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and probed Jones to ensure he and his team made the most of the building, encouraging him to look to its banking heritage for design cues. Hence, much use has been made of the banking hall’s original walnut-panelled counters, used by tellers, repurposed as bar counters and dividers between the different restaurants. Once bustling with bank cus- tomers, the space will now buzz with some 850 restaurant customers at any one time. Meanwhile, in the basement, the bank vaults feature a lounge bar, where more than 3,000 original stainless steel, engraved safety deposit boxes, which once stored gold bullion depos- its of £335m (£15b in today’s money) and two metre-wide door have been retained.


Grown-up style The design of the Ned is Soho House through and through, but with a more grown-up, less shabby chic focus than anything it has previ- ously undertaken. The in-house design team of Adam Geco, Alice Lund and Rebecca King has led the process of creating a hotel that is inspired by the faded glamour of a transat- lantic ocean liner during the 1930s, the era in which Lutyens’ building originally opened. The bedrooms are designed to represent the hierarchy of a 1930s bank, with a cosy room featuring floral wallpaper indicating the sort of place a mail clerk might live (from £250 per night). The medium rooms (from £298), which are full of Art Deco touches, with a walnut king-size bed and floral glass chandelier, may have accommodated a junior banker. Meanwhile, the large rooms (from £383), where a director may have lived, feature a super king-size four-poster bed and a mahogany enclosed bath in the bedroom, inspired by Lord Bute’s tub at Cardiff Castle. At one end of the bedroom scale are the crash pads – 15 of them – which under-30s can book for £150. At 17-19 square metres, they offer much more than the smallest rooms available in many a budget hotel at a similar price point in the capital, and include a marble mosaic bathroom with a walk-in rainforest shower and the full range of Cowshed products.


Ultimate luxury Gareth Banner (left) and Nick Jones in one of the hotel’s large bedrooms


historical building, the Ned has many subtle touches. It is an extraordinary property that I fell in love with. Our job was to help Soho House best use the space – something other developers had not been able to work out.” Zobler’s widespread experience has included turning an early 20th century for- mer office building into the 168-bedroom NoMad in New York and creating the 388-bed- room the Line within a 1960s brutalist build- ing in Los Angeles. However, the Ned, named after Lutyens’ nickname, was by far the largest project he has been involved with so far. “The trick in a building of this size is to make a large space appear intimate and per-


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sonal. Both Nick and I share the same philoso- phy of wanting to create intimate hotels with clubby spaces that delight the guests.” The partnership has been highly com- plementary, with Soho House injecting its renowned creative flair and Sydell provid- ing the skillset of the big developer who is renowned for completing projects on time and on budget. “To do that for a project of the size of the


Ned, where we are opening within two months of our original deadline and where the quality is at the very highest level, is phenomenal,” says Zobler.


Throughout the process, Zobler has pushed


The top-priced room is the Lutyens Suite, which, when compared with the most expen- sive suites in London’s luxury hotels, is competitively priced at a starting rate of £1,998. Located on the seventh floor, the suite offers a 100 square metre space across two bedrooms, a lounge with an eight-seat corner sofa, bar and dining space. It is, however, the banking hall, with its 92 green verdite marble columns and the previously mentioned walnut counters, which creates the biggest wow factor of the project. Together with the fourth and fifth floors, the ground floor is Grade I-listed and there- fore little could be done to alter its key features. English Heritage, says Jones, has been very realistic in enabling the building to be made practical for today’s world, while


28 April 2017 | The Caterer | 21





PHOTOGRAPHY BY BEN MEADOWS


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