Afternoon tea is a quintessentially English experience which lots of London visitors wish to experience. So we’ve now done some research to find the hotel currently independently-rated as doing it best.
The Tea Guild was founded by the UK Tea Council in 1985. Its mission is to recognise establishments with the highest standards in serving tea.
Their prestigious annual award is now in its 24th year and highly sought-after. It’s a kind of “Michelin star” of the tea world.
All the Tea Guild’s inspections are conducted anonymously.
But the hotel currently rated as the best in this speciality may surprise you: it’s Rocco Forte Collection’s Brown’s Hotel in the upscale Mayfair district.
The Tea Guild declared the English Tea Room at Brown’s a worthy winner due to the following:
- Overall cleanliness and attractive crockery.
- Friendly staff.
- The broad selection of scones, cakes and sandwiches. Tip: the Victoria sponge gets rave reviews.
- In-depth knowledge of teas (the hotel employs 2 expert tea sommeliers to advise you on the 17 teas on offer).
- Calm, relaxing atmosphere with live piano music.
- Beautifully-written, evocative menus.
It’s clear that the hotel’s dedication to afternoon tea extends to making it an absolute centrepiece of the Brown’s experience.
It’s not cheap but we recommend you treat yourself!
They even run “Tea-torials” where the Brown’s Pastry Chef gives you a personal demo on how to make their award-winning scones and cakes.
Apart from its delectable afternoon tea, how does Brown’s rate in the pecking order of ultra-deluxe hotels in London?
It ranks solidly though not spectacularly within TripAdvisor’s top 100.
Recent guest comments highlight the quality of décor, the well-appointed bathrooms and its handy central location.
The hotel’s restaurant, The Albemarle, has a fantastic collection of British art though is rather expensive. That should not concern you unduly as you’ll be just a short walk from some of the capital’s best restaurants.
Finally, here are a couple of alternative suggestions for exceptional afternoon teas in London:
Palm Court at the Langham
As previously noted in our visit to the Langham, this iconic room (indeed the entire hotel) has been extensively redone. So now is a good time to visit a venue serving afternoon tea since 1865. The so-called “Wonderland Tea” (including smoked salmon sandwiches and many other delights) is recommended. They even serve a “Bijoux Tea” with pastries shaped like jewellery and scones with champagne-soaked raisins. Pure indulgence!
Afternoon De-Light at the Met Bar (Metropolitan London)
This is a trendy bar by night but mutates in the daytime to serve London’s only “healthy” afternoon tea! Everything is crafted with the use of healthy alternatives including low-fat crème fraiche, olive oil, fruit purees and even “no bread sandwiches”! It’s a great way to indulge without guilt.
Photo credits: Como Hotels, Langham Hotel, Brown’s Hotel (Rocco Forte Collection).