As soon as I ease into the swimming pool on floor -2, all the other bathers get out.
Am I not wearing the right sort of trunks? Should I be wearing trunks at all in this glamourpuss creation from Nick Jones’s Soho House team?
Right now, The Ned, a former Midland Bank, is the hottest hotel in Britain, largely because the sleeping part (252 rooms) makes up just a fraction of the action.
The Inspector praised the meticulous restoration of the former bank’s 92 green verdite marble columns (pictured)
Positioned next to the Bank of England in the heart of the City of London, there are nine restaurants, bars all over the place, a massive gym, vast spa, manicure rooms, hair salons and staff clearly recruited for their looks.
The crowning glory in this Grade I-listed Art Deco masterpiece, designed by Sir Edwin ‘Ned’ Lutyens in 1924, is the rooftop, with stupendous views, a restaurant, bars and open-air pool. The cost of the makeover? A mere £200 million.
We are shown to our ‘medium-size’ room (£250 without breakfast) by a young man who could easily be a male model. He offers us a quick tour of some of The Ned’s main attractions.
‘Yes, please,’ says my wife, a little too eagerly. ‘We can probably manage,’ I splutter, but it’s a lost cause and we are soon tucked up with Mr Adonis in one of the original lifts heading for the Vault Bar in the basement, where gold bullion was once stored.
Back in our room, we admire the Persian rug, huge sleigh bed, drinks tray and generous supplies of Cowshed bathroom goodies, including no fewer than three condoms in a little pouch.
Well, yes, the whole ensemble does have an aphrodisiacal air about it — yet most of the decor is dark. Brown is the new white. We’ve come full circle, helped by the meticulous restoration of the former bank’s 92 green verdite marble columns.
The Grade I-listed Art Deco masterpiece, designed by Sir Edwin ‘Ned’ Lutyens in 1924, also boasts a lavish refurbished saloon
We eat outdoors in the rooftop restaurant. Service is slow, the meat a little gristly, but it’s early days and we’re in giddy mode.
After a nightcap back down in the former Banking Hall, we make for bed, looking forward to watching a late-night news bulletin. But the telly doesn’t work.
I dial zero on the Bakelite repro telephone and an engineer comes up. He can’t fix it and says he needs reinforcements. None arrives, so I ring again and say we can survive without the TV.
At checkout, a note has been put on the system about this unfortunate but hardly life-threatening blip. The duty manager apologises and says he will knock 50 per cent off our bill. That’s impressive. The Ned gets a nod from me.
27 Poultry, London EC2R 8AJ
020 3828 2000, thened.com
Doubles £150, room only