Afternoon Tea Review: W Hotel

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The W Hotel is located in Leicester Square in the heart of the West End.
The W Hotel offers an awesome, music inspired afternoon tea.
I ended up finding time in our already busy schedule to book this one, because it looked like it would be a lot of fun.

Venue:
The decor in W Hotel lounge is very gentleman friendly. I think it is safe to say that my partner was actually impressed with the look of the venue. I would describe the decor as polished, modern, stylish and with a glam rock inspired charm. In the foyer of the W lounge, just outside of the elevators, is a mass of incredible looking disco balls. This gorgeous feature really adds a glamorous touch to the entrance of the lounge and bar. It also ties in nicely with the music inspired theme of the hotel. When my partner and I walked through the lounge, we observed the massive wall of collectors plates featuring the images of various famous musicians. Not unlike the disco balls, it gives the lounge area an impressive wow factor.

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We were escorted to our table in a spacious area in the corner of the restaurant, and facing a window overlooking Leicester Square. We were seated on a big comfortable couch, which was relaxed and fit with the informal theme of the afternoon tea. Our table was adorned with polished silver tea ware and simple white crockery.
I especially loved the tea pot!

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Service:
The service in the W Hotel lounge was quite good. As soon as we were seated, a hostess took our drinks order and confirmed my dietary requirements. Our hostess was particularly busy, however she managed to stop by regularly to ask if we were enjoying everything, and to see if we needed anything else. Both my partner and I felt that the service we received was both prompt and friendly.

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Food:
For drinks, I ordered my usual pot of English breakfast tea, and my partner ordered his usual coffee.

Our food arrived promptly after we received our beverages. Our hostess explained to us that each item on the three tier stand is inspired by a famous song.

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Of course, as always, we started with the finger sandwiches and the scones.
The hostess recommended that we begin with the scones, as they were fresh out of the oven. My partner started eating his ‘Rule Britannia’ scones first, and I tucked into the ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ inspired sandwiches. My vegetarian sandwich fillings included: egg mayonnaise, red peppers and mushroom, cheese, tomato and lettuce, and avocado and sweet onion. My partners standard selection included: egg mayonnaise, smoked salmon and cream cheese, cucumber and Greek yogurt and roast chicken and lemon butter. The sandwiches were tasty, however the bread was a little on the dry side.

The scones were warm and buttery, and were filled with raisins. Not as fluffy as how I usually prefer my scones to be, however they did taste delicious with the strawberry jam and clotted cream.

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I must admit, the sweets were what I was looking forward to the most. One glance at the menu, and my taste buds went into overdrive. Plus I thought it was really cool how each individual piece was inspired by a song title.
The varieties included:
‘Sticky Fingers’ described as vanilla meringue with attitude.
‘Sweet Emotion’ a delicate chocolate sweet with a strong taste of passion fruit.
‘Every Rose Has A Thorn’ was a rose flavoured fancier with rose petal jam on the inside.
‘Purple Haze’ was a purple and white sponge with marzipan icing. Not a fan of marzipan, so I didn’t particularly enjoy this one.
My favourite was the ‘Cherry Bomb’, chocolate and cherry with a strong hint of mascarpone, and dome shaped in appearance.
My other favourite was the ‘London’s Burning’ mousse, a decadent chocolate pudding with a hazelnut crunch.

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Overall Experience:
Overall, my partner and I enjoyed our rock inspired afternoon tea at W Hotel.
I left London bound for Australia that evening, so it was a great way to wrap up my afternoon tea experiences in London.
The ambience of the lounge was nice, and there was a pleasant odour coming from the bar area. There was soft music playing in the background, which to my surprise wasn’t from the rock genre! The venue is spacious and there is plenty of room for patrons. I really liked the music inspired venue, I thought the food was delicious, and we received friendly service. W Hotel is definitely worth a visit if you’re in Leicester Square, especially if you have male company!

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W Hotel
Afternoon Tea is served daily, between 2pm and 5pm.
£25 per person.
Add £10 for a Hendrix Gin Martini.
Please note that a discretionary service charge of 12.5% is added to the bill.
Bookings are Essential.
Reservations can be made via the W Hotel website: http://www.wlondon.co.uk/en/w-hotel-bar
Or by Telephone: +44 (0)20 7758 1000
Address: 10 Wardour St Leicester Square, London.

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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

Afternoon Tea Review: The Royal Horseguards Hotel

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Venue:
The Royal Horseguards Hotel is lovely inside, very inviting and like most of the five star hotels in London, very beautifully decorated.
Afternoon tea is served in the One Twenty One Two lounge. The room features a very cute lolly buffet table, which adds a fun and colourful touch to the room. The room itself is quite small, and could probably only accommodate between 8-10 tables. During our sitting, there were about 6 other groups there, and the noise level was kept to a minimum.

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Our table was simple yet elegant. I loved the touch of pink of the table, and I couldn’t stop gazing at the stunning Grace of Monaco menu that we were given to take home. The table was adorned with a white tablecloth, white napkins, white and floral tea ware, elegant silver cutlery, and a gorgeous baby pink three tier afternoon tea stand.

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Service:
Unfortunately the service was disappointing. For a start, we had to wait 30 minutes for our tea and coffee, an hour and a half for our scones, and finally I had to ask twice for a jug of milk because the first hostess I asked forgot. It wasn’t busy either. It is only a small room, and there were about 6 other groups in attendance. However it wasn’t all bad, and I did find that the staff were pleasant and obliging. I think the main issue was the poor timing.

Food:
The food was fantastic. Currently, the Royal Horseguards Hotel is offering a Grace of Monaco inspired afternoon tea. My tastebuds were already beginning to get excited when I read the menu, and when those sweets came out…my gosh, what a fashionista’s delight!

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For drinks, I received a Grace of Monaco champagne cocktail, and my partner received a glass of Laurent-Perrier. For tea, I ordered English Breakfast and my partner ordered his usual coffee.

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On the savoury tier, we received a selection of finger sandwiches and a slider each (mini burger). The vegetarian selection included: delicious Swiss cheese and tomato, red peppers and hommus, and lettuce and avocado. The non-vegetarian selection included: cucumber, egg mayonnaise, salmon, roast beef and relish and coronation chicken. The bread was fresh, and the fillings were plentiful. Once we finished our sandwiches, we were offered more which we gladly accepted. As for the other savoury item on my partners plate, he was unsure of how to describe it. He stated that it tasted like mozzarella cheese, tuna, and sweet corn on rye bread.

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The sliders were an interesting addition to our afternoon tea. My partner received a beef and salad slider, and I received an egg, cheese and salad slider. They were both a creative and delicious addition to the afternoon tea selection.

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We actually received our tier of sweets before we received our plate of scones, so it was out of sheer impatience, and perhaps also out of temptation that I began eating my sweets first. For sweets we had a:
“Strawberry Romanov” Macaron.
A Coral Chocolate Lipstick inspired by Estée Lauder.
A Chantilly Lace & Pearl Cupcake inspired by Grace’s wedding gown designed by Helen Rose.
A Black & White Chocolate Shot, Royal Sugar Sash inspired by Grace’s favourite chocolate milkshake.
A “Grace de Monaco” Pink Rose Eclair.
A “Kelly” cookie based on the handbag designed by Robert Dumas and worn by Grace.
A “Flora” Raspberry and Hibiscus Mousse inspired by the famous Gucci Flora silk scarf.

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We received our scones approximately an hour and after after we arrived. There were two varieties of scones on offer: plain and fruit. We also received strawberry jam and clotted cream. Unfortunately the scones were nothing special, and were certainly not worth the wait. They were dry and difficult to eat. By this point, I had already eaten most of my sweets anyway, so I was feeling rather full.

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Overall Experience:
I thought the venue was lovely, and I enjoyed the food. However the service could have been much more efficient. With a few tweaks here and there, The Royal Horseguards Hotel has the potential to be one of the finest places to enjoy afternoon tea. Sometimes I feel that it is the quality of service that can make a world of difference to an afternoon tea experience.

The Royal Horseguards Hotel
Afternoon Tea is served daily between 1pm and 6pm.
£32 Royal Horseguards Afternoon Tea
£42 Laurent-Perrier Champagne Afternoon Tea
A discretionary service charge of 12.5% will also be added to the bill.
Bookings are Essential.
Reservations can be made via The Royal Horseguards Hotel: http://www.guoman.com/hotels/united_kingdom/london/the_royal_horseguards/restaurants_and_bars/afternoon_tea.html
Or by Telephone: 0207 451 0426
Address: 2 Whitehall Court, London SW1A 2EJ

Afternoon Tea Review: London Hilton Park Lane

Afternoon Tea at London Hilton Park Lane was one of the afternoon teas that I looked forward to the most. If you look up afternoon tea photos from the London Hilton Park lane you will notice how incredibly delicious, colourful and fun it looks. The hotel overlooks the lush green scenery of Hyde Park, is nestled in the heart of Mayfair, and is only a short distance from Buckingham Palace.

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Venue:
Afternoon tea is held in the Podium bar and restaurant, which is located just inside the lobby area of the hotel. The decor of the restaurant is quite elegant. The restaurant has a beautiful high decorative ceiling, the lighting is soft and subtle, and the furnishings include beige leather seats and polished wooden tables. We were seated towards the back of the restaurant, at a window table overlooking Hyde Park.

Our table was dressed in a simple manner: white tea ware and napkins, silver cutlery, and taupe coloured place mats.

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Service:
The service was totally faultless. Our hostess was very obliging and she attended to our every need. When we were seated, she kindly explained the menu to us, took our drink orders and double checked my dietary requirements. She even asked us if we were happy with the sandwich varieties on offer, or whether we wanted different fillings. That was a first for me, and I though that our hostess went above and beyond what is expected of traditional afternoon tea service. We were made to feel welcome, and this is something that I feel doesn’t happen as frequently as it should in hospitality. My partner and I never had to wait for anything and the service was always so prompt. We didn’t have a problem trying to get the attention of our hostess either.

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Food:
I’m going to start off by mentioning that my partner and I skipped breakfast that morning. Our high tea reservation was for 1pm, so as you can imagine, we were feeling fairly hungry by that time of the day. We were given an ample amount of food. In fact, our hostess even asked us if we wanted more sandwiches, and then asked us if we wanted more scones. I can assure you that by the end of our sitting we felt as though we were in a food coma!

The Podium bar and restaurant is currently offering The Confessions of a Chocoholic Afternoon Tea, and that’s the one we selected… Wow, where do I start?

For drinks, I ordered the Hilton Royal English Blend, while my partner ordered a Latte. He also remarked that it was the best coffee that he has had so far in the UK.

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The open sandwiches were the first to arrive. I am pleased to report that they were both fresh and delicious.
The non-vegetarian toppings included: smoked salmon and horseradish, honey roast ham and mustard, prawn cocktail and lettuce, cucumber and cream cheese, and egg with cress. While my vegetarian toppings included: mozzarella and tomato, and egg with cress.

My Vegetarian Selection
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My Partner’s Non-Vegetarian Selection
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The scones arrived on the three tier stand, and let me tell you, they were absolutely incredible! We received a selection of chocolate chip, raisin, and plain scones. They were warm, fresh, soft, light and fluffy- the perfect scones. The chocolate chip scones were a real treat, and because they were warm, when you cut it open, the chocolate chips had started to melt. The result was simply heavenly. The accompaniments included clotted cream, strawberry jam and an amazing praline chocolate spread.

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Usually, after eating scones I always struggle with the ability to eat anything else. However, with this particular afternoon tea, I knew that I just needed to persevere, pace myself, and at least attempt to eat some of the tantalising looking sweets that were staring at me on the top tier. On offer was a tier of petite cupcakes: blueberry, white chocolate, chocolate mousse and pistachio. The white chocolate cupcake was the star of the show. It was the most delicious cupcake I have ever tasted in my life! The cupcakes were all so decadent and moist, and were an absolute delight.

The Most Amazing Cupcakes I’ve Ever Tasted!
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The top tier consisted of the ultimate chocoholic’s delight!
Even the board with the sweets on it was made from chocolate!
The sweets included a blueberry whoopee pie, a lemon cheesecake, a chocolate macaron, a really cute meringue lolly pop covered in sprinkles, an iced biscuit with a milk chocolate cremeux filling and a chocolate cake with a gorgeous decorative chocolate on top. I honestly couldn’t fault any of it, as it was all too delightful.

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Of course, there was no way that we could eat it all. Our hostess offered us this beautiful take home box for our left over goodies.

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Overall Experience:
My overall experience of afternoon tea at London Hilton Park Lane was wonderful and I absolutely recommend it. The ambience was both pleasant and very relaxing. There was soft music playing in the background, and we managed to get in before the lunch rush, so it neither busy nor noisy. The venue, the service and the food was all impeccable and totally faultless. I had such a lovely experience here, and if I ever make another trip to London I will definitely be returning to London Hilton Park Lane for afternoon tea.

London Hilton Park Lane
Afternoon Tea is served Monday to Friday from 2pm to 6pm, and on Saturday and Sunday from 12pm to 7pm.
£36 Confessions of a Chocoholic
£46 with a glass of Pommery Champagne
A discretionary service charge of 12.5% will also be added to the bill.
Bookings are Essential.
Reservations can be made via the London Hilton Park Lane website: http://www3.hilton.com/en/hotels/united-kingdom/london-hilton-on-park-lane-LONHITW/dining/podium-restaurant-and-bar.html
Or by Telephone: +44 (0)20 7208 4022
Address: 22 Park Lane, London W1K 1BE

Afternoon Tea Review: Claridge’s

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When I mentioned to my best friend that I was planning on having afternoon tea in London, she straight away suggested Claridge’s. The thing is, she hasn’t actually been to Claridge’s before, however her recommendations were based solely on the reputation of the hotel. After conducting some research of my own, I did indeed find out that Claridge’s is one of the United Kingdom’s finest afternoon tea institutions, having won so many awards for afternoon tea excellence.

I had high expectations for Claridge’s after seeing so many glowing reviews, and I found it quite difficult to make a reservation. I made my reservation about 4 weeks before I left for my holiday, therefore I recommend booking at least a month or two in advance. The only day that was available was on a Tuesday evening at 5:30pm. I wasn’t overly happy about that, because my partner finishes work at 5pm and I knew we would be cutting it fine.

Venue:
Wow, what an elegant and impressive venue. I guess it is what you would expect for a hotel in upper class Mayfair. The decor is absolutely stunning, the lighting is dimmed and I felt warm and cozy. My partner actually remarked at how sophisticated he felt just being there. It really is a fancy establishment, and I recommend that you wear your best ensemble.

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We were seated in the Reading room section of the Foyer. Our table was adorned with the Claridge’s signature green and white tea ware, silver cutlery and a dainty little white rose. We also had a lamp on our table which gave us just enough light to see what we were eating, and I also thought that it gave the table a romantic feel.

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Service:
The service was absolutely impeccable. Totally faultless.
As soon as we arrived and were seated, we were offered champagne (Laurent-Perrier). The hostess even waited for me to take my first sip of champagne, just to ensure that I liked it. The hostess poured our tea and coffee, offered to take our coats and bags, and even came around with a second helping of sandwiches and scones. Our hostess was pleasant and accommodating, and my partner and I felt really welcome.

Food:
Firstly, I should mention that there is a huge selection of 24 teas to choose from. I ordered the signature Claridge’s blend, and my partner ordered a coffee. The Claridge’s blend is a black tea, described as “combining the power of English breakfast tea with a satisfying complexity. The flavour is rich and aromatic with a deep, malty finish.”

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The sandwiches were the first to arrive and they were sensational. The bread was fresh, there were a wide range of fillings, and the servings were plentiful. The vegetarian varieties included: brown egg mayonnaise with watercress (which had a pleasant hint of garlic), mushroom, red pepper and hommus, pumpkin chutney, and cheese, salad and chutney. I also had a delicate little scone topped with beet root on the side of my sandwich plate. My partner’s sandwich varieties included: brown egg mayonnaise with watercress, smoked salmon and shrimp butter, organic chicken with lemon and tarragon, cucumber, creme fresh and rocket, and ham, tomato chutney and celeriac remoulade. He also received a petite scone topped with a slice of salmon. My partner and I weren’t overly impressed with the savoury scones, and would have preferred a tart or quiche of some variety. However, it was a unique touch that I have not seen before.

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The scones were the next to arrive, and we received two of each variety- plain and raisin. They were absolutely delightful scones- warm and fluffy and melt in your mouth. Accompanying the scones, was a generous serving of Cornish clotted cream and a special Marco Polo Gelee, which was delicious. Unfortunately, I found it rather difficult to describe the flavours of the Gelee. To me, it tasted like a subtle mixture of various fruits infused with vanilla. Absolutely divine!

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And last but not least out came the sweets. At this point you have probably realised that we were not given a traditional three tier afternoon tea stand. Instead, the hostess brought our food out individually, and waited for us to decide whether we were ready to proceed to the scones and sweets or whether we wanted more of the sandwiches. I though that this was a lovely way of presenting us with our food, and at no stage did we feel like we were being rushed. Our sweets plate included a chocolate and raspberry macaron, a strawberry eclair, a coconut and lime tart and a citrus sponge cake. My absolutely favourite was the citrus sponge cake. It was light and fluffy, and had a beautiful mixture of citrus flavours. However, the chocolate and raspberry macaron was equally as delightful.

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Overall Experience:
The ambience is what you would expect from such a sophisticated venue such as Claridge’s. Although fully booked, it wasn’t at all noisy. You could hear other people chatting away, but the room was spacious enough to accommodate for it.
My partner and I mainly noticed the beautiful sounds coming from the string quartet as it filled the room. It was truly a royal experience.
Overall, I thought that afternoon tea at Claridge’s was a remarkably memorable experience. I also believe that it sets a certain benchmark for afternoon tea standards and my personal future expectations. To some, that may seem unfair, however once you have had the pleasure of enjoying afternoon tea at Claridge’s you will understand that it is a place that prides itself on being one of the finest establishments for afternoon tea in the United Kingdom. In my opinion, they got everything right. The venue was stunning, the service was impeccable, and the food was fresh and delicious. I doubt that you could ask for much more.

If you’re visiting London, then Claridge’s should be first on your list of afternoon tea venues to visit.

Claridge’s Hotel
Afternoon Tea is served daily, with sittings at 3pm, 3:30pm, 5pm and 5:30pm.
£50 Traditional Afternoon Tea
£61 with a glass of Laurent-Perrier
£74 with a glass of Laurent-Perrier Rose
A discretionary service charge of 12.5% will a!so be added to the bill.
Bookings are Essential.
Reservations can be made via Claridge’s website: http://www.claridges.co.uk/london-mayfair-afternoon-tea/
Or by Telephone: +44 (0)20 7409 6307
Address: Claridge’s, Brook Street, Mayfair. London W1K 4HR

Afternoon Tea Review: Bulgari Hotel London

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My second afternoon tea adventure in London was at the famous designer hotel Bulgari. It was late on Saturday afternoon, and both my partner and I were exhausted after running around shopping at Harrods. My first impression of Bulgari was “Wow, what a beautiful, elegant and luxurious looking hotel”. The first thing I noticed when I entered the lobby, was the distinctive fragrant aroma that filled the space. My guess is that it was a Bulgari signature fragrance. Some may argue that the scent was a perhaps a little too bold, however I think that the aroma suited the luxurious feel and appearance of the hotel.

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Venue:
As mentioned above, the Bulgari hotel is a five star luxury designer hotel. I think it is one of the more modern and luxurious hotels that London has to offer, and caters to the needs of fashionista’s like myself. The decor oozes luxe and the furnishings are all made from the highest quality leather, fabrics and materials.
The decor consists of simple yet elegant deeper colours and darker hues. In fact I would describe it as a healthy balance between chic and masculine. We were seated near the lobby, which I initially had reservations about because of the noise factor, however it was no where near as bad as what I thought it would be. All that could be heard was the sound of soft jazz music being played in the background and light buzzing coming from another part of the hotel.

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My partner and I were seated in the lounge area of the hotel, at a simple little table with an elegant black glass top and comfortable leather seats. The crockery included gorgeous purple cups and saucers with silver trims and silver tea ware and cutlery. There was also a beautiful little mauve rose on our table, and above us was an even bigger array of decorative mauve roses. I cannot begin to express how impressed I was with the simplistic yet luxurious appearance of our table setting.

Service:
The service was fantastic. On arrival, we were offered a complimentary glass of prosecco. After taking our tea and coffee orders, the hostess returned, and for the first time ever I actually had my tea poured for me! How’s that for service? Another hostess came around to confirm my vegetarian dietary requirements before hurrying off to grab us our sandwiches. Whenever the tea in my cup got low, a hostess would come over and top it up for me. The staff were attentive and obliging, and it wasn’t at all difficult to grab their attention if we needed something.

Food:
For tea, I selected one of the Bulgari luxury collection tea’s. I chose the diamond tea, which is described as a white china tea from Pai Mutan, infused with white peach, a hint of vanilla, almond and white flowers. It was a delightful flavoured tea, and the vanilla and white peach gave it just the right hint of sweetness.

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The sandwiches and the tartlets were the first to arrive. Instead of the tradition finger shape, our sandwiches were cut into triangles. Unfortunately I do have to mention that the bread was a little on the dry side, however I did enjoy the fillings. My sandwiches included hommus and egg mayonnaise, while my partner’s fillings included chicken and rocket, egg mayonnaise, cucumber and Scottish smoked salmon. We both received a mushroom and a fontina cheese and herbs tartlet each.

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The next to arrive was the tier of scones and sweets. We received two varieties of scones, fruit and plain. I must say that these scones were absolutely perfect. They were just the right size, and they were warm and fluffy the way that scones should be.

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On our table we had a choice of 5 jams: strawberry, raspberry, orange, apricot and flower honey.

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My partner and I choose the strawberry jam, however I also spread some apricot jam on to one of my scones. The jam was delicious, however the clotted cream was rather difficult to spread.

The sweets tier included: two hazelnut and chocolate mousse slices, two raspberry macarons, and two lemon tarts. All three of the sweets were delightful, however for me the lemon tart was the stand out. It wasn’t overly sweet and it had just the right amount of tang. My partner stated that he thoroughly enjoyed his hazelnut and chocolate mousse slice.

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Overall Experience:
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my afternoon tea experience at the Bulgari hotel in London, and I recommend it to anyone either travelling to or staying in the London area. The impeccable venue, service and food is all what you would expect from a luxury hotel like Bulgari, and I left feeling both satisfied and very impressed.

The Bulgari Hotel
Afternoon Tea is served Monday to Saturday 1pm to 5pm and on Sunday 2:30pm to 5pm.
£31 for Classic Afternoon Tea
£43 with a glass of Moët & Chandon
Bookings are Essential.
Telephone: +44 0207 151 1010
Email: london-info@bulgarihotels.com
Address: Bulgari Hotel & Residences London, 171 Knightsbridge, SW7 1DW.

Afternoon Tea Review: BB Bakery Bus Tour

In late May I arrived in London to visit my partner who is currently based here on a short term work-related transfer. This is my first international voyage, and has so far been an experience that has evoked many different emotions for me. I must admit that the long haul flight from Australia wasn’t particularly thrilling, however I am excited to be embarking on a new experience, and even more excited about enjoying high tea in the afternoon tea capital of the world- London!

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Venue:
In April, the BB Bakery in Covent Garden began offering their usual afternoon tea on board an iconic red double-decker bus. The bus takes guests for a tour around London’s most popular tourist attractions. As a first time traveller to London and a lover of afternoon tea, as soon as I saw this advertised I booked it straight away. I couldn’t think of a better way to view the sights of London then to do it on board a double decker bus, all the while enjoying the delightful afternoon tea treats that the BB bakery has to offer.
The inside of the tour bus is stunning. There are these gorgeous red and white booths, and the tables are decked out with scrumptious looking afternoon tea treats. Each person had a beautiful little china plate to put their food on. However for safety reasons, the amount of crockery available is limited.

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Service:
The host was a delightful Frenchman by the name of Jean-Philippe. He was very friendly, jovial and accommodated the requests of all guests on board. Before the tour commenced, Jean-Philippe welcomed all guests on board the bus and provided us with a description of the food that was on offer before promptly taking our tea and coffee orders. He also joking informed us that at any time we could request for the driver to slow down.

Food:
I was offered the vegetarian afternoon tea, while my partner enjoyed the classic non vegetarian option. Staff remembered my dietary requirements and there were no issues, which is something that I always appreciate. There are also gluten free and vegan options available.

The food looked deliciously appetising, and it was beautifully presented. It tasted superb and you could tell that it was 100% freshly prepared. My guess is that it probably came straight from their flagship bakery in Covent Garden.
My vegetarian savoury tier included: a cream cheese sandwich, a vegetarian quiche (which was absolutely amazing!) a cheese sandwich, a cheese and salad sandwich and a cheese and salad blini. My partner received a cream cheese sandwich, two ham and cheese sandwiches, a salmon blini, and a quiche. The bread had a beautiful freshly baked smell to it, and the fillings were ample.
The sweets tier included: a pecan brownie, a mouth watering petite lemon meringue tart, cupcakes (mine had strawberry frosting), a lemon macaron, a fresh berry fruit tart and a French scone. The French scone was interesting. It reminded me more of a sticky bun, and there was no jam or clotted cream to accompany the scone, which made it difficult to eat. I would have preferred the option to spread some fruit preserve and cream on it and eat it like a traditional scone. However, this is a minor criticism as the food was essentially faultless.

You are given an ample amount of food and I can guarantee that you won’t be leaving hungry. In fact, after working our way through the two tier stand, Jean-Philippe came around and offered us more food. This is when we received our French scone and a lemon flavoured macaron. At the end of the tour we were given a gorgeous pink take away box for any food that we didn’t manage to fit in.

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Drinks were served in these gorgeous BB bakery travel mugs, and were a fabulous idea. There are also cup holders in the booth tables, and we were each given a small bottle of freshly squeezed orange juice at the beginning of the tour. The last thing you want is to be drinking tea from a tea cup and saucer and having it spill everywhere while the bus is moving! Initially, the thought of having afternoon tea on a moving vehicle without seatbelt restraints seemed daunting, however the BB Bakery were well and truly prepared when they began running this bus tour service.

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Overall Experience:
I absolutely recommend this tour to anyone travelling to London. Even if you are only planning a short trip, this is the best way to enjoy what London has to offer. In an hour and a half, you get to indulge in some scrumptious and freshly prepared sweet and savoury treats from a popular UK bakery, while checking out some the most popular tourist attractions in London. Below is a tour map; and as you can see, the bus tour takes guests around the most popular tourist attractions in London Town.

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I was absolutely impressed with the venue, the food, the service, and the overall experience of the BB Bakery bus afternoon tea tour. I highly recommend this tour to travellers, or even to locals looking for a great way to celebrate a friend’s birthday, or for a fun afternoon out. The experience has definitely been one of the highlights of my trip to London thus far.

Special thanks to the BB Bakery for allowing me to use their beautiful photographs. For the purposes of this review, poor iPhone quality images just won’t do!

The BB Bakery Bus Tour runs twice a day from Monday to Friday at 3pm and 5:30pm.
On weekends the tour runs three times a day at 12:30pm, 3pm and 5:30pm.
Afternoon Tea is priced at £45 per person.
Bookings are Essential.
Phone Number: 020 7237 3392
Email: bbbus@bbbakery.co.uk
Bakery Address: 6-7 Chandos Place, Covent Garden. London WC2N 4HU