Contemporary classicism at West London’s best kept secret luxury hotel.
On the day of our visit to The Royal Lancaster Hotel, London, Spring had just begun to emerge from the blanket of winter to reveal her first beautiful colours. Crocuses, snowdrops and even the first flourishes of pale yellow daffodils were beginning to bloom, stirring in us a fresh mood and fresh appetites for trying some new high teas!
Upon stepping into the Lancaster’s grand foyer for the first time, ‘fresh’ was definitely a word that came to mind again, the interior being so light, airy, and contemporary with a veneer of luxury– a modernity quite rare in a luxury London hotel.
The hotel’s Hyde Café, on the first floor, is designed in keeping with the light and bright visual aesthetic, bedecked with marble, mirror, and gold gilt finishings, and we batted our eyelashes twice at some of the beautiful flowers (and, can we say, even more beautiful cakes!) on display under vintage glass bell jars. Our host cordially seated us on a pale leather banquette and immediately procured two glasses of cool Laurent-Perrier champagne, which we took with gratitude as we settled in.
The hotel offers teas from Camellia’s tea house, a house which we’d never heard of, but whom nonetheless was evidently the producer of a selection of teas from around the world. It wasn’t the most exciting tea selection we’d seen, but nonetheless, opted both for green mint which we felt perfectly refreshing beverage – green mint of course is such a refreshing choice for one about to embark on a rich culinary degustation.
After receiving our tea, we were both presented with our sandwiches. We thought serving the sandwiches alone was a little bit strange, and slightly like being at a children’s tea-party. As readers will know, high teas classically are served with all the courses together, on an iconic tiered multi-story tea-tray, but ‘Never mind!’ we thought, it’s all really about the taste, isn’t it! Well, the taste and texture of the sandwiches was perfectly lovely, a selection of traditional fillings such as smoke salmon, and roast chicken whet our savoury appetites.
Moving on from our sarnies, we had to say we did rather enjoy the fresh, warm scones, which were served to us only after we’d finished our sandwiches, with jam and cream. We can’t ever say no to a scone, especially when they’re warm, can you?
The sweets really were the show-stealer of this particular high tea, just aesthetically, they were absolutely beautiful. We wondered how many hours had been spent crafting the tiny petals on the Bua Flower pastry, the incredible sheen on the dark rich chocolate cake, and the dusting ‘just so’ on the coconut Victoria sponge. They were just beautiful, and we could see many diners, including a birthday party, tucking in merrily, the hotel catering for events of all sizes – even a wedding party which we watched with delight from the café that was happening in the hotel lobby.
After the close of our afternoon tea, we felt it befitting for a lovely springtime walk across Hyde Park, which really helped us dust off the cobwebs and burn off (a few of!) the calories from the decedent feast we’d just enjoyed. The Royal Lancaster is a great choice for a luxurious afternoon tea in a contemporarily classy setting in West London, we concluded.