As soon as I heard about this collaboration between Soho House and the Sydell Group (owners of the Line and Nomad hotels in the States) I knew I had to stay here. Not only am I a massive fan of Soho House, I’m also a huge lover of all things Art Deco and this hotel is based in what was a former Midland Bank building designed by Sir Edwin (‘Ned’) Lutyens in a1924. It is no wonder then that it is a Grade 1 listed building, meaning much of it is kept in the Edwardian style, including the 252 rooms, the main banking hall (which is now a banqueting hall) and the original bank vaults!
The first thing that struck me as we walked in was the enormity of the place and the second was the definite feeling that you had stepped back in time (helped along by the 1920’s style music coming from the central, circular stage). It definitely has the ‘wow’ factor. On this floor they have 7 restaurants and a bar; Cecconi’s (a Venetian brasserie), Millie’s Lounge (British food), The Nickel Bar (American staples & classic cocktails), Zobler’s Deli (New York style deli), Kaia (Asian-Pacific), Cafe Sou (Parisian-style cafe), Malibu Kitchen (Californian food) and Lutyen’s Grill (steakhouse for members and hotel guests only).
We dined at Kaia (which I would highly recommend) and Millie’s Lounge.
If you’re an interiors/architecture junkie you’ll love looking at all the details. If you’re eating or drinking on this floor but not staying, make sure you head downstairs to get a glimpse of the security vault (I apologise for the pic quality – you’re not allowed to take photos in member areas!) and the ladies (or gents) loos!
To really appreciate this place though, you need to stay. We had booked a large room:
Although the fittings and fixtures were beautiful, we really felt that this room should have been in the medium category and felt quite disappointed as the pictures on the website had depicted a four poster bed, chandeliers and high ceilings, (altogether something a lot grander).
I have noticed that they now have more room categories and more photos so it should be more clear as to what kind of room you’re booking.
We were then shown two Heritage Suites to take our pick from. Both were very nice and on a higher floor so had bigger windows, higher ceilings, more light and space. The first was lovely but we decided on room 558 as it was more open-plan.
Because it’s a listed building all the rooms are different, so if you are after something in particular it’s worth noting on the booking form (I’ll definitely do this next time).
The most important thing about staying is that you get access to all the best bits! We first headed up to the rooftop for a couple of cocktails.
This is such a wonderful place to spend a few hours. With views over the city and fun furnishings it reminded me of Shoreditch House yet it still manages to have its own spin.
We then headed downstairs to check out the three basement levels. As soon as we stepped out of the lift on Basement 1 we fell head-over-heels for this incredible De Gournay wallpaper which you have to see to believe.
Apparently it depicts the journey of Christopher Columbus. It’s hard to capture but the wallpaper actually shimmers, it’s just stunning!
This basement level is the pampering level complete with Cowshed, Cheeky Nails and Barbershop.
Also on this level is the lounge bar.
It is actually a series of 3 connecting bank vaults complete with 3,800 of the original safety deposit boxes! I really don’t think anyone could walk in here without a smile on their face.
Basement 2 has another lounge/bar, an amazing swimming pool (which I would highly recommend a swim in) and the most incredible changing rooms. (They were still working on the hammam, steam room and sauna.)
I didn’t take any photos of Basement 3 but it has a state-of-the-art gym, boxing ring, weights area and spinning room. It feels really old-school and fun.
And lastly, not to be missed is the 6th floor:
This floor has some amazing events spaces including the incredible Tapestry Room. The tapestry features 120 different coats of arms from British cities and was made around 1929. The beautiful walnut cabinets in the grand hallway were designed by Lutyens himself and made especially to hold the directors’ top hats and canes!
We really loved the Ned and promised ourselves we’d be back. There is so much to do here it really is a destination in itself, however if you do venture out I’d recommend a meal at the Michelin-starred Angler – the fish is the best I’ve eaten in a long time.
For more info and booking of rooms/restaurants click here.
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