Last Christmas, I was lucky enough to score a reservation for afternoon tea at The Ritz. A grand old tradition, this has been a London institution since the hotel was opened in 1906.
The famous Palm Court Room was decked to the halls with stunning festive decorations, and created the perfect Christmas fairyland for devouring cucumber sandwiches like they were going out of fashion. Looking around however, I was amazed that I was the only one.
Having paid £40 for the privilege of a one hour sitting, I was determined to get my money’s worth, yet so many of the other afternoon tea goers hardly touched their three-tier silver cake stand.
How could they resist freshly baked scones whilst being gently serenaded by christmas carols played gently on a grand piano?
As I sipped on my eighth cup of Darjeeling First Flush, reluctantly turning down the third offer of another cake plate from a waiter in coat tails, I got the chance to actually look at where I was.
Fresh white linen, actual teapots and silver spoons adorned the tables. The lush cream and gold furnishings were the epitome of traditional elegance. It is like being transported into a time gone by.
The resident pianist, Ian Gomes, played 1950s ballads and christmas songs with a quiet enthusiasm. Not to mention by far the nicest rest rooms I have ever had the pleasure of relieving myself in (I’ve been to Harrods, and believe me, they have nothing on The Ritz).
And when you’re ready to leave, they hold the door for you, bow and wish you a pleasant evening.
Afternoon Tea at The Ritz during the festive season is just the perfect indulgence. I’m not sure my waistline or my wallet could handle it being a regular event, but if you are planning a visit to London over the festive season, make a reservation, put on your heels and enjoy a piece of London’s history.
But please go on an empty stomach, it’s a sacrilege that so many delicious pastries, scones and cucumber sandwiches did not get eaten.
Afternoon Tea at The Ritz is from £40 per person.
Reservations essential: Tea at the Ritz