What I love most about London are it’s white washed Victorian townhouses and nestled between these charming mid-19th century townhouses is the boutique hotel, The Royal Park. Comprising of three restored Grade II listed townhouses originally built in 1842, it is the epitome of grace and charm showing of Victorian architecture perfectly.
When I came here over the Easter holidays with my daughter, I kind of felt I was stepping back in time as the hotel oozes history with it’s paintings hanging majestically on walls of rooms with the highest of ceilings in what is now the hotels’ Tea Room. The hotel was refurbished recently and the downstairs layout is completely different to how it was when I visited the hotel with my husband for an overnight stay in 2013. The addition of charming but well stocked little bar is a brilliant idea, a lovely quiet area to enjoy a drink and a bit of romance!
My daughter who is only 14 has not been to many London hotels but she was really impressed. In all honestly, she was here to eat as many cakes as possible and as with all teenagers, filling their stomachs is more important than aesthetics! Our waitress was adorable, she was so accommodating offering my daughter a mocktail as obviously, she isn’t able to enjoy champagne just yet much to her disappointment but completely delighted to receive a fruity creation which was made with a mix of different types of hedgerow berries whilst I enjoyed my glass of bubbly, part of the Afternoon Tea at the Royal Park.
Whenever I write about Afternoon Tea, I always mention the fact that I am not a tea connoisseur always going for the customary English Breakfast or Afternoon Tea blend, I would really love to go on a Tea Workshop if there is such a thing as I really think I should step outside of my comfort zone and be a bit more adventurous when it comes to tea however, I opted for English Breakfast Tea which was continuously topped up throughout our Afternoon Tea experience.
My daughter has experienced Afternoon Tea before so she knew what to expect and in which order our culinary delights would be arriving. A beautiful Afternoon Tea stand arrived fully laden with all sorts of wonderful treats. Our Sandwiches were a collection of Lapsang Souchong smoked salmon, lemon cream cheese on beetroot bread – our personal favourite, I am not a lover of beetroot and whenever I juice it, I always hold my nose as if drinking a putrid medicine but I was intrigued by the bread’s blush pink hue, both my daughter and I thought it was the tastiest sandwich of all! Also in the mix, Daylesford organic chicken (Daylesford is the famous Cotswold’s farm shop) with tarragon mayonnaise on curry bread, interesting choice but really complimented the chicken and tarragon. We also had the customary egg and cress which I always enjoy, a memory of childhood I think. Also on offer, traditional scones which were light and airy and served with lashings of clotted cream and strawberry jam, in fact 2 different types of jams and lemon curd which was a pleasant surprise.
Our waitress, fully experienced in the art of serving Afternoon Tea can always spot when her hosts are beginning to get full to the brim so offers some rest bite between the sandwiches and our sweet course. We really welcome the break enjoying more tea to wash down the delicious sandwiches whilst contemplating what types of cake would adorn the cake stand! I’m always impressed when a hotel makes an effort in offering a different type of Afternoon Tea menu as the industry is now so vast especially with holiday makers fully aware that Afternoon Tea is a quintessentially British affair which they absolutely must try during their holiday and there isn’t a hotel in London that does not offer Afternoon Tea to satisfy their curiosity and offer instagrammable worthy photographs.
Even some Patisserie shops or restaurants are now offering this Great British Institution so the tendency for it to become rather boring is very real and hotel’s being aware of this are “mixing things up a bit” so to speak. Offering unusual sandwiches as we had at the Royal Park, chocolate themed Afternoon Tea’s or in the form of a fairy tale such as Mad Hatter’s or Beauty and the Beast inspired Afternoon Tea called “Tale as old as Time” at the Kensington Hotel which is always sold out, is a way of making Afternoon Tea different and more interesting. My recent Tea experience at the legendary Dorchester Hotel are taking Afternoon Tea to another level by offering a palate cleansing oriental flowering tea which unravels in hot water to produce a flavoursome and visually spectacular looking tea.
We were now ready to enjoy our sweet course which was not I hasten to add on the customary china stand as you would expect but arrived on an charming sweet trolley, quite popular in 1960’s and 70’s! We were offered slices of traditional Coffee and Walnut cake, my favourite and Salted Caramel Éclair, Valrhona Chocolate & Rum Coupe and a gorgeous Basil and Strawberry Gateaux. Arriving next was the most unusually designed stand, an intricate delicate silver piece that branched out holding beautiful little French Macarons. I am really quite obsessed with Macarons often picking up a box of the famous French brand, Laduree whenever I am at the Burlington Arcade in Piccadilly. They are quite complicated to make and bake, an ambition of mine is to travel to Paris to attend a Patisserie class to learn how to make them. Back to the Macarons, we had a choice of three each and we picked flavours such as chocolate and chilli which work so well together, it’s not a new combination but always a delight to eat, coconut and lime, pistachio, rhubarb and a chocolate and cherry combination as well as better known flavours such as lemon and vanilla. Serving macarons isn’t on offer on every Afternoon Tea stand but it was a lovely surprise since my daughter also adores Macarons.
Tea is always topped up which is absolutely necessary to refresh the palate after consuming platefuls of delicious sweets! we took time to let everything digest before we made or way home. We were both so full but in a pleasant way if that’s at all possible! Afternoon Tea at the RoyalPark was a really enjoyable experience, a day out for both of us to catch up on important bonding time, a delightfully charming hotel that I would absolutely love to visit for a longer overnight stay especially now that the hotel has been refurbished.
The Royal Park Hotel
3 Westbourne Terrace
London W2 3UL
020 7479 6600
All photos, thoughts and words are my own.