diamond geezer

 Sunday, March 06, 2016

When treating your mum on Mother's Day, nothing delights more than indulging in a spot of afternoon tea. This age-old British tradition is a genuine institution, and today of all days an essential maternal treat. What better this very special afternoon than to enjoy an elegant pampering experience in a London hotel or restaurant? Here then are the capital's very finest afternoon tea experiences - luxury heaven guaranteed - for the extra-special mother in your life.

Royal Mayfair Hotel
Chic and contemporary, the exclusive Royal Mayfair Afternoon Tea is as artfully presented as it is playful. Starting off with a cinnamon and vanilla infused palate cleanser, the crustless mini-sandwiches are filled with exquisite cucumber relish and char-smoked horseradish. These savoury bites deliver big-time pleasure, deftly contrasted by a pot of the finest hand-filtered oriental tea. Slip back into your comfy chair and raise a cup to motherhood. [£35 prebook]

Floral Lounge at The Castlebank
For high class pampering on a very special day, a veritable spread of tasty treats awaits. A tray stacked high with crisp-cut sandwiches and rolldrop pannetone-style scones will be the centrepiece of this unique experience, bursting with a delicate lavender bouquet. Every bite of horseradish-sprinkled salmon enchants the senses, along with sweet treats such as lychee jelly macarons and absinthe choux, washed down with a swirling pot of artisan tea. [£28 prebook]

Belgravia Magna Hotel
Dress up in your finest smart casual and make your way to the Belgravia for luxury to the max. The maître d' will welcome you with a flute of exclusive Dubois champagne, before delivering deluxe squares of happiness to your corner table. Only the finest gravadlax and quince jelly is used, artistically prepared to the exclusive recipe of Head Chef Max Morris-Hampton. Your unforgettable experience comes with one free top-up of tea, plus gratification guaranteed. [£42 prebook]

Soho Continental
This mater-friendly package has it all, from the plush leather seating to the delicate rose petals sprinkled on your sideplate, not to mention the tower of one-bite micro-morsels piled high to please. Using only twice-churned Devon butter to augment the organic raspberry preserve, this is the crown princess of afternoon teas with a reputation to match. Choose from a variety of loose-leaf teas, individually sourced, while the resident pianist tinkles in the corner. [£37 prebook]

Renaissance Hotel, Marylebone
If it's fragrant delectation you seek, embrace the art of the savoury afternoon tea. Homemade stilton scones with Sevruga caviar complement the delicate finger sandwich selection, while the petite eclairs and mini lemon tarts are a genuine establishment classic. Encased in delicate shards of pastel-toned bread, with only the most thinly-sliced cucumber and a dainty dash of extravagant filling, this tea is the gateway to a fantasy world of high cuisine. [£40 prebook]

Queen Anne's Saloon
Mini seafood brioche rolls and rhubarb eton mess are the keynote items on this luxury platter. Nobody just does sandwiches, cakes and tea any more, oh no, because that wouldn't upsell. Instead they compete to create the most ludicrous list of ingredients inside the teensiest squares of bread, to lure in punters with more money than sense. Bleed the buggers, why don't we, as if our posh hotels and bars aren't rolling in it already. [£29 prebook]

The Kensington Hotel
I mean, what makes you think your mother would even be interested? Dragging her out to a swanky London posh-spot, dressed to the nines, so some poorly paid kitchen staff can fill a few tiny sandwiches with egg and cress, and slice some over-rated cake into portions even Mr Kipling would sneer at. As for the tea-based centrepiece, you do know it's possible to brew a perfectly decent cuppa at home for about fivepence, rather than engage in this extortion. [£45 prebook]

Wooster's, Fitzrovia Square
Seriously, of all the meals a hotel serves, afternoon tea has to be the most profitworthy. Utilising otherwise-empty tables between lunch and dinner, the chef can go home while a handful of staff get some sandwich fillings out of the fridge and stick the kettle on. A few choice doilies and some crockery bling complete the illusion, perhaps with a glass of bubbly thrown in to top up the price by another tenner. Add a 15% service charge, and who's laughing? [£31 prebook]

Covent Garden Spa
Then there are the media outlets that publish fawning promotional spiel like this in the full knowledge that it's drivel. Lists of London's Finest Afternoon Teas are nothing more than lightly-disguised advertorial, praising offers they've been treated to for free or been asked to feature for a fee. Dressed up with pretentious flowery words, their vacuous drooling funnels the tourist pound into the coffers of big business, and pays the website's bills. [undisclosed fee]

Hotel Saint Clement
Why don't you just buy Mum a bunch of flowers like most people? That and a card is normally enough. Or simply reject this day of rampant commercialism, a Christian festival now inappropriately exploited. If afternoon tea is really important to you, do it yourself, it's hardly difficult. Take her a tray with a pot of tea and some cake, ideally one you've baked yourself, she'll appreciate the effort. And why wait for Mother's Day, she's worth more than that. [£5.29 down the shops]

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