It was Anna, 7th Duchess of Bedford, who in the late 18th century had the brilliant notion of asking her butler to bring her a light meal in the middle of the afternoon. The Park Room at Grosvenor House, A JW Marriott Hotel has named its tea in her honor. 'Anna's Tea' is as distinguished as its originator, with a choice of 17 blends of tea from around the world. (Note, even more teas added in Feb 09.)
For more afternoon tea reviews see:
Best Afternoon Tea in London.
Tea Guild Awards
- Award of Excellence 2009
Afternoon Tea Information
Park Room, Grosvenor House, A JW Marriott Hotel.
The Park Room is very much in the hotel's tradition of understated elegance. The most popular tables are by the floor-to-ceiling windows with views of Hyde Park, but note these are all tables for two.
As the windows are not next to the pavement you don't feel like you're in a 'goldfish bowl'. You see more traffic than pedestrians but I found most passers by smiled when they saw our beautiful table and this made us feel special.
Days and Times:
Monday to Sunday: 2pm to 6pm.
Although Afternoon Tea is served from 2pm it is most popular from 3pm. The room has a relaxed ambiance even with the buzz as the room fills up.
Cost: Anna's Tea from £32.50 per person. (2011 rate)
Dress Code: No dress code as such but it is always nice to make an effort.
Reservations: For reservations call 020 7399 8452 or visit www.grosvenor-house.co.uk.
You can also book the Grosvenor House afternoon tea through Viator.
Music: Background music is played before the pianist arrives at 2.30pm to play contemporary classics.
Children: Families are welcome and a special 'Grover's Tea' is available for children. Named after the hotel's eponymous British Bulldog, children are also given their own cuddly Grover to take home.
About Grosvenor House, A JW Marriott HotelGrosvenor House, A JW Marriott Hotel is London's largest five star hotel. It first opened its doors to the public in May 1929 and quickly established itself as the glamorous home of the society set and wealthy Americans, attracting a fashionable crowd from Edward VIII and Mrs. Simpson to Ella Fitzgerald and Jacqueline Onassis.
Afternoon tea is one of Britain's great traditions and the Park Room's contribution to this delightful ritual is a treat not to miss. It was Anna, 7th Duchess of Bedford, who in the late 18th century had the brilliant notion of asking her butler to bring her a light meal in the middle of the afternoon. The Park Room has named its tea in her honor. 'Anna's Tea' is as distinguished as its originator, with a choice of 17 carefully picked blends of tea from around the world. (Note, even more teas added in Feb 09.) The tea also includes light scones with jam and clotted cream, bite-size sandwiches and melt-in-the-mouth pastries.
Alternatively, those with smaller appetites or major evening plans can limit their indulgence to a single piece of cake.
Afternoon Tea Review
- The staff are superb - courteous, welcoming and attentive.
- The Park Room is very spacious so you can't be overheard by other tables.
- Tea advice is offered.
- No house blend of tea. (Update: 'Grosvenor House Royal Blend' was added in Feb 09.)
- Scones were brought to the table warm but were cool by the time we got to them.
Staff and ServiceCarlos, The Park Room Manager, takes an avid interest in his guests enjoyment. He is friendly, polite, speaks a variety languages, plus he has the tea knowledge and advice that you need when having afternoon tea.
The waiting staff are clearly silver service trained and are very well-presented. Our waiter poured our tea for us and placed everything on the table with skill.
Tea SelectionThere isn't a house blend of tea but instead Grosvenor House have chosen respected English brands. (Note, a house blend was added in Feb 09.) You can choose from:
- Jackson's of Piccadilly Regional Teas
- Jackson's of Piccadilly Leaf Teas
- Twinings Herbal & Fruit Infusions
Carlos, the Park Room Manager, recommended we try light teas first. Never one to shy away from tasting new teas, we tried:
- Signature Chinese White Silvertips – deliciously light and very easy to drink.
- Chinese Keemun – light but smoky. Described as having a hazelnut aroma but this wasn't obvious.
- Signature Chinese Sencha Green Tea – light and subtle.
- Lady Grey – best without milk and has delightful orange overtones.
- Pure Assam – beautiful. Probably the strongest, most full-bodied tea they serve.
We enjoyed a tropical fruit starter which was tangy and delicious before our traditional three-tiered silver cake stand arrived.
Cake StandThe cake stand looked very pretty and the scones arrived warm with a napkin to keep them so. The waiter subtly placed the cake stand on the diagonal so my view of my companion wasn't completely obscured.
Unusually, the scones were triangular and you receive three each instead of the standard two. Although they arrived warm, by the time we'd finished our sandwiches - and gossiped a lot! - they were no longer warm but they were still very light; crisp on the outside but not crumbly.
The top layer of cakes and fancies were accompanied by marzipan fruits in the center which added fun color but my favorite was the incredibly rich chocolate cake.
The Park Room is bathed in natural light and is a fine setting for afternoon tea all year round.
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary services for review purposes. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our Ethics Policy.