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Lanesborough Afternoon Tea Review

Luxury British Style

About.com Rating 5 Star Rating
User Rating 2 Star Rating (2 Reviews)

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The Lanesborough Hotel - Afternoon Tea - Tea cup

The Lanesborough Hotel - Afternoon Tea

© Laura Porter (2007), licensed to About.com, Inc.

See my 2009 Lanesborough Afternoon Review.

Afternoon Tea is a wonderful British tradition and London's grand hotels do it best. At The Lanesborough, Afternoon Tea is served in Aspleys – a dining area flooded with natural light from its decorative glass roof. Your dining pleasure is accompanied by soft piano music.

Tea Guild Awards

  • Award of Excellence 2009
  • Top London Afternoon Tea 2008 Award
  • Award of Excellence 2007
  • Award of Excellence 2006
  • Top London Afternoon Tea 2005 Award

For more afternoon tea reviews see:
Best Afternoon Tea in London.

Address:
The Lanesborough
Hyde Park Corner
London
SW1X 7TA
Tel: +44 (0)20 7333 7254

Dress Code:
Smart casual

Times:
Monday - Saturday: 3.30pm - 6pm
Sunday: 4pm - 6pm

Pros:

  • Knightsbridge location, opposite Hyde Park
  • Aspleys is a luxury setting
  • Staff willingly take photos for you
  • Everyone makes you feel special
  • You are not rushed
  • Afternoon Tea feels like a very British pastime
  • Good for a pre-theater dining option
  • More filling than you would expect

Con:

  • Weekends can get booked up so try and go on a week day

Tips:

  • Say what you like about tea and listen to the recommendations
  • Staff will offer more tea and cakes – say yes!
  • Try more than one tea blend – we tried four!
  • Come on a week day as you can usually book at short notice
  • Try Assam White Tea - it's definitely worth the small supplementary charge. The Lanesborough got only 10kg in 2007 to give you an idea of how exclusive it is. Every tea leaf was hand picked and hand rolled and it’s very light and refreshing. Try at the end of your ‘meal’.

Lanesborough Afternoon Tea Review

The Lanesborough Hotel - Afternoon Tea - Diner

The Lanesborough Hotel - Afternoon Tea

© Laura Porter (2007), licensed to About.com, Inc.

I tried the Belgravia Tea with a friend on a Saturday afternoon. This upgrade from the Traditional Afternoon Tea added a glass of Taittinger Champagne or Kir Royale plus fresh strawberries and cream. This was a wonderful start to our afternoon but it was made even better by the small lime mousse with fresh raspberries that we received to cleanse our palette. I saw other diners smile too when they tasted it – it was divine! I am not a Champagne fan but the upgrade was worth it for me when I tasted this pre-dessert.

Tea Selection

Tea is a serious business in England and the Lanesborough employs a Tea Sommelier – an expert on all things tea – who tastes the teas daily to ensure quality and consistency of flavor. The Tea Sommelier is in attendance at Afternoon Tea so you can be advised and informed in making your choice from the 20+ varieties including decaffeinated options.

We took the recommendation of Lanesborough Tea – a Darjeeling blend with fresh rose buds. I found the roses overpowered the other flavors but my friend loved it and was given a sample to take home. We next tried the Assam Golden Tippy Moklbari. What an amazing name for a tea! It was unusually a pink color but very pleasant to drink.

The Sommelier brought a wooden box of six specialty teas to our table and described each in detail then asked us which we would like to try. We chose the Assam White Tea which has a much lighter flavor than black tea and is rich in antioxidants. It was extremely refreshing and I would recommend this choice for the end of your Afternoon Tea.

After scones, I took another staff recommendation and tried Rose of the Orient Green Tea. This time the rose buds worked for me and I enjoyed a full pot. My friend loved the Assam White too much to try anything else.

The Cakes

It is always a pleasurable sight to see a tiered cake stand coming to your dining table. The staff really know their subject so let them describe the delights. There are five different finger sandwiches plus various cakes and pastries. You may think it is not much food and that you will still be hungry after just that but I can assure you good quality tea and cakes is very filling - plus they will happily bring you more of all. My friend described the salmon rolls as "delectable" and the best she had tasted in her life. She said, "quote me!" so I have.

Do not get too carried away with the cakes as Afternoon Tea is not complete without traditional scones served with clotted cream which is cream so thick you can spread it was a knife. This with fruit preserve on a scone is scrummy. As was the toasted teacake which comes with the scones.

The Lanesborough Hotel - Afternoon Tea - Samovar

The Lanesborough Samovar

© Laura Porter (2007), licensed to About.com, Inc.

Staff

During our Afternoon Tea the staff regularly refilled our teacups without being intrusive. We were served by mostly European staff, who were all courteous. The staff made you feel very special which, as you will know, makes a huge difference. The Lanesborough staff are trained by their Sommelier (tea expert) and were able to give personal tea recommendations.

The Samovar

The Lanesborough use a Samovar to heat the water for the tea. A Samovar is a large, attractive metal urn that was invented in Russia and came to England in the late 1700s when it started being used in the tea making progress.

Value for Money

Afternoon Tea at any of the top London hotels is not cheap but it certainly does offer value for money. You are not rushed – we stayed for two and a half hours – and you can eat as much as you like as the waiting staff will keep replenishing your table with more tea and nibbles for as long as you desire. It also offers an opportunity to enjoy the elegant surroundings of one of the world's finest hotels without being a guest.

Conclusion

Oh yes, I would definitely recommend Afternoon Tea at the Lanesborough. It is a wonderfully relaxed dining experience where you will be treated extremely well. A real ‘must do’ for any visit to London.

Disclosure: My Afternoon Tea was complimentary and the Lanesborough knew I would be writing a review.

See my 2009 Lanesborough Afternoon Review.

User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 2 out of 5
New years eve 2011 tea at the Lanesborough, Member jasecb

5pm arrived to the beautiful Lanesborough hotel, parents in tow and with my partner we entered through the welcoming door concierge and turn directly right into the afternoon tea holding pen. We were promptly seated by a fantastic and charming french waiter who was very polite and very helpfull throughout our tea. HOWEVER, the gentleman who appeared to be in charge of that department that evening was quite the opposite, infact...quite rude. He barely made eye contact, we felt pressured to finish whilst he lingered and gazed, he obruptly presented the bill when we were no where close to finishing our tea and then came back ten minutes later for the payment. Because of him, this experience was not enjoyable, upon paying the bill with cash i had to ask him for the change because he PRESUMED i would leave it as a tip, THIS IS NOT FIVE STAR SERVICE! I have recomended friends and family to stay and dine at the Lanesborough because i have always recieved good service, this blemish has tainted the hotel and i will no longer be requiring or recomending any of its services. It may be FIVE stars but so is the RITZ LONDON, Top tip Lanesborough... The Ritz staff are elegant, polite and consistent...thoroughly recomended.

11 out of 11 people found this helpful.

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