Christian Stan, at 1 May. 17, in City Hotels, Hotels, News

The transformation of London’s former Midland Bank into one of the city’s most spectacular heritage hotels is complete.
London-born Soho House & Co has partnered with US Sydell Group (behind boutique properties such as The NoMad in New York and The Line in Los Angeles) to create a 252-room hotel and members’ club in The City, which just opened in late April.

The Grade-I listed, 11-storey building was designed in 1924 by Sir Edwin ‘Ned’ Lutyens, the British architect also responsible for Manchester’s outpost of the Midland Bank, now the Gotham Hotel, and The Salutation in Sandwich, a country mansion that is today a B&B by Steph and Dom of Channel 4’s Gogglebox.

The Ned’s listed status has meant a respectful and light-handed renovation, with many original features – from the 92 African verdite columns in the former banking hall, to old ‘safety deposit’ signage in a main stairwell – have remained.

The Grand Banking Hall, the ‘belly’ of the building, has been transformed into a jazzed-up food court-esque space, which will hold eight restaurants – and up to 850 diners. These will include an outpost of Mayfair’s Cecconi’s, an Italian restaurant complete with a globe light-topped and leather-clad bar; Malibu Kitchen, a healthy Californian-inspired eatery; British and American Millie’s which will offer up classics such as fish and chips 24 hours-a-day and Zobler’s, a Jewish-style deli offering the likes of Reuben sandwiches. The old, wood panelled bank tellers’s cabins will now hold booth seating in some of the restaurants.

One restaurant will be dedicated to hotel guests and members only: Lutyens Grill, a classic steak restaurant with gueridon [trolley] service.

Membership (by application only) to Ned’s Club will include access to the Vault Room, located two floors underground. The original 20-tonne door will remain, along with 3,000 original silver safety deposit boxes which line the walls. The vault was previously used in the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger – now it will be a lavish bar serving cocktails and cicchetti, heavy with jewel-toned velvet furnishings, patterned rugs, taxidermy birds and a ribbed walnut bar.

The eighth-floor rooftop – also reserved for members and guests – is home to a 10-metre lap pool lined with Italian marble. Views stretch from St Paul’s Cathedral to the Gherkin. There will also be a restaurant and bar with a retractable glass roof, and two domes – named Poultry and Prince’s Street, after the hotel’s location – which will house cosy bars.

There is also a subterranean spa, complete with 20-metre lap pool in a former vault and a hammam with pink marble sourced from Devon; a gym with boxing ring; and outposts of Cheeky nail bar and Neville barbershop.

Rooms – which span 12 categories – reference the Twenties, Thirties and the golden age of travel and feature a combination of antique pieces and Soho House group’s own furniture line. The Crash Pad, the smallest room available (from £200), will be available for under-30s for a discounted rate while the largest, the Chairman’s Suite (more than £2,000 a night), has direct access to the lobby via a private lift.

There are also Cosy rooms, which hark back to Transatlantic cruiseliners – all wicker bedside tables, drum-top tables, drinks cabinets, Thomas Crapper sinks and velvet draping. A roller from the 1920s was even sourced for the bespoke wallpaper. Medium rooms feature burl oak beds, vintage vanities and chocolate-coloured velvet armchairs, while Large bedrooms have mahogany four-posters, palm tree-shaped chandeliers and a wood-panelled bathtub inspired by the bath in Lord Bute’s Cardiff Castle.

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