Soho House and NoMad team make dramatic splash into City of London

The teams behind prestigious lifestyle companies Soho House Group and Sydell Group have joined forces to bring a big sprinkling of Mayfair glamour to the City of London with their late April unveiling of The Ned.

The showstopper feature of the 11-floored building, originally built in 1924 by esteemed British architect Sir Edwin 'Ned' Lutyens for the Midland Bank, is the dazzling entrance hall which serves as a hub housing seven bars and restaurants and a stage for live performances in the midst of it all.

"The Ground Floor where everyone can come is pretty spectacular," says Soho House founder Nick Jones, citing it as his favorite space in the new venture and observing that no-one would design an equivalently grand space now as it would never get through a corporate boardroom.

"And I think that's the beauty of it - that there's a team of people who could see the vision of what it could be without constantly looking at the fact that it's never been done before," he added.

Jones' partner at The Ned is Andrew Zobler, founder of the Sydell Group, known for trendy U.S. hotel chains including NoMad, LINE and Freehand.

Cecconi's Italian restaurant at The Ned
Courtesy of The Ned
Cecconi's Italian restaurant at The Ned

Despite an initial reluctance to visit the venue due to its location, Jones was quickly converted.

"I was being polite so I came along but as soon as I walked in my jaw dropped and I thought 'My god, this is amazing'," revealed Jones, crediting the key shareholder and partner that he shares with Zobler, American billionaire investor Ron Burkle, as the bright spark who brought them together on the hugely ambitious project.

"Rather than creating different spaces than Lutyens the architect intended, we worked with the way he divided up the building and made it all work for the things we wanted to do," explained Zobler,

The venue is divided into areas for members and those for the general public with the majority of dining and drinking spaces, as well as the hotel rooms, open to all. Unfortunately for the non-members, however, two of the most dramatic parts remain behind the proverbial velvet rope.

The Vault bar and lounge at The Ned
Courtesy of The Ned
The Vault bar and lounge at The Ned

This includes the rooftop whose elegant bars and infinity swimming pool enjoy a panoramic view over the City of London and its iconic landmarks such as St. Paul's cathedral and The Shard.

The Vault Lounge – tucked away behind the twenty-tonne, 2-metre thick door that inspired a memorable scene in James Bond 007's Goldfinger – now showcases a late-night 1920s-themed cocktail bar, decorated with features reminiscent of the intrepid travelers of the era.

In place of the designer wallpaper which graces the hotel rooms, the bar's walls are lined with over 3,000 of the original customer safety deposit boxes – just one of the many touches in The Ned which incorporate the Midland Bank's original features.

But is all of this enough to lure the Mayfair crowd eastwards?

"Well we're certainly making a big bet that they do come but I think from the last few days when we've started to open to the public and people are coming in, the excitement is really palpable…There's just a sense of a happening," said Zobler, adding that doing something smaller would not have succeeded in having the same impact.

A room at The Ned
Courtesy of The Ned
A room at The Ned

Jones and Zobler told CNBC that the joint project equally incorporates elements from both companies and the strong rapport between the two leads to the obvious question of whether this is the first of many collaborations.

Let's wait and see, was the sense gained from cryptic responses from both sides.

"In some ways our plan is not to have a plan…We fall in love with buildings, we fall in love with people and with opportunities….It just seemed to be a perfect opportunity," said Zobler, whose group - which only launched in 2005 - is set to add several more large properties in the U.S. to its award-winning stable in the year ahead.

Meantime Soho House's Jones says it has been a "really useful and exciting opportunity" to work on The Ned as one of several grand scale projects for the group.

"Soho House has more houses opening this year, more houses opening next year, our membership is going more and more global - it's an exciting time," he enthused.

The Ned membership cost is £3500 per annum ($4509), £2500 for founding members, and £1500 for under 30s.

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