St Michael’s Manor Hotel, St Albans, Hertfordshire.
Cost – £29.00 per person (April 2023)
Parking and Access – There is plenty of parking space in the hotel’s own car park to the rear of the hotel. Access is up a small ramp, and up a slope from the car park, although there is a drop off area by the main entrance.
The toilets were available on the flat from the rooms where Afternoon Tea was served.
Background – This Afternoon Tea was a present, researched for me by a family member.
She chose St Albans as we were visiting on Good Friday, and St Albans is supposed to be where the hot cross bun originated. The Alban Bun was originally given to pilgrims to the cathedral, and had a cross cut into the top. We were able to buy some Alban Buns at the cathedral on the day of our visit.
Contents per person – Two finger sandwiches (egg mayonnaise and cucumber), a small bun containing smoked salmon and half of a wrap each, containing chicken. A medium sized plain scone and a medium sized fruit scone, a small dish of strawberry jam and a small dish of clotted cream. A piece of brightly coloured Battenberg, a macaroon, a small éclair and a piece of cherry delice. A pot of tea. This Afternoon Tea was advertised as ‘unlimited’, with the restrictions that it had to be consumed within ninety minutes, and nothing could be taken home at the end.
Options Available – There are no options for this Afternoon Tea, although champagne can be added for an additional £21.
Comments – We arrived at the hotel a little early, so we had a drink from the bar, sitting outside on a terrace overlooking the garden and lake.
When it was time to go in for our Tea, we were shown to a low table by the fireplace (not alight), with two comfy sofas, one each side of the table.
The table was laid with a tablecloth, topped with round white plates, cups and saucers. There was a linen napkin and a knife and fork. There was also a glass each for water.
In the middle of the table there was a vase with a tulip and some gypsophila in it. There was also a menu on the table.
We were asked what we wanted to drink. Three of our party chose the hotel’s signature English Breakfast tea, whilst the fourth asked for a glass of milk.
The tea arrived in individual glass teapots, accompanied by a white milk jug between the three of us.
The loose leaf tea was, quite simply, dreadful! It was very weak, and not one of us enjoyed it. We tried getting a second pot between us, but it was no better. We ended up drinking water for most of the Tea.
The Afternoon Tea itself was served on a plain three tier cake stand with round white plates.
The savoury part of the Afternoon Tea was delicious. The sandwiches, etc, were all well filled, and very fresh. We particularly enjoyed the chicken wrap and the smoked salmon roll.
After we had finished the savoury plate, we felt it was important to test the ‘unlimited-ness’ of the Afternoon Tea. It was difficult, but someone has to do it!!
We eventually managed to get the attention of a waiter, and asked if we could have another two sets of the savoury between the four of us. He looked slightly surprised, but brought out a further plate for us.
The scones were a good medium size and had been warmed up.
One of our group asked for some butter, as she doesn’t like cream. It took two attempts to get it. We also had to request more cream, as we had only been given one small dish between the four of us. The same amount as others were being given between two! Again, we had to ask more than once to get it.
The cakes were all on the small side. However, having had the extra sandwiches, and two scones each, we were beginning to get a bit full, so it was just as well!
The cakes all appeared to be freshly made locally. The best bits were the very brightly coloured Battenberg and the bright yellow macaroon. They obviously like to use bright food colours! I must admit, they made us smile!
Service was not the best, we had to request things several times before they appeared, and were left waiting more than once. However, the food was good and we all enjoyed it. The only down point of the food was the tea, which was not good at all. The room was bright and inviting, and we all had a lovely time.
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.