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Tea at The Ritz

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May 31, 2014 / English / By
Nicola

Ever since I first came across the story of Alice in Wonderland as a young girl, I have always been fascinated by tea parties. The English are famed for their tea parties, but it's more of a traditional activity than one which people actually partake in these days. That's why, when I was given the opportunity to have tea at The Ritz (one of London's most expensive, exclusive hotels) I took it with both hands. A quintessential English tea party in glamorous, luxurious surroundings is something that I never thought I'd get to experience!

The Palm Court is the area where afternoon tea at The Ritz is served. The dress code is formal, and to be dressed up amongst other beautiful, elegant ladies and smart men was quite a thrill. It is said to be a favourite of Hollywood heartthrob Hugh Grant, amongst others, so you never know who you may be rubbing shoulders with.

The Palm Court itself is absolutely stunning. It has high ceilings, mirrored walls and ornate gold chandeliers. There is a magnificent floral display in the centre of the room, and the tables are laid out perfectly, with crisp white tablecloths and glistening cutlery. The whole thing just screams quality, and it really gives you a sense of how the other half live.

Afternoon tea wouldn't be complete without a good brew, of which 16 different types are on offer. These are loose leaf teas which are brought out in shining silver teapots and need the use of a tea strainer before you can take your first sip. We were given beautiful china teacups to drink from, which just added to the whole experience. I'm not a big tea drinker, but even I could taste the quality of the tea they served.

We were given a whole range of sweet treats and sandwiches, which were brought out on yet more silverware - this time in the form of tiered cake stands. There were cakes, pastries, choux buns and scones for us to try, which were all lovely and sweet. The sandwiches were cut into thin finger portions, and included fillings such as ham and cucumber.

Considering that the starting price for tea at The Ritz is £47 per person (add on up to £30 extra if you want champagne or an extra cake, as well), I'm not really sure that the food itself was worth it. Of course, it tasted good, but for some cake and sandwiches with the crusts cut off, it wasn't exceptional. I'm sure that I could have found cakes and sandwiches of just as good quality elsewhere (or even made them myself!) for a fraction of the price.

Nevertheless, the waiters were perfect. They were all immaculately dressed, attentive and very polite. They were everything that you imagine tea party waiters in a top London hotel should be. The waiters really added to the experience. In addition to this, located just next to the Palm Court is a large, sleek grand piano. During the course of the afternoon tea, a very talented pianist played beautiful classical music. If you don't feel like you're in a high quality hotel by this point, then I don't think you ever will.

It's difficult for me to say whether or not my childhood dream of having an afternoon tea party, especially somewhere as amazing as The Ritz, lived up to my expectations. The hotel itself was beautiful; you can see how it has gained its fabulous reputation. However, the food left me feeling a little disappointed. Essentially, you're paying for the experience and the setting, rather than the food. The experience is worth every penny, although I'm not sure I would pay to go through it again. Having afternoon tea at The Ritz is something that I'm so pleased that I have had the chance to experience, and I'd recommend it to anyone who is interested...but I'd be recommending the venue and the experience, not the food. It's up to you to decide whether or not that experience is worth the price tag!

The Ritz

Country: United Kingdom

Province/State: London

City: N/A

Address: 150 Picadilly

Zip/Post Code: W1J 9BR

Location Tips: A short walk from Green Park and Green Park Tube Station

Phone: 020 7300 2345

Website:http://www.theritzlondon....

Price Guide:$$$ (What's this?) N/A = home cooked meal,etc
$ = street food, fast food,etc
$$ = bistro, cafe, pub, bar,etc
$$$ = fine dining,etc

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