JW Marriott Grosvenor House celebrates 90

Glitterati, celebrities and 650 guests gathered in Park Lane on 30th April to celebrate something very special. On a warm summer evening the grande dame of Mayfair, JW Marriott Grosvenor House London, celebrated 90 years. Since its establishment, in 1929, JW Marriott Grosvenor House has been a place of intrigue in the capital. As a former residence of the Dukes of Westminster it’s where the longest reigning British monarch spent summer days as a child. The official dinner and after party for the BAFTAs have taken place here for 68 years. The Royal Caledonian and The Russian Debutante Balls are also both hosted here. So it’s no stranger to entertaining on a grand scale.

The celebration in April also marked the completion of a four year renovation of Grosvenor House. I stepped over the threshold of the Park Street entrance and stood astounded at the grandness of it all. The hotel’s forecourt had transformed into an ethereal summer dream that had been inspired by Hyde Park. A yellow rose frame complete with park bench and picnic basket was the backdrop. Well-heeled guests mingled freely as Champagne, of all shades of the setting sun, flowed freely. Between clinking of crystal flutes staff in starched white uniforms weaved in and out of the crowd. They carried silver platters of delights from the hotel’s four restaurants hand-picked by Executive Chef Paul Bates.

Inside, was an open house and guests glided from one room to the next. The splendid Park Room is now a palatial nod to the most famous park it overlooks; Hyde Park. The colours are muted, the carpet echoes fallen leaves in autumn and seasonal flowers dominate the eye line. It led to the lively and atmospheric JW Steakhouse which was rollicking good fun with doors wide open and live music. Prime USDA cuts and tasting options accompanied by drinks from its Bourbon Bar were served to a delighted crowd. Corrigan’s Mayfair’s oysters, Dickie’s Black Velvet cocktails and Ruya London’s Anatolian bites were sure fire crowd-pleasers. Sweet dessert plates of orange, basil and Dorset raspberry tart and lavender cake were sublime. Nyetimber Classic Cuvee and the hotel’s unique signature Yellow Rose Tea accompanied the refined menu.

String infusions all female musicians play at JW Marriott.

Elmhurst Ballet School entertained with a thrilling pop-up and String Infusion and Super Spokes played timeless classical music. The evening culminated with a performance by the London Community Gospel Choir which I missed but had brought the house down.

General Manager Stuart Bowery added, “Throughout the 90 years of its legacy, JW Marriott Grosvenor House London has played a role, whether large or small, in the history of this beloved city. This year, following significant transformations, our iconic hotel begins an exciting new chapter. We look forward to welcoming our guests as we head into the next decade feeling inspired and fulfilled.

We certainly wish JW Marriott another enduring 90 years on Park Lane.

For more information on JW Marriott Grosvenor House visit: www.marriott.co.uk/grosvenor-house-london/


Celebrating Baby Sussex at Shangri-La Hotel At The Shard

Afternoon tea served with view of Tower Bridge.

The long awaited member of Frogmore Cottage is here and we can hardly contain ourselves! Welcome to the world Baby Sussex! As London is now officially in jubilation I marked the occasion with Royal High Tea at Shangri-La Hotel At The Shard. In honour of the royal birth and motherhood everywhere the hotel has devised a very special celebratory menu for us to enjoy.

This however, is no ordinary occasion and as such this is no ordinary high tea. A view over Tower Bridge and the Thames from the comfort of Shangri-La’s TĪNG Lounge and Restaurant is one of the greatest privileges afforded to us by the hotel. I’m forever in awe of it no matter how many times I see it. So here’s what I had:

To eat

Wiltshire ham and piccalilli wrapped in the neatest of soft bread was the perfect nod to a traditional tea. Scottish smoked salmon, Elderflower poached chicken and cucumber were also part of this heavenly treat.

For my sweet tooth the blueberry cheesecake, chocolate sable with passion fruit cream and strawberry mousse with rhubarb cream were all I could have hoped for and more. May I add that the scones gratified all the senses.

To drink

Tīng Lounge and Restaurant welcomes you with their signature white jasmine tea with apricot. Coupled with Shangri-La’s devotion to refined and sensuous enjoyment of their guests the tea was pourled elegantly in to a magical cloud against the backdrop of London’s skyline. It was simply breathtaking.

There is also an extensive menu of the highest quality Shangri-La loose leaf teas. My favourite was the infused Beautiful Skin Tea of elderflower and hints of rose. China White Monkey tea with honey nuances was wonderful. I also tried the Green Mint of China gunpowder tea blended with peppermint leaves. It was crisp, fresh and utterly pleasing.

Why this menu is so special

To make this occasion extra special the Shangri-La At The Shard team have dug deep in to their past. Sentimentality, family recipes and childhood memories have been scoured to honour the most important women in our lives.

Executive Pastry Chef Benoit Defait has contributed his mother’s blueberry cheesecake recipe. Benoit fondly remembers the family making wild berry jam together. “It took three months for each jar to be ready which I was very impatient about. I would help my grandmother carefully place a label on each jar and then once three months had passed we would eagerly open them together and eat it by the spoonful.” As the family lived close to a farm who gave them cheese they’d make cakes and tarts using all the ingredients. I got a taste of that French countryside, those wild berries and share in the memories of grandson and grandmother cheekily eating spoonfuls of jam together. I felt truly honoured.

Commis Pastry Chef Lucy Wall cherishes memories of baking crumbles and cakes with her mother and grandmother. “My grandmother used to grow rhubarb and strawberries in the garden which we’d use to make crumbles, cakes and pies. I was responsible for rolling the pastry and loved getting stuck in. Although my favourite part was licking the spoon”, says Chef Lucy. So how grateful I was to taste her grandmother’s strawberry mousse which was divine.

Pastry Sous Chef Emma Watts was inspired to become a pastry chef by her grandmother who baked with her from a very young age. Chef Emma says, “My granny had a stack of cake cutters and cake decoration tools which my sister and I loved to play with. We were responsible for weighing the flour and sugar on the old scales. We’d constantly fight over who was right!” Her favourite cake to bake with her grandmother was a Victoria Sponge and that is exactly what Chef Emma contributed to The Royal High Tea. It’s truly worthy of the highest praise.

There was also a surprise bliss of Executive Chef Jeremy’s mother’s bara brith which I found exceptional. Executive Sous Chef David’s mother’s passion fruit cream with chocolate sable was the stuff of dreams.

So you see Baby Sussex, we are really happy that you’re here. We offer you the highest honour we could possibly bestow upon you; Royal High Tea served overlooking the greatest city on earth.

I was a guest of Shangri-La At The Shard Hotel. The Royal High Tea with a royal baby cocktail or mocktail costs £62 per person and available until 30th May 2019.