The Ned: Inside the historic bank turned ultimate leisure destination


Walk down the streets of Bank on a Friday evening and you’ll barely see a soul in sight. It wasn’t always this way. Home to the capital’s traditional banking district and an epicentre of law and order thanks to the nearby Old Bailey, pre-pandemic the area would come to life at 6pm, with the end of the working week heralding plenty of pints, decadent debauchery and glamorous dinners, enticing those who had deep enough pockets (or corporate credit cards) to spend, spend, spend. 

Alas, it’s now 2023; three years since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and the world’s business districts are still reeling from the havoc it caused. Like many, the suited-and-booted workforce of Bank have not fully returned to the five-days-per-week rota. Here, and across London, Thursdays are the new Fridays – didn’t you know? And while that’s all well and good, it’s not hard to imagine the impact this has had on businesses relying on the post-5pm pub boom. 

Unless, of course, you happen to be The Ned. Innately effervescent and endlessly opulent, the grand building does not just serve its immediate neighbours for after-work drinks, but the entire population of the city thanks to its many iterations. It’s an all-encompassing party palace; an enduring leisure destination for London’s social set; a seven-restaurant-strong foodie paradise; a relaxing spa sanctuary, wedding venue and, of course, the prime place to rest your head whether you’re staycation-ing or travelling. 

When I arrive at The Ned on a Friday evening, it’s drizzling in that typical British summer fashion. It’s not quite 5pm: a time you’d expect the corporate elite to be making a beeline for the bar or for nomadic workers, who have remained on the same green paisley banquette all day, to seamlessly change their order from herbal tea to an aperitivo. But there is not a laptop, suit or tie in sight when I walk through the building’s entrance into the buzzing Dining Hall, proving August’s inclement weather hasn’t dampened social spirits. I have, it appears, stepped into an everlasting cocktail hour in a world away from work, attracting both Londoners and tourists to experience the famously attentive service and dulcet tones of the jazz band playing on the hall’s marble podium.

The ground floor, known as the Dining Hall, is undoubtedly impressive. With high ceilings illuminated by faded skylights and over 90 verdite marble columns sectioning the 300sqm, monochrome-tiled space, it’s hard not to be swept away by the grandeur of it all. Formerly home to the Midland Bank, this hall is the gateway to unlocking the rest of the Grade-I listed, 11-storey building which reopened under its current guise in 2017 after a £200m refurbishment. Now a joint venture between Soho House and American partners Sydell Group, The Ned’s interior design is in keeping with the building’s Greco Deco style and complements the flourishes installed by architect Sir Edwin ‘Ned’ Lutyens – hence the name – when the building first opened in 1924. 

the ned london

The Vault

The building’s history and architecture (it was likely the most grand bank in the world when it opened) have been thoughtfully preserved. The aforementioned Dining Hall is divided by booth seating in wood-panelled bank teller cabins, while the underground Vault Bar sits behind the bank’s original 20-tonne metal door, with the 3,800 original safety deposit boxes still lining the walls. 

In its modern iteration, The Ned has three strings to its bow: a hotel, a private members’ club and a series of spaces accessible to all. The Ned Club, which commands an annual membership of more than £4,000, grants access to everything from the Vault Bar to the rooftop pool and you’ll often see club veterans beelining for the lift to access the private spaces. Much of this exclusivity opens up to guests who have booked one of the 252 bedrooms, ranging from intimate luxury lodgings to larger suites. 

Classically decorated and leaning into its Edwardian roots, rooms are equipped with soft linens on huge pine beds, glass chandeliers, upholstered chaise lounges and velvet seats – the perfect place to take advantage of the well-stocked mini bar. Housed in an antique cupboard and sprawling across a crystal tray, pick from Cotswolds Gin, Grey Goose vodka and Camden Hells lager (to name a few) while availing yourself of the high-tech AV system. 

If you can pull yourself away from your bedroom, I recommend making the most of your key, which unlocks the doors to The Ned Club’s gym and spa too. Housed in the building’s basement, the spa opens up to a golden-hued oasis furnished with oriental charm. It’s centred around the 20m indoor pool and features the Club Room (no laptops allowed), changing rooms equipped with upscale amenities (think top-of-the-range curlers and straighteners for women, as well as hair dryers for men) and eight treatment rooms. 

Grooming is taken seriously here, with an adjacent barbershop, hair salon and nail parlour primed to pamper. Treatments are at the hands of experienced therapists, ranging from the signature massages (which I thoroughly recommend if you’re after an hour-long relaxation that leaves you feeling totally rejuvenated) to maternity treatments, and advanced Dermalux LED Phototherapy facials to brow sculpting. 

Where to eat, I hear you say? Take your pick from 10 establishments dotted across the 11-storey building, including seven restaurants and three bars. Pan-Asian influences fuse with traditional Japanese cuisine at Kaia, situated in the far corner of the ground-floor Dining Hall and serving poké bowls, robata grills and sushi from its raw bar. Directly opposite you’ll find an outpost of Notting Hill’s Electric Diner, fitted with an eat-in counter and plush red leather booths for devouring classic American comfort food. Elsewhere, discover the Californian-inspired Malibu Kitchen, old-school Lutyens Grill (located in the former bank manager’s office and renowned for a mean steak) and Ned’s Feast, serving limitless Sunday lunches, oysters, lobsters and salads. Simply put, if you’re craving it, The Ned almost certainly has it. 

The two most popular restaurants in the Dining Hall, however, are Cecconi’s and Millie’s Lounge. The latter is the ideal location for brunch, serving a selection of English favourites as well as fruit platters, house-baked granola and fresh coffee (which you might need after a night of dancing around the podium). If you’re looking to while away the hours of an evening, book a table at modern Italian Cecconi’s, which you probably already know from its original site off Bond Street. The perfect late-night bolthole, delectable dishes are served to low-lit walnut booths, with some even boasting views of the live bands. You simply can’t go wrong with the handmade pasta, featuring favourites such as buttery tonnarelli cacio e pepe and the more adventurous agnolotti del plin with black truffle alongside heaped plates of zucchini fritti, calamari and beef carpaccio. 

The commuter crowd may have turned its back on The City for now, but paired with an espresso martini or seasonal cocktail, there’s nowhere else I want to spend a Friday night. 

Rooms from £306 per night, visit

Read more: The expert’s guide to staying healthy on holiday

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