Three London hotels where you can live royally
The first famous party-goer who comes to mind upon entering the 3,000-square-metre grand hall at the Ned on a Sunday night is Gatsby. Friends raise flutes of champagne in standing-room only bars against a backdrop of grand, green verdite Corinthian columns; young couples curl into each other on deep red-leather restaurant banquettes; smartly dressed staff carry luggage through the crowd to reception as new arrivals pour in and – in the centre of it all – a trio of flappers sings show tunes on a small circular nickel stage.
The energy is infectious – raucous and riotous in all the right ways. Thanks to a £200-million ($349-million) investment from The Soho House & Co. and the Sydell Group, a building that opened as a bank in 1939 continues on – fittingly – as an ode to extravagance. Even with its eight bars and restaurants, the ground floor is merely one of many spectacles.
So it’s not hard to imagine Prince Harry – in his younger, wilder, pre-Meghan days, of course – spending a rowdy evening here in the city with posh friends. Well, not here on the main floor, but rather in one of the Ned’s exclusive member-only areas – areas you can also access as a guest of the hotel, without having to pay the £3,500 annual fee. Fancy a drink in a quieter atmosphere? Head to the basement for a cocktail in the Vault: Walk through the 20-tonne, two-metre-wide original door and it takes a second to realize the gleaming silver wallpaper is actually row upon row of more than 3,000 safety-deposit boxes. On a warm evening, venture to the Roof Bar and its dazzling views of London’s dramatic skyline. Or head up earlier for a predinner swim in the open-air pool as you stare at the glory of St. Paul’s Cathedral. Yes, this is how the upper-class does weekends.
Your ticket to this world is one of the hotel’s 252 rooms, all decorated with a 1920s/30s style: retro-looking Roberts radio; bars with thick crystal glasses; wrought-iron beds and ornate fabrics. The rooms also come standard with possibly the most extensive array of toiletries and amenities ever, including all the basics plus toothpaste, facial toner, face wash, condoms, a hair straightener and the ability to have a fresh set of clothes delivered – for a fee, of course – through a mini Net-a-Porter/Mr. Porter catalogue.
Because while this hotel is certainly set up for fun that goes past the expected hours – “Crash Pad” is one of the room categories, after all – one thing the upper class apparently does not do is the walk of shame.