Sponsored by Bunzl Catering & Hospitality Division
It is some achievement when a new hotel completely revamps the location in which it sits. But this is exactly what the Ned has done. Where the City of London was once a ghost town at the weekend, today it is frequently found to be thronged with people, many of them heading to what has become the hotel’s legendary all-you-can-eat feast on a Sunday, which enjoys an eight-week waiting list.
The arrival of the 250-bedroom property in May 2017 was unquestionably the most ambitious hotel launch in the capital in recent times. Turning the vast, early 20th-century building into a standout hotel where guests can drift between 10 restaurants, 17 bars, a spa, a host of fitness facilities and a members’ club was the vision of Nick Jones, founder and chief executive of Soho House, who joined forces with Andrew Zobler of Sydell Group to create it.
The hotel is in the Edwin Lutyens-designed headquarters of the Midland Bank and has kept many of its original features, including 92 verdite marble columns, while being transformed into a 21st-century business with a spectacular lobby that is home to a food and beverage operation that buzzes from 6am to midnight, serving more than 30,000 covers on which £1m is spent every week.
The Ned has cleverly fused hospitality and entertainment, with the Nickel Stage at the heart of the ground floor showcasing an eclectic selection of acts throughout the day and into the evening. More than £1m is spent annually on the entertainment programme – an unprecedented figure for a London hotel.
Although a success from the first day, with less than 15% of room bookings made via online travel agent sites, the Ned has not been too complacent to make improvements. Six months after launch, it was realised that Ned’s Club members need more space to eat, drink and work, resulting in a reconfiguration of the basement, while an underused lounge space was transformed into the 17th bar.
Ultimately, the Ned’s exceptional facilities would not be able to operate at the level they do without the standout performance of the 950-strong team, which the judges noted had improved dramatically over the two years since the hotel launched. A raft of recruitment and retention initiatives (including the Nedwork communication platform), upgrades to welfare facilities and open forums with managing director Gareth Banner ensure this is a hotel that cares as much about its team as its guests.
What the judges said
“The Ned offers an incredible scale of operation, delivering impressive numbers, both financially and in its guests. It has evolved and improved greatly since opening.”
“Every now and again (but not often), something amazing comes along – the Ned is it.”
Gordon Campbell Gray
“Strong financial performance in a fun setting; breaking new ground in establishing a ‘go-to’ place in the City.”
“Since making a splash on the hotel scene, the Ned has brought excitement and innovation to the London market.”
The Langham London
The Ned London
The Pig at Combe Devon
Southampton Harbour Hotel & Spa
Jurgen Ammerstorfer General manager, the London Edition
Michael Bonsor Managing director, Rosewood London
Charles Bott Commercial manager, UK, AA Hotel Services
Gordon Campbell Gray Director, the Wee Hotel Company
Geoffrey Gelardi Director, Gelardi and Associates
Michael Magrane Operations director, GLH Hotels
Harry Murray Chairman, Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa, Colerne, Wiltshire
Danny Pecorelli Managing director, Exclusive Hotels and Venues
Marvin Rust Managing director, Alvarez & Marsal Taxand
Laura Sharpe General manager, Ham Yard hotel, London