You can enjoy your afternoon tea in any of the ground floor rooms of the beautiful Four Seasons Hotel, so choose the light and bright Amaranto Lounge with its comfortable settees and armchairs, or the richly coloured and wood-panelled restaurant if you prefer a little more formality. There are windows and mirrors galore and acres of marble, a sun-filled conservatory and even a private garden overlooking Park Lane. No need to guess how long to leave your excellent tea to brew, for you get your own special timer with enough sand to run through in two, three or four minutes, according to how strong you like it. The miniature kilner jars are novel containers for the accoutrements to your tea – clotted cream, jam and lemon curd – and the clean lines of the contemporary tiered cake stands are the perfect accompaniment for the beautiful Wedgwood china. The Italian themed La Dolce Vita is an exciting twist on afternoon tea, with savoury bites such as miniature vegetable fritto misto and mini bruschetta.
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There is an individual raisin and candied fruit pannettone in place of the traditional scones, and delicate regionally-influenced pastries. If you wondered what the jar of mascarpone cheese was for, then try some on the fresh strawberries sprinkled with balsamic. The Traditional Tea has lots to offer, from the sandwiches which include an egg mayonnaise and spinach roulade, the raisin and fig scones to the fruit tartlets and chocolate mousse with passion fruit. And all this while the pianist plays.
Address: Hamilton Place, Park Lane, London W1J 7DR
Tel: +44 (0)7499 0888
Web: www.fourseasons. Com/london
Afternoon tea served: daily 2.30-6pm.
Set teas: Traditional Afternoon tea, La Dolce Vita.
Nearest underground station: Hyde Park Corner.
Places of interest nearby: Apsley House, Mayfair, Hyde Park.