Afternoon Tea Review: The Ritz Hotel London

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The Ritz Hotel in London is often regarded as the ultimate and finest afternoon tea institution in the world, and is a member of the prestigious Tea Guild.
The Ritz Hotel first opened its doors in 1906, and has since been frequented by many celebrities and important public figures.
I always envisioned attending The Ritz later in life accompanied by my best friend, however as it turned out, my partner was transferred by his company to work in London for six months, so when the opportunity presented itself I didn’t hesitate to make a reservation. Firstly, I must warn you that if you are wishing to make an afternoon tea reservation at The Ritz, you must book at least 2-3 months in advance. Afternoon tea sittings fill up fast, and it can be rather difficult to get the time and date of your choice.

Venue:
I think it is fair to say that the venue speaks for itself.

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Afternoon tea is served in the Palm Court section of the hotel,
What words can I use to describe the decor of The Ritz Hotel London?
Elegant, sophisticated, traditional, regal, stunning, historical, posh, classic and prestigious are the adjectives that come to mind when I think of how to describe this gorgeous establishment.

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Beautiful high, decorative ceilings, stunning crystal chandeliers, columns made from marble, polished floors and golden touches. The Ritz Hotel London is truly fit for a king.

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Our table was decorated in a way that you would expect from The Ritz; besutifuk high quality linen, dainty crockery, polished silver and traditional tea ware. Elegant and traditional were the first two words that popped into my mind when I sat down at our table.

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Service:
Unfortunately, for the purposes of an honest review, I cannot continue to discuss how beautiful the venue is. Instead I must move on to what I regard as terrible service. I was very disappointed with the service at The Ritz. Firstly, I felt that service we received was impersonal. My partner remarked that it felt like the waiters didn’t care about us. Unfortunately I have to agree with him. Our tea and coffee arrived 45 minutes after we ordered it, and we had to ask staff multiple times where it was, and when it would be coming. Our scones didn’t arrive until an hour after being seated, and by the time we received them, we didn’t feel like eating them anyway. Lastly, when my partner eventually received the coffee he ordered, the handle of the mug was far too hot to touch, and therefore he was unable to drink it. He was quite upset about this because not only had he waited 45 minutes for it, but he was thirsty and needed a drink. Once again, he waited about 20 minutes for the cup to cool down. When it still hadn’t cooled down, I managed to flag down a waiter. I asked the waiter if there was anything he could do for my partner because the cup was too hot to handle. The waiter’s reply to me was very condescending; as he then picked up the cup, looked at my partner and said “there is nothing I can do, maybe you need to wait for it to cool down?” My poor partner then asked for a glass of water instead, before the waiter simply just walked off. We had very minimal interaction with the waiters. One of the waiters explained the selection of food on the three-tier stand to us, and another waiter poured my tea. For a prestigious establishment such as The Ritz, I would have expected a very high quality of service.

Food:
I am pleased to report that the food was delicious.
For drinks, we had a glass of champagne each. From the tea menu, I selected The Ritz Royal Blend, while my partner ordered a latte. I thoroughly enjoyed my tea, and I highly recommend it.

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The finger sandwiches were tasty and the bread was fresh. There were also different varieties of bread on offer; including white, rye onion and caraway. My vegetarian fillings included: cheddar cheese and tomato, cheddar cheese and chutney, egg mayonnaise, hommus, and tomato and salad. My partner’s selection included: ham with grain mustard mayonnaise, egg mayonnaise, cucumber with cream cheese, Scottish smoked salmon with lemon butter, and chicken breast with horseradish cream. We received an ample amount of sandwiches (12 each!). A waiter also came around to offer us some more. I think they should offer guests a different savoury option, such as a quiche or a tart. Otherwise people fill up too quickly on bread.

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The scones were the last to arrive, and I am happy to report that they were well worth the wait. They were warm and fresh, and light and fluffy. The clotted cream and strawberry jam were the perfect accompaniment to what I now regard as the best scones that I have ever tasted.

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The sweets on offer were sensational. If I took anything away from this experience, it’s that those sweets were to die for! Unfortunately there were only four varieties, and one of each (except for the two macarons). This meant that everything had to be cut in half. However, they were all so delicious that I just couldn’t share them with my partner! (Horrible, I know!) There was one passion fruit and coconut tart, one chocolate cake, one vanilla slice and two
salted caramel macarons. My favourite was the vanilla slice, however that passion fruit and coconut tart was simple incredible!

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Last but not least, at the end of the sitting, a waiter with a cart went around to each table and offered a choice of two cakes. Unfortunately I cannot remember the first option, but I chose the second option which was a slice of lemon drizzle cake. It was a lovely moist cake with a nice hit of lemon zest.

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Overall Experience:
The ambience of The Ritz hotel was wonderful. The sounds of the pianist and the string quartet filled the room and added to the posh image projected by the hotel.

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When I looked around, I noticed that everyone was wearing their finest garments; men in their suits and ties, and ladies in their gorgeous frocks.
Overall, I was impressed with the absolutely stunning venue, and the quality and taste of the food, however the service was lacklustre, and I feel that this is just totally unacceptable for The Ritz. Despite my poor experience with the service, I still recommend making a reservation if you are determined to have The Ritz experience. However, I don’t think The Eitz even comes close to making the cut for the number one afternoon tea venue in the world. As I previously mentioned in my most recent review of The Royal Horseguards hotel, service is imperative in hospitality and can have a profound impact on one’s afternoon tea experience. I feel that The Ritz needs to work on this.

The Ritz Hotel London
Afternoon Tea is served daily, with sittings at 11:30am, 1:30pm, 3:30pm, 5:30pm and 7:30pm.
£47 Traditional Afternoon Tea
£59 Champagne Afternoon Tea
£58 Celebration Afternoon Tea (with Birthday Cake)
£74 Celebration Afternoon Tea (with Champagne)
Please note that there is a discretionary charge of 12.5% that is added to the bill.
Please note that there is also a strict dress code.
Bookings are Essential.
Reservations can be made via The Ritz website: http://www.theritzlondon.com/tea.html
Or by Telephone: +44 (0)20 7300 2345
Address: 150 Piccadilly, London. W1J 9BR

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3 thoughts on “Afternoon Tea Review: The Ritz Hotel London

  1. Nadia, thanks for stopping by–and I love your blog! My husband lived in Perth for two years back in the day, and I have every intention of getting there one day. And I couldn’t agree more with your review of tea at the Ritz; indeed, the food sounds much better than it was when my colleagues and I paid a visit several years ago. Great information!

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