Cost – £68.00 plus service charge, per person (February 2023)
Parking and Access – This is a central London hotel. However, the hotel offers valet parking at a cost of £20 for three hours. The Lanesborough is situated on Hyde Park Corner, so the best way to reach the hotel is by bus, underground or taxi. There is an underground station opposite the hotel.
The Lanesborough Grill, where Afternoon Tea is accessible on the flat from the main entrance.
There are toilets available next to the Grill, adjacent to the cloakroom, where you can leave all coats and bags, securely.
Options Available –There are also vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and children’s Afternoon Teas available.
Background – The Lanesborough had been featured on a programme on television. The hotel had appeared particularly welcoming, and their Afternoon Tea had looked very good. As a result of this programme, I was given a voucher for their Afternoon Tea for two, for my birthday. My voucher was nearing its expiry date by the time we had managed to arrange a day to have our Tea. However, it was still in date, by a week, when we visited.
Unfortunately, we did not know that the hotel had changed owners after the voucher had been bought.
Contents – Four rectangular sandwiches (chicken with mustard mayonnaise and parmesan, egg mayonnaise on brioche, cream cheese and chive, and smoked salmon with horseradish and pickled shallots on tomato bread), plus a mini cheese quiche. Two small/medium sized plain scones. A pot of strawberry jam, a pot of lemon curd and a pot of clotted cream. A white chocolate and honey bee, a meadow cheesecake, an apple blossom cake, a very small piece of chocolate and jasmine fudge cake each. Plus a chamomile daisy between the two of us. Your choice of tea from a tea menu.
Comments –When we arrived at the Lanesborough, we were brought in by a friendly doorman, who took us right through to the Grill entrance and adjacent toilets and cloakroom.
We deposited our coats and used the facilities.
We were just two minutes early for our Afternoon Tea booking, but were told we would have to wait as our table was not yet ready for us. Luckily, we only waited around ten minutes before being shown in to the restaurant.
The Lanesborough Hotel is situated in the buildings of the old St George’s Hospital, right on Hyde Park Corner. The Grill restaurant appeared to have originally been a courtyard, which had been glazed over to make a lovely bright room.
We were seated on a slightly raised level behind the main waiters station.
The square table was uncovered, with no table cloth. There were oddly plastic looking placemats laid with plain white china plates and a knife and fork each. The fork was not a cake fork! The plate was topped with a linen napkin and a menu. The table was also laid with white cups and saucers, champagne flutes and a glass for water.
There were some pretty flowers in a little vase, and various sugars in pots, along with a set of sugar tongs.
There was a pianist playing live during our visit, though he was taking a break when we first arrived.
We were asked straight away, which tea we would like. We both chose the Lanesborough breakfast tea. At this point, the waiter removed both of the champagne flutes, without asking us if we wanted any champagne, or the mocktail that was available! Luckily, we didn’t want either, but we were very surprised not to be asked. We were told, however, that we could have as much tea or coffee as we wanted.
The tea arrived quite quickly, in a silver teapot, along with a large silver jug of milk. The waiter immediately poured us each a cup of tea. At this point it was pathetically weak!! However, when we came to pour ourselves a second cup, it was incredibly strong! We later asked for a second pot. It took some time to arrive, but, this time we were given a silver teapot each! However, the same happened – a weak cup poured straight away, then it became ludicrously strong. We gave up and just drank water.
We had been poured a glass of water each soon after we had arrived. However, as the tea was so dreadful, we needed our water glasses refilled. We asked the waiter who had shown us to our table, whom it later transpired, was the restaurant manager. He said he would get us some, walked off past the water jugs and started doing other things. We asked again, some ten minutes later. This time we were successful.
The Afternoon Tea arrived, eventually, some time after the tea had been delivered. We had requested our smoked salmon sandwiches without horseradish. As the Tea arrived, the waiter queried our request, and immediately removed the sandwiches to check they had been done correctly. She returned a few minutes later, with the plate, to say they had.
The Afternoon Tea was presented on a three-tier cake stand with round white plates. The scones were not delivered with the rest of the Tea. There was also a small tray with the preserves and clotted cream on. Bizarrely, the top plate didn’t actually fit into the hole in the cake stand! It was slightly too big!
The cakes looked lovely. The hotel was serving a Meadow Afternoon Tea when we visited, and the cakes were all done to fit the meadow theme. There were also flowers wired onto the sides of the cake stand.
The sandwiches were on a mix of breads. One on tomato bread, one on brioche and two on plain white bread. They were reasonably well filled. However, the bread for the smoked salmon sandwiches was decidedly soggy! Luckily, the rest were all ok, and were tasty. The tiny quiche was delicious, but very tiny!
When we had finished our sandwiches, we were offered some more. We said ‘yes, please’. Breakfast had been a very long time ago! We were given a complete set of four sandwiches each, but no mini quiche. This time the smoked salmon sandwich was dry one side and very soggy the other side! Bizarre!
As we were finishing our second set of sandwiches, a waiter asked if we were ready for our scones. We said yes, and she disappeared.
Nothing happened for some time. Eventually, we asked the waiter who had shown us to our table. He told us ‘they usually come out around 4 o’clock’. This seemed odd as people were arriving every quarter of an hour for Tea. Also, it was after 4 by this time, anyway! And we had been booked in at 2.45!
Our scones finally arrived, warmed and wrapped in a napkin. They were a small/medium in size. There were four on the plate. Three were plain, and one had a small amount of fruit in!
The tiny piece of chocolate cake arrived along with the scones.
The preserves we had been served were a delicious, but runny strawberry jam, and a yummy lemon curd. There was enough of both, but the jam was difficult as it was so runny! There was just barely enough clotted cream. We didn’t try asking for any more!!
Finally, the cakes were very good.
They were tasty
and looked lovely.
The white chocolate and honey bee was really nice, with a bit of gold for its sting!
However, my favourite was the chamomile daisy, which had a centre of passionfruit. It was delicious! It was bigger than the other cakes, but I would have happily eaten a whole one, not just half! There was only one daisy between the two of us!
At the end of our Afternoon Tea, we were presented with a bill. We were astonished to see that we had been charged an extra £30.40! This was apparently due to the fact that Afternoon Tea had gone up in price by £5 since my voucher was purchased, plus a service charge for the whole Tea!
As you will be aware, we have had many Afternoon Teas, often using a voucher to pay (at my age, people don’t know what else to give me! And I’m certainly not complaining!!). We have NEVER been asked to top up the value of a voucher due to the price having gone up. The voucher was for Afternoon Tea for two at the Lanesborough, to by used by an end date. It was not a voucher for Afternoon Tea at a certain price. And we were using it before the end date. Also, it had been bought from the hotel, itself, not through a third party.
I argued this point, politely, with the original waiter. He told us they do this with all vouchers! I pointed out that this was definitely wrong, and requested to speak to the manager. He told me he was the restaurant manager.
At this point, he suddenly screwed up the bill and walked away telling us ‘it doesn’t matter’. He didn’t come back at all!
Once we were back home, we checked on the hotel’s website. It clearly said that service charge was included with the voucher. I wonder how many people pay it on top of their voucher! I would have been furious if I had given the voucher to someone else, and they had been given a large bill at the end!
I have to say that service, throughout, was not to the standard I would expect at a prestigious London hotel. Especially at the price they are charging. It was slow throughout, with requests having to be repeated. It appeared that everything had to go through a computerised system. Even a fresh pot of tea was all entered in. Sadly, this system does not seem to be working that well, and service is suffering as a result.
Despite the fact that we did enjoy most of our Afternoon Tea, and the food was, mainly, delicious, I’m afraid I would not recommend the Lanesborough for Afternoon Tea. There are far better places for similar prices, where you feel valued and are looked after. I suspect something got lost when the hotel had been taken over in 2022.
All opinions expressed in this review are my own. The photographs are all my own.
I remain completely anonymous and always pay for my Afternoon Teas. They are never gifted to me by the businesses reviewed.
I am the legal copyright holder of the content and images on this blog.