24 Hours At The Ned | The Ned, 27 Poultry, London
Shortly after I’d booked a trip to Paris for our birthdays and Marrekech for an early anniversary treat, Ade declared that he wanted to go to The Ned. Like really wanted to go! Lots of Instagram lusting had been taking place and he wouldn’t stop banging on about it. I was slightly surprised to be honest, he’s usually much more of a humble guy, normally preferring to stay away from where the beautiful and privileged go. He even went as far as finding out how much membership would be – a LOT is how much.
The Ned is the latest opening from Soho House, housed in a former Midland Bank – a vast building designed by Sir Edwin ‘Ned’ Lutyens in 1924 that’s been standing empty for years. At the time of writing, it’s the place to be – people falling over themselves to get in there and start their gloating on their Insta feeds.
Our actual anniversary was coming up and he’d been having a pretty tough time at work, so I decided maybe he deserved his night in The Ned – despite us having spent a small fortune on trips away lately (we’re very much fans of the phrase ‘life is too short’.) As luck would have it, I received a statement informing me of some cash in a bank account that I’d totally had forgotten about – I am terrible with money so this kind of situation usually happens in reverse. So I decided to make it a surprise for him – packing an overnight bag for us both and getting to the hotel before we met to check in. Typically I had a meeting that afternoon, otherwise The Ned would have been my office for the day – poolside, of course.
Ade had guessed where I was taking him but what he hadn’t guessed was that he would be staying there. As we boarded the lift to go up to the rooftop he asked ‘Are we allowed up here?’ ‘Er, yeah…’ I replied, handing him a small Biscuiteers box. The box contained not only a personalised biscuit (it was our sixth wedding anniversary for which the theme is sugar) but also rather handily, the box was the perfect size to slip our room key on the top (this part was pure luck.)
His face when he realised what was going on was pure shock, joy and elation. ‘We’re staying here?’ he asked in disbelief. As the doors opened up to the top floor, his eyes welled up and had he not had to get out the lift, I think he would have burst into tears. I hadn’t seen my husband this happy in a long, long time – it had well and truly been worth it keeping it from him. It’s such a shame this couldn’t work the other way around, there’s no way on this earth that he’d know what to pack for me in an overnight bag anyway. Perhaps I should leave a list somewhere just in case he wants to surprise me (hint hint.)
It was our night – we bagged poolside seats where we could look across to St Paul’s and catch the last of the day’s rays. However, I had forgotten to pack his sunglasses so all he could do was squint. A couple of cocktails (all £10.50) and a bottle of aptly named The Old Nag rosé (£26) later, it was time to show him our room before dinner at Kaia. This Asian-Pacific-inspired restaurant at one of nine Grade I-listed banking counters within The Ned was the only one I could get a table/couple of stools for at such short notice.
The Ned is an absolute maze when it comes to finding your hotel room, we ended up using the service lift and probably walking where we shouldn’t. A ‘cosy’ room (£255 including breakfast) was what we had – the next one up from a ‘crash pad’ that states it’s suited for under 30s – that rules us out then. Small it’s not, there was definitely room to swing a cat – probably a substantial litter of cats actually. A gorgeous room with a queen-size bed, Edwardian furniture and bespoke floral wallpaper. We had everything we needed and lots we didn’t, the bathroom was drowning in full-sided Cowshed products, I could have spent hours getting through them all. I’d emailed beforehand asking if they’d mind lending a hand with the sugar-based anniversary theme and they were more than happy to help with some pretty hand-made biscuits in our room.
Unfortunately, at this point, we didn’t have the time to full enjoy the room’s luxury. Off to dinner for us – it was already 8.45pm so time was ticking on. At Kaia our table wasn’t ready so we were guided to the Parisian-style Café Sou across the room where we ordered a glass of Merlot La Prade, Languedoc (£7.50). Two minutes later our table was ready, next to a couple who wasted no time in getting chatting to us. Luckily, we weren’t after a candlelit, romantic meal for two as we ended spending our anniversary evening as a foursome (not like that…). Beau (what a name!) and Lucy were great company and we found several random things in common. I truly believe situations like this arise for a reason and for one reason or another, we are meant to cross paths with certain people.
The food was great and obviously created with Instagram in mind for it was very photogenic and colourful. Especially the Ahu Tuna with avocado, chilli and pineapple (£12) poke bowl – unfortunately the beauty of it was let down when it came to flavour, for I found it a tad bland.
The Crispy prawns with wasabi mayo (£12) on the other hand was great – simple but well cooked and perfectly seasoned. Asparagus, sesame seeds, honey dressing (£6) came in a generously sized portion, there’s nothing worse than paying a fiver for three stems. Black cod always feels like such a blow out so we treated ourselves to the Black cod with tarragon miso (£22), plus our new buddies said how great it was – it didn’t disappoint. The all-day menu was fairly short with just two options for dessert so we had them both. My fave Mochi balls (£6) that I could eat forever and Robata roasted pineapple with a coconut sorbet and miso caramel (£6).
By 11, our new dinner pals were taking about going dancing which was our idea of hell. We had less energetic ideas – a drink (or three) in the Vault downstairs, which like the rooftop, is for members and hotel guests only. I’d definitely drunk enough by now so but couldn’t end the evening without a nightcap in this unique and amazing basement bar. An absolutely beautiful unique space with a real air of exclusivity, we felt that we were walking into the set of a vintage Bond film.
I don’t know what time we left and weaved our way back to our room, nor how long it took to us to find it. But I do know there wasn’t really anyone else around, a far cry from how we found the lobby at 6pm – which was like walking into a crowded train station (albeit Grand Central Station), not the exclusive look and feel we were anticipating from this 3,000 square metre space.
Sensibly, we left the mini bar alone although we still awoke in the early hours feeling and looking like death. The shower I’d been so looking forward to felt more like punishment than pleasure. I couldn’t eat breakfast which upset me immensely, missing a new meal experience due to over-drinking makes me feel incredibly sorry for myself. As Ade tucked into a Broadway special (£7) – eggs, pastrami ‘bacon’, cheddar cheese and pickled green tomato on challah roll at Zobler’s – the New York-style deli I could only sip at my mint tea.
Checkout time is 12pm but the angels at The Ned allowed us to use the facilities for the rest of the day, I think they could see from the state of us that we posed no threat of wracking up a big bill on our room and doing a runner. We climbed on the first sun bed/granny mattress that we saw and promptly fell asleep – a member of the waiting team kindly draping a blanket over us – those guys are just brilliant. Next to the beautiful people parading their perfect bodies in their designer swimwear, we must have looked like total misfits but were never treated any differently or that we were outstaying our welcome. Just as well as there was no way in hell I could possibly get on public transport with a head full of cotton wool and a stomach that hated me.
I wasted another dining opportunity too, The Ned Club Upstairs had a beautiful restaurant that just screamed holidays – I was dying to eat there. Instead we ate a little (but lovely) Salami pizette (£7) on the comfort of our mattress – sorry, I mean sunbed. The people watching/listening continued, a bunch of glamorous girls talking about the most intimate details of their lives next to us provided a brilliant soap opera as I lay there pretending to sleep. Sadly, they were so engrossed in themselves, I don’t think they would have noticed anyway.
At about 4pm, we reluctantly dragged our pathetic but happy selves out of The Ned and back to the real world. A takeaway on the sofa a few hours later felt a million miles away from what had been a truly brilliant (almost) 24 hours.
5 Things You Need To Know About The Ned:
- Restaurants open to all are: Cecconi’s, Zobler’s Delicatessen, Cafe Sou, Millie’s Lounge, Malibu Kitchen, The Nickel Bar and Kaia. Lutyens Grill, Ned’s Club Upstairs and Ned’s Club Downstairs are for members or hotel guests only.
- You don’t need to bring hardly anything if you’re staying the night – they have everything from earplugs to phone chargers. There’s a huge range of spa and grooming facilities on-site too.
- If you get breakfast included with your room, you’ll find it’s very unclear to what you’re actually entitled to – ask guest relations for clarity.
- Food and drink is actually pretty reasonably priced and service charge won’t set you back as much as you’d expect.
- Don’t miss the Sunday Feast from 12pm-5pm at Millie’s Lounge – great value.
Visit their site here
27 Poultry, London EC2R 8AJ
Telephone: + 44 (0)20 3828 2000
Nearest station: Bank (1 min walk)
We paid for everything ourselves at The Ned, this does not affect our review in any way. We always write with complete honesty regardless.