Afternoon tea at JW Marriott Grosvenor House London

Whether you’re visiting London or live here you must, at least once, experience afternoon tea at five-star JW Marriott Grosvenor House. The experience was Highly Commended at the Afternoon Tea Awards 2018 in recognition of its superior Afternoon Tea service.

History

JW Marriott Grosvenor House occupies an immensely historic space in London. The land on which it stands dates back to 1665. The first building served as a home and was used by the government during the First World War as part of the War effort. The hotel was built on the site in 1927 and upon completion was the first in London to have a bathroom in every room. It was also the first in Europe to have running iced water in every washroom. In the 1930s Queen Elizabeth II would have ice skating lessons in The Great Room. During the Second World War years it served as the largest US officers’ mess. The swinging 60s saw a host of events as diverse as The Beatles to boxing matches take place on the premises. Thereafter, passing through the hands of no less than six owners Marriott International acquired the hotel in 2004.

Step over the threshold of JW Marriott Grosvenor House and you cannot fail to feel the history of what it has always been. It’s around you; in the smile of the doorman, the greeting from the concierge, cloaking you along the walkways and most definitely in the atmosphere of the magnificent Park Room. As with most things regal it neither screams nor shouts. It simply is. That is possibly the reason, as I later found out, that year after year the same families return to JW Marriott Grosvenor House to spend their summers here. Even with 400 rooms, and as clichéd as it may sound, the hotel has a feeling of home.

The Park Room

The Park Room, where afternoon tea is served, is a vast, elegant space that looks out to Hyde Park. As I walked through the grand lobby nothing prepared me for it. Floor to ceiling windows, a soft muted carpet and a larger-than-life display of fresh flowers make for an enchanting greeting. Softest shades of grey chairs accent against leafy green velvet ones all in an immaculate placement. On close inspection the shapes and colours on the carpet resemble fallen leaves on an autumn day. One of my favourite things starched linen, angular clear glass displays and mirrors behind the bar blended together seamlessly. Daylight infuses every corner of the room falling over you as you enter; such magic and I’d not even had a sip of tea yet.

Afternoon tea

There are five afternoon tea options at JW Marriott Grosvenor House. A Classic Tea selection from Newby (£47.50 per person) and Rare & Exclusive Tea selection from Newby (£50.50) per person, There are also three Champagne tea options: Champagne Afternoon tea with a glass of Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut (£57.50 per person), Champagne Afternoon tea with a glass of Perrier-Jouët Blason Rosé (£59.50 per person) or Afternoon Tea with a glass of Nyetimber Cuvee Chérie (£57.50 per person). As this was a celebration of British elegance I opted for Nytimber Cuvee Chérie.

It is also possible to order cocktails with your afternoon tea. The cocktail menu is inspired by the Park Room’s proximity to Hyde Park. Infusions of natural botanicals and tea themed cocktails paired with gin and Champagne can be enjoyed as extras.

JW Marriott Grosvenor House’s afternoon tea begins with a candy floss-topped shot of orange and yellow vitamins. It’s fun and playful and the most incredible ice-breaker. From here the experience unfolds in a more traditional way.

Savoury

The savoury selection of sandwiches include cucumber with garden mint butter, smoked Oakham chicken with tarragon and crème fraîche, roast Aberdeen Angus beef with creamed horseradish, honey roast Yorkshire ham with Coleman’s English mustard and North Atlantic cold water prawn with classic Marie Rose sauce. Delicate open sandwiches include Foreman’s smoked Scottish salmon with cream cheese and Burford Brown Clarence Court egg with mayonnaise and chives.

Sweet

Plain and raisin buttermilk scones are served with clotted cream and no less than six preserves: strawberry, rose petal, rhubarb and ginger, gooseberry, raspberry and blackcurrant. Rose petal preserve was the standout star for me. It was divine.

The assortment of cakes and pastries included milk chocolate and honeycomb mousse, Kaffir lime and ginger éclair, citrus, raspberry and basil tart, lavender cake and rhubarb apple and custard delice. I had previously had the good fortune of tasting Executive Pastry Chef, Dale DeSimone’s lavender cake at JW Marriott Grosvenor House’s 90th anniversary celebration. It had remained etched in my memory ever since and I was thoroughly looking forward to my second experience of it; as delightful as I’d remembered it.

7th Duchess of Bedford

Afternoon tea is a rather civilised affair all round. Yet the relaxed and composed setting of the Park Room, the impeccable service and the wonderful tea and food makes this experience outstanding. No wonder it’s named after Anna, 7th Duchess of Bedford, who succumbed to pangs of hunger in the late afternoon by ordering tea, bread and cakes in her bedroom. I too followed in the Duchess’ footsteps and was willingly seduced by magnificent tea, bread and lavender cake.

Afternoon tea is served between 12.30pm and 6pm everyday. There is also a children’s afternoon tea at the cost of £25 per child. Booking is essential. For more information visit: www.parkroom.co.uk


Courtesan – Bigger, Better, Later.

When you live in a city as diverse as London you soon learn that there is a list of pulsating, uber cool, queues out of the door, “you’re not on the list” venues that simmer just below the surface. They give this city its edge. BUT you have to be in the know.

Read my complete post at tikichris.com 

 

 

Ladies’ Day – Qatar Goodwood Festival

It was a wonderful day of champagne and horse racing at Qatar Goodwood Festival on Thursday 3rd August this year. My fellow bloggers, journalists and I descended upon glorious Goodwood on Ladies’ Day at the kind invitation of Visit Qatar.

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Champagne and Racing

The hospitality was nothing short of what I’ve come to expect from Visit Qatar – WARM, GENEROUS AND SPECTACULAR. Perfectly colour matched lilies coordinated with the decor of the QREC box . Fresh flowers, a festive atmosphere and wonderful food flowed in abundance. Impeccable service was a joy. We enjoyed canapes, lunch and afternoon tea.

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Ladies’ Day

FullSizeRender 150Binny’s Kitchen and I were all smiles in the QREC Box

As it was Ladies’ Day I cannot ignore this great tradition which dates back to the 1800s. Racing has always been and will continue to be associated with the Royal family. As such, the Royal Procession sets the tone for the attire. Hats for men and women are a key element. It’s worth noting that Ladies’ Day dressing is not about falling victim to the latest trends. It is a racing tradition.

I stuck to classic vintage style. Most women also chose to do the same adding to the incredible spectacle of Ladies’ Day at Goodwood. My hat was by the wonderful British milliner Lady Sharma. I changed my outfit it at the last minute but thankfully it still came together and I felt relaxed and comfortable all through the day.

The Sport of Kings (and Queens)

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Goodwood has a history of horse racing which dates back over two centuries. The 3rd Duke of Richmond introduced horse racing to Goodwood in 1801. Other than during WWII, when racing was suspended, Goodwood’s popularity as a racing venue grew rapidly. Goodwood remains one of the most beautiful locations set against the backdrop of Sussex Downs. There still exists a vintage feel about the racecourse.

The Most Beautiful Racecourse in the World

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FullSizeRender 161It was wonderful to watch the fixtures at Goodwood. As each race unfolded the atmosphere became electric. Bets were won and lost in good cheer. The incredible view of the finish line from the box was just magnificent.

The whole day was fun, lively and energetic and it felt as though it ended too quickly. The drive through the beautiful countryside as we headed back to London was a perfect ending to a glorious day. I can hardly wait for next year.

 

 

The Tea Bus Comes to Town!

Picnic on a Bus

It is a universally acknowledged fact that you can never be bored in London. However, every once in a while something comes along that is so simple that it’s genius! What do you get if you cross the quintessentially British tradition of afternoon tea with the iconic Routemaster? Behold…B Bakery‘s afternoon tea bus tour!

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Tea and cakes served on a double decker as you take in London’s landmarks is the brilliant idea behind the Afternoon Tea Bus Tour. The pick up points are Victoria coach station or Northumberland Avenue which are easily accessible for all. So whether you’re visiting London for first time OR are a born and bred Londoner who happens to love London and tea THIS is for you!

London Sightseeing

We boarded the bus from London Victoria bus station and I was almost giddy with excitement! The tables were set and the bus was decorated with gorgeous flowers all around.

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Picture source: B-bakery.com

Starting from Victoria we travelled through the prettiest parts of London. The tour took us to Mayfair, Knightsbridge, Royal Albert Hall, Green Park, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square. As we munched our way through delicious sandwiches and quiches the recorded tour guide narrated interesting and little known snippets of London’s history.

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Cupcakes!

We hit the cupcakes as the bus reached Embankment and headed towards Big Ben. As for these sweet treats? They are to die for! The sponges were as light as air and the frosting simply melted on my tongue. The diced pineapple custard tarte dusted with cinnamon was simply heaven. I could have eaten a dozen!

I opted for a cappuccino from the drinks menu and it was served in the prettiest travel mug with a lid to avoid any nasty spillages. Furthermore, as the tour was wrapping up we were served English scones with clotted cream and jam that we simply COULD NOT leave behind.

Oh, and you know what else? If you’re not particularly fond of meat or have special dietary requirements, vegetarian, gluten free and Halal menu options are also available.

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The tour ended back at our starting point and a good time was definitely had by all. The tea bus tour runs daily and I couldn’t recommend it enough. I had so much fun and even as a Londoner I felt excited to see my home in this way. Book yourself a ticket and enjoy this ride, I say.