By Amy Laughinghouse
1. The Berkeley
Drawing inspiration from the runway collections of designers such as Diane von Furstenberg, Dolce & Gabbana, Valentino, and Jimmy Choo, The Berkeley’s “Prêt-à-Portea” serves up cakes and cookies molded into the shape of clothes and accessories. If your sartorial repast inspires a spot of shopping, Harvey Nichols and Harrods department stores are just a short stroll away.
2. Baglioni Hotel London
This luxurious property opposite Hyde Park redefines la dolce vita by putting an Italian twist on this most English of traditions. Nestled amid your selection of cucumber with cream cheese and smoked Scottish salmon sandwiches, for instance, you’ll find grilled Mediterranean vegetable focaccia, and scones can be topped with Italian Nutella, as well as the usual clotted cream and jam.
3. Rocco Forte’s Brown’s Hotel
Expect the royal treatment when you book afternoon tea at Brown’s Hotel, where Queen Victoria herself used to kick back with a cuppa. The hotel’s English Tea Room still boasts original wood paneling and antique fireplaces, juxtaposed against contemporary artwork. In addition to sandwiches, scones, cakes, and pastries, you can choose from more than 17 types of teas, including Brown’s own special blend.
This legendary Mayfair property caters to all ages. Not only does it offer “classic” and “champagne” afternoon teas, with finger sandwiches, scones, sweet pastries, and 24 blends from around the world, but it also serves a children’s tea for wee ones 5 to 10 years old. These budding connoisseurs can enjoy vanilla cupcakes and chocolate brownies as they occupy themselves with a menu that cleverly doubles as a coloring book.
5. The Ritz London
As one of London’s most renowned tearooms, The Ritz boasts five seatings a day – and still books up well in advance. Ensconced in the gilded splendor of Palm Court, you might just spy a starlet or visiting dignitary as you peruse a menu that proffers 16 types of loose-leaf tea, served with a traditional selection of sandwiches, freshly baked scones with strawberry preserve and Cornish clotted cream, as well as assorted cakes and pastries.