Afternoon tea or high tea at the Ritz Hotel is a fine affair and this quintessential British experience is one that should not be missed.
From the moment you enter this grand, old world hotel you will most certainly feel like royalty, a king or queen for the day. Built in 1906 the hotel was the place to be “seen” for high society’s most glamorous and famous. Even the 1929 hit “Putting on the Ritz” was inspired by the clientele who frequented the Ritz Hotel.
The Palm Court is an elegantly decorated room of grand proportions and is meticulously maintained. With marble columns, high gilded ceilings, beautiful birdcage chandeliers and ornate cream Louis the XVI decor throughout. In the centre of the room is a grand floral display and at Christmas time it is replaced with a beautifully decorated Christmas tree.
Tables are elegantly laid out with crisp white table cloths, set with Silver tea service. The waiters are impeccably dressed and weave in and out the room effortlessly looking after their guests in an attentive manner. All the while in the background the resident piano player is playing a mix of modern and classic musical tunes.
The Ritz afternoon tea has a selection of 17 different teas on offer, along with exquisite cakes, pastries and traditional sandwiches served on a 3 tier serving platter. Now afternoon tea wouldn’t be complete without scones and these are seriously delicious. Your waiter will bring a plate of scones to your table and are served with strawberry jam and clotted cream. If your waiter sees your plate empty he will, without delay make sure your plate is replenished. The afternoon tea really is a filling affair and just when you thought you were done, a waiter visits each table with a cake trolley and will cut you a slice if you are able to fit it in!
We visited the week before Christmas 2013 and I would have to say it was a wonderfully posh experience. We had pre-booked 2 months in advance and found that most sittings were already booked. We were able to take the 11.30 sitting and stayed until the end of our allocated time of 2 hours. I don’t think I have drank so much tea in my life in such a short space of time but it was just exquisite and after all it’s all about the tea!
There are 5 afternoon tea sittings per day, 7 days a week at the Ritz and the more popular times of the day are often booked out in advance. So it’s highly recommended that you check the Ritz Hotel website for availability and book in advance online.
The Ritz hotel has a strict dress code in the Palm court and you will be required to wear formal attire. Remember to pack your suit and tie and ladies to dress elegantly. If you do not meet the dress code you will have to hire appropriate clothing from the cloak room by leaving a refundable security deposit.
The Ritz Hotel overlooks Green Park and is serviced by the Piccadilly line, Victoria and Jubilee lines.
The Ritz London address:
London W1J 9BR
Traditional Afternoon tea is £47
Champagne Afternoon tea is £59 (includes one glass of champagne)
Celebration Tea £58 (includes a celebration cake)
Celebration tea with champagne £69 (includes a celebration cake and a glass of champagne)