menu


20 | The Caterer | 28 April 2017


Malibu Kitchen Californian-inspired restaurant using Mediterranean ingredients, with a strong focus on nutrition The Nickel Bar Traditional American diner with an all-day menu Kaia Asia-Pacific-inspired restaurant serving healthy food, such as raw fish salads Lutyens Grill American steakhouse featuring trolley and guéridon service for members and hotel guests Private events Six banqueting rooms and two terraces. Includes the Tapestry Room, featuring the largest tapestry in England when installed in 1932. Spa Eight treatment rooms, beauty parlour, Cheeky nail bar and Ned’s barbershop Ned’s Club Open to members and hotel guests. Incorporates Ned’s Club Upstairs, which is located on the rooftop with a pool, restaurant and two bars in the Princes Street and Poultry Domes. The basement will house the Vault bar and lounge, Ned’s Active (gym, boxing gym, Pilates and yoga studio and spinning studio) and Ned’s Club Relax (20m swimming pool, hammam, sauna and steam room).


has experience of grand renovation projects through the opening of six hotels in the US during the past five years. “That was the start of our collaboration and


it’s been fantastic,” enthuses Jones. “We love each other more than we did at the beginning, which is unusual when you’re involved in a project of this scale.” While Soho House & Co has extensive experi-


ence of developing a variety of hospitality busi- nesses – as well as the members’ clubs (12 of which feature bedrooms and welcome non- members), it has also created 16 restaurant brands – nothing comes close to the scale of the Ned, which covers nearly 30,000 square metres.


Large in scale and delivery “Working with Andrew has been a great education,” says Jones. “I’ve learned so much about how to manage a project of great com- plexity, whether it has been how to install elevators that work for the 21st century within a 1920s building or create eight restaurants within the old banking hall. Everything about the hotel is large in scale and delivery.” For Zobler, a lawyer turned hotel developer, the attraction of the Ned was immediately apparent. “I love old buildings with prov- enance,” he says. “As well as being a grand


www.thecaterer.com The Vault Andrew Zobler

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