In my humble opinion, afternoon tea is one of those experiences that if you’re going to do it then it’s worth doing it properly; a few soggy sandwiches and low fat spread just isn’t going to cut it.
Obviously there are the famous options; Claridges providing probably the most famous cucumber sandwiches known to man. However, it is the lesser known and utterly decadent afternoon tea at the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel that I come back to again … and again … and again.
It’s probably worth mentioning at this point that to visit the St Pancras Spa and hotel for any other health reason than relaxation is both to waste an opportunity and to totally miss the point. This is a place for total indulgence. So it is fitting that the three course afternoon tea comes with an option to choose from a range of loose leaf teas, or to upgrade to champagne or cocktails instead.
Onto the important bit when they bring on the food, which starts with a little tray of perfectly crafted sandwiches – squares, circles, triangles, swirls, and miniature towers with a variety of fillings, and once you have gobbled your way through those, you are invited to have as many more as you like.
My hearty advice is not to overdo it at this stage, however much you are tempted, because next up is a course of warm scones (fruit or plain) with cream and jam, followed by a plate of different mini desserts ranging from tiny pavlovas to chocolate mousse. That’s a good two hours worth of entertainment before you roll home.
All of this is delivered against the backdrop of the hotel’s lobby bar which uses the framework of the original train station to spectacular effect, complete with a glass ceiling that’s multiple stories high, letting in the natural light.
After an hour long massage and a soak in the hydrotherapy pool, I can think of few finer ways to complete an afternoon, which has always extended into the evening when girly breaks have seen us at the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, thanks to the sheer quantity and quality of food and surroundings.
One thing’s for sure; after an afternoon tea like that, other afternoon teas have something to live up to!
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