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Lifestyle | 22 Feb 22

Interview with The Ned MD, Gareth Banner

Interview with The Ned MD, Gareth Banner

The Ned is a 5-star hotel and members' club located in the heart of London in what used to be the Midland Bank headquarters on Poultry. It has nine restaurants, a jazz club, a gym, a spa and a rooftop infinity pool with views of St. Paul’s Cathedral. The Ned’s Managing Director, Gareth Banner, talks to us about all things high-end hotels, hospitality and what it is that makes The Ned so unique.

What has your journey in the hospitality industry been like, and what led you to join The Ned?

I realised quite early on that I wanted to be in the hospitality industry. I was lucky enough to be able to stay in some wonderful hotels when I was young, and I was completely fascinated by them. My interest wasn’t just about how I experienced the hotel as a guest, but I wanted to know how everything worked and came together behind the scenes. I knew then that I probably wanted to work in hospitality.

After university, I did the graduate program at the Marriott. I’ve worked in hotels ever since, and I’ve never looked back. My career has been varied: I worked for one of the biggest hospitality companies in the world with lots of exposure to things like M&A deals. I’ve also had roles in smaller, boutique hotels that have very different approaches and philosophies from bigger players. So, I’ve really had exposure to a bit of everything. My career and experiences have given me the skills to run a very large property with a completely unique vision like The Ned. The Ned is large, but nothing about it is ‘cookie-cutter’ – it’s a real one-of-a-kind establishment, and my background has equipped me with the skills to run it.

What makes The Ned unique? 

The Ned is so many things under one roof, and I think we’re known for pushing the boundaries of what you can do in a single building. There’s the hotel and restaurants, but also the private members club with its rooftop, spa and gym.

Exterior HR.jpg

The building is a huge part of our story, and it’s part of what makes The Ned unique. The building used to be the Midland Bank headquarters, which was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, who was known as Ned, so our name is in homage to him. We built The Ned around the existing building, rather than making the building adapt to us. This was partially necessary as it’s a Grade I listed building, but it also reflects our respect for the space and the history – we made the building work to our advantage, and I think that’s one of our strengths. There’s so much originality at the Ned, and we have so many different parts, but they all work in harmony with the building.

What does The Ned membership entail?

As a club, we didn’t just want to create a space for our members to socialise - we wanted to offer more. We have a state-of-the-art underground gym and a lap pool in the old bullion vault if members want to be active. Then there’s the spa for relaxing. The rooftop pool is a great place to have fun and take in the City in the summer. We have a bar, a nightclub, a new jazz club, and lots of restaurants for socialising, so there’s something for everyone. 


We also thought a lot about what our members want from the space. When you have nine dining rooms, you have the scope to create different experiences that meet the needs of our members at any given time. A fine dining experience is fantastic but isn’t the right fit in every scenario. For example, sometimes our members want something less formal or a restaurant setting that fits a particular occasion better. We offer everything from a wedding venue to a quick no-fuss weeknight dinner. The same goes for the hotel – we have 13 different room categories that encompass everything from suites to cosy city crash pads. It’s unusual to have such a range of rooms under a single roof.


Given our location in the City, it would have been quite easy to have a membership predominantly made up of lawyers or bankers, but we wanted to have members from across different industries. We’ve cultivated memberships around that vision of a diverse community very carefully, and members come from industries like healthcare, tech and creative professions, for example. An equal gender split is also very important to us, and we are very careful in selecting an equal number of men and women to join The Ned.

We’ve curated an eclectic membership full of individuals who will be able to connect and become a strong and diverse community. 

What has been your most memorable highlight and biggest challenge as the MD of The Ned in 2021?

We effectively had to reopen The Ned three times after various lockdowns, which has been very challenging, although we had a record year in 2021, despite the difficulties we faced. We offer our members the very best experience, and we expect full commitment from our staff to deliver that. We have amazing talent, but any kind of downtime can make you rusty in the hospitality industry, so we worked hard to make sure that didn’t happen. I’m immensely proud of everyone at The Ned who rose to the challenge over the past couple of years. Seeing the care and dedication the team has put into serving our members since we've opened and despite the challenges we've encountered has been a highlight for me: The Ned is only as good as the people that bring it to life.

We spent time in 2021 being critical of ourselves with a view to improving anything we could. We knew that our members relish experiences, for example, so we thought about how we could dial up the experiences we offer. We also created our second jazz club, The Parlour, which is an intimate underground space and very different from The Nickel Bar. Success is never final, so we’re always working towards that whatever happens.


How have your clients’ preferences and demands changed since the pandemic? 

I think we’re seeing the emergence of a trend where people value experiences more than they did before. I’d say we’ve also seen members making up for lost time. For example, in 2021, we sold more Champagne than we did in 2019 despite being closed for a period due to the pandemic. I think that’s a reflection of people embracing and investing in the experiences that make them feel good, in places they like, in good company. 

What’s next for The Ned in 2022 and moving forward?

Looking forward, we’re expecting a very strong 2022 here at The Ned in London. We’re relishing that and being able to serve our members. 

For the wider business, we’re opening a hotel in New York this year. I think there’s lots of anticipation around what the hotel and club will look like in New York, which is exciting for us to reveal, too. We’re also going to be opening a hotel in Doha in time for the World Cup in an old government building.  Each property is slightly different depending on its location, but the ethos of The Ned remains the same; to create a space for like-minded professionals to meet, work and have a good time.