Afternoon tea, Connaught,

We were all afternoon tea lovers and old hands in the art of afternoon tea-ing. A special anniversary was coming up so we decided to splash out and have our tea at the Connaught hotel. Enviably positioned, in the heart of Mayfair, the Connaught is famous for comfort and excellent service.

So we booked for afternoon tea, celebrating a very special anniversary. I suspect a lot of afternoon tea goers sitting at the Connaught right now, are there celebrating something or other. All the more reason to make more of an effort and create a sense of occasion.

Dress code
Smart casual, it said on the booking confirmation. That is a very broad interpretation. No cut off shorts, flip flops or torn jeans. (Torn jeans are so fashionable at the moment, but still…) Us ladies wore dresses, and got our hair professionally blow dried. I just about stopped myself from wearing a pill box hat.

Interiors
The conservatory room where tea was served with aplomb. Pleasant, light space with delightful flower arrangements.

Traditional entrance hall at the Connaught.

Traditional entrance hall at the Connaught.

Service
Not impressed. The girl who greeted us had a large and prominent stain on her uniform. She also appeared to be mortified at my request, ‘could we have a g&t rather than a glass of champagne with our tea?’ Come on guys, this is meant to be a 5 star London hotel. Surely you’ve heard of g&t ‘s ? There is a hotel bar, I do believe…am I asking for the moon here?
Another member of stuff, kept hovering around us the entire time asking if we were enjoying it. He must have asked us 4 times, without ever paying any real attention to what we may actually be needing! Intrusive & inefficient service- learn to read the signals people.

Ambiance
Presentation was good. Stage was set to perfection.

Sandwiches
Below par- I ve had better from M&S, way better in fact. One of my guests finished theirs – to my dismay the waiter was not particularly forthcoming with replenishments. This is standard in most other hotels.

Pastries
Delicious! Those were definitely made by the very best. Small and beautiful, like little works of art. We polished those of, but no extras were offered and we did not like to ask.

Scones
Ok. But why so stingy on the cream & jam front?

Tea selection 
true tea lovers shall weep.

Champagne
Good in itself, but not sufficiently chilled. Everyone knows: warm champagne is practically a form of Abuse!

Cakes
They forgot to bring them! (despite the supervisor hovering around us the entire time!) Or more likely they had to hurry us out of the room to get ready for the next sitting.

Lady Sarah’s verdict: my friends were too polite to complain, but despite the shiny silverware and the impeccably crisp tablecloths, I wish I’d taken them somewhere else. Somewhere with better sandwiches, more cakes, colder champagne and less intrusive service.

A regular reader here has suggested afternoon tea at the Dorchester, which will be reviewed next. Stay tuned.

...a sad state of affairs when you cannot get a G&T with your tea...

…a sad state of affairs when you cannot get a G&T with your tea…we had to fight with the waiter  to get ours…

© Ladysarahinlondon

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8 thoughts on “Tea of the month: at the Connaught, Carlos Place, Mayfair, London W1 (August)

  1. Susan Lowell

    That is disappointing. Will they send you a survey asking for feedback on your experience?

    We have a local inn that serves what they call a high tea. Unfortunately, the food overall at this inn is poor at best. People from out of town mention that they send back their dinner. One tourist said she feels the inn believes that people visit from out-of-town never to return so they do not cater to their customers. This historic inn is on the route for many tour buses. I guess the inn feels no incentive to improve. . They are there to make money and quality is secondary. Clearly, not a great business model.
    Susan

    Reply
  2. gsl64

    Storied hotel in Mayfair yet they stumble on the fundamentals. Management would at least have gotten an email from me detailing their inadequacies. I try to allow for redemption as it is hard to get good help that understands quality service these days. Oftentimes the well managed establishments will go to great lengths to redeem themselves and use that feedback to train up or get rid of poor staff.
    I see where the Connaught is among hotels owned by an Irish outfit with the Barclays. The Dorchester is owned by the now very controversial Sultan of Brunei who also owns the BHH. I always pay attention to who gets my business.

    Reply
  3. Frou Frou

    I used to have tea in Fortnum St James Room every Saturday back in the day , that was the day when trawling Bond Street ticked the boxes for weekend entertainment !!
    I don’t like sweet foods and could order THE most divine crab sandwich to go with my Lady Grey tea , just what I wanted rather than a selection of cakes . The whole experience was perfect , totally understated and the delightful staff had been there for years
    Times have changed and Fortnums have joined the legions of places offering the now usual selection of blah offerings for an exorbitant price .
    It has all become such a cliché. L
    Let’s get back to a proper English tea with crab sandwiches, toasted teacakes , crumpets and [ if you must] a slice of cake.

    Reply
    1. ladysarahinlondon Post author

      You will be delighted to hear, Fortnums still has a crab dish, which is very good. The sandwiches at the Connaught were something out of a 1940’s ration book nightmare. Processed bread and anaemic fillings. Embarrassing really.

      Reply

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