Cost – £17.95 (Oct 2019)
Parking and Access – There is some parking to the rear of the hotel in their carpark. However, this was full when we drove through. There is also metered parking on the road, opposite the hotel. The entrance to the hotel is on the left-hand side of the front and has level access. Within the hotel, the access to the Ventana Restaurant, where Afternoon Tea is served is all flat. The toilets are located just off reception. Access to the ladies toilets is flat, but there are steps down to the men’s toilets. However, there is a disabled toilet available as well, which has level access.
Background – When we visited Bournemouth in 2018, we had noticed the beautiful art deco building up on the East Cliff that is the Cumberland Hotel. So, when we returned to the town in 2019, it was the obvious choice for us to try their Afternoon Tea.
The outside of the hotel is stunning. It is classic art deco in style, with a lovely outdoor pool in front, and sea views ahead.
Reception is also art deco styled in black and white.
However, beyond reception, the hotel does not make anything of its art deco heritage. If it was mine, I would fill it with deco style decoration, furniture and fittings. I felt it was a shame not to have made more of such an obvious theme.
The Afternoon Tea is called ARTea and is described as a ‘contemporary Afternoon Tea with inspired deco splendour’ so there is a reference to the building there. And the stand had a deco look about it. Sadly the room could have been anywhere.
Contents – Four rectangular sandwiches each (cucumber and cream cheese, egg mayonnaise, smoked salmon, chicken and mayonnaise). One medium sized fruit and cinnamon scone, a mini jar of Tiptree strawberry jam each, a small dish of clotted cream and a small dish of butter between two. A mini macaroon, a tiny finger of coffee and walnut cake, a small piece of mocha opera cake, a tiny corner of chocolate cake and a small mini mango dessert. A pot of tea.
Comments – On arrival, we were directed to the Ventana Restaurant. We waited briefly at the entrance before being shown to a small table in the middle of the room.
The table was laid with a very small square white plate with a blue and white patterned cup and saucer on top. There was also a thick white paper napkin topped with a knife and fork.
We were then left sitting at the table for nearly twenty-five minutes before anyone came to speak to us. We were then brought menus to choose a tea from. We both decided on the Cumberland Classic tea.
The tea arrived quite quickly in two small individual teapots and a milk jug between us. The tea was made with loose leaf tea. Unfortunately, there were too many tea leaves packed into the cage in the teapot and the tea was rather too strong. Each pot only made two cups of tea so we poured a cup each and then asked for the pots to be topped up with just hot water. This did improve the strength of the tea a bit.
The Afternoon Tea took a further fifteen minutes to arrive. The Tea was nicely presented on a stylish, round, three-tier stand.
It was accompanied by a small plate containing two small china spoons filled with spinach humous as an amuse bouche.
The sandwiches were a little on the small side. However, they were pretty well filled and freshly made. They were made with a mix of white and brown bread.
The scones were medium sized and had been slightly warmed up. They tasted freshly made. The scones were made with raisins and cinnamon and were particularly tasty. There was enough jam in the mini jars for one scone each and also plenty enough clotted cream for the two of us. We didn’t use the butter at all.
The cakes were all particularly tiny! The macaroon was about half the size of a normal macaroon. However, it was nicely chewy. We couldn’t tell what flavour it was meant to be. The finger of coffee and walnut cake was about the biggest item. The tiny piece of chocolate cake was a cube of about two centimetres squared, cut in half diagonally to give us a piece each!!
Even the mini dessert was ludicrously small. It was a layer of mango sauce topped with cream. It was tasty but, like all of the cakes, far too small!
Service was sparse. We were left for a long time on arrival, before anyone spoke to us at all. We also had to attract attention to top up our teapots. However, the staff were pleasant and helpful when they came.