Take The Ned, for example. Recently opened in the former Midland Bank building in the heart of the City and named after the building’s architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, The Ned has all the features you might expect of a luxury hotel – elegantly designed rooms, a choice of quality restaurants and a beauty parlour and barber offering pampering treatments. Although many of the facilities are there to be enjoyed by the general public, exclusivity is retained by offering access to 2,401 square metres of space that is dedicated entirely to members and hotel guests.
At the top of the building, members will find a heated rooftop pool and bar with views out to St. Paul’s Cathedral, while behind a 20-tonne, two-metre-wide door that once provided the entrance to the bank’s strongroom and housed gold bullion deposits of £335 million lies The Vault bar and lounge. In the basement sits a state-of-the-art gym, while an indoor pool, sauna, steam room, traditional Moroccan hammam and eight treatment rooms provide peace and tranquillity for those looking to escape from it all. The Ned caters perfectly to the needs of those who frequent the capital on a regular basis and as its creator Nick Jones, founder of the Soho House Group, says, “The challenge was to create intimate moments and the kind of service you’d expect from a smaller place. I hope we’ve done that.”
THE ARTS CLUB
Founded in 1863 as a club for intellectuals with a passion for arts, literature and science and counting Charles Dickens and Franz Liszt among its early patrons, The Arts Club still retains a policy of recruiting members from artistic professions. Having undergone an extensive refurbishment in 2011, this beautiful club in Mayfair’s Dover Street provides a space for its creative and entrepreneurial members to meet, dine and participate in an extensive calendar of musical and cultural events. Naturally, 16 handsome bedrooms and suites – think furnishings from iconic European designers such as Gio Ponti and Art Deco-style bathrooms – are also available for members’ use, with the penthouse arguably the most striking. Featuring two or three-bedroom suites depending on the configuration required, a dining room and kitchen, large living room and terrace, round-the-clock butler service is available to cater to a guest’s every whim.
The food here, which is overseen by Jean-Luc Mongodin in the main dining spaces such as the brasserie and members’ lounge and Soon Li Ong at the club’s Japanese restaurant Kyubi, is exemplary, but it is the art on display and robust arts programme that really sets this place apart. Curated by Amelie von Wedel and Pernilla Holmes, the club houses a permanent collection of works selected from established artists including John Baldessari and Guy Bourdin as well from newcomers such as Sarah Coo Jing, Jeremy Kost and Eva Stenram. Comments von Wedel, “Selecting works from emerging and more established artists, we have curated a vibrant and dynamic group of works which reflects the high calibre of our permanent collection and our changing exhibition programme, which are at the heart of The Arts Club.”
While The Ned might be getting all the attention as the newest arrival on the list of the City of London’s members’ clubs, it was the Devonshire Club that put this primarily business district on the map as a members’ club destination. Developed by Brian Clivaz, the man behind the aforementioned The Arts Club as well as Home House on Portland Square, the Devonshire Club is a destination for the modern man. Occupying the former warehouse space of The East India Company (the famed tea and spice importer), the club offers numerous options for how its members wish to interact with the space.
There are four private event rooms that are perfect for meetings or private dining, there’s a choice of three bars for entertaining, a brasserie that boasts a licence to serve authentic Japanese Kobe beef for dining, a library with a screening room, and a gorgeous sun-filled garden room for when the British weather is feeling generous. Oh, and the 68 perfectly appointed hotel rooms are there for those who would prefer to never go anywhere else. If that isn’t enough, the adjacent townhouse is perfect for punishing training sessions or a relaxing pampering, offering a private gymnasium with access to personal trainers, a Pilates studio, a yoga space, four treatment rooms in the wellness centre, and even a blow-dry and nail bar. What more could you ask for?