Afternoon Tea at the Lanesborough

Afternoon Tea at the Lanesborough Image

Wellies and umbrellas. Double decker buses and iconic black cabs. Ladies called “Love” and men known as “Chaps”. It seems after each trip to London I am soon flipping through my calendar to plan my return for the first break I get. I’m smitten.

After wrapping up my internship at the art gallery and just before the start of my final year as a graduate student, I was excited to hop on the Eurostar for London! Oxford Street, Regent Street, Piccadilly Circus, Kings Road – I wanted to explore and re-explore it all! With a week of nothing but fun to be had, I was most excited to indulge in the lavish experience of Afternoon Tea at some of London’s most notorious salons. After consulting Milla, the one person whose opinions I trust when it comes to high tea, reservations were made at the Lanesborough’s Apsleys for a luxurious afternoon British-style.

The Apsleys’ dining room is the definition of opulant. Designed by Adam Tihany, American interior designer who has brilliantly transformed a number of luxury hotels and Michelin-starred restaurants, the tufted canapé against the muted sea-foam Art Deco panels in the Venetian-style dining room make for an inviting and sophisticated atmosphere. Our tea began with glasses of chilled champagne served with fresh strawberries and cream, soon followed by endless servings of tea sandwiches, decadent mini-cakes, miniature pastries and scones with cotted cream. We were delighted down to the very last cup of Darjeeling tea under the three suspended chandeliers, light dancing off the dangling crystal.

I’ve come to appreciate that afternoon tea is much like theater and we are the interactive audience. It is an affair never as simple as finger sandwiches and fresh scones, though these are important. Instead, its most memorable when every component, from the polishing of silver teapots to the attentiveness of the waitstaff, is carried out with the utmost care for the benefit of the guests. The Lanesborough excelled in creating a charming experience for my family and I as we marveled at the beauty of Tihany’s sophisticated set and Heinz Beck’s Michelin-starred props. Hours pass unknowingly and soon the performance was over. The afternoon had flowed into a chilly Autumn evening, the dimming dining room our queue that the curtain was closing on our British tale.

Of course, not before we could each enjoy just one more glass of champagne.

Primary image courtesy of the Lanesborough.

14 comments… add one
  1. Aia November 20, 2012, 7:42 am

    Thank you for sharing such a lovely, delectable, beautiful and delicious piece with us! After living in Paris & Provence since 2006, your piece gives me great desire to pop up to London! Merci merci!

    On a visual note, you photos are gorgeous & tempting. And I love your WordPress theme for displaying, or tempting us, with your photos. Is the WP theme you use something you might share with a just-beginning-blogger?

    Warm wishes from Provence

    1. Stephanie November 20, 2012, 11:16 am

      Thank you for such a lovely comment! We have similar backgrounds! I used to live in Provence and Montpellier. Where in Provence are you? Weekend trips to London are certainly a great way to get a breath of fresh air!

      As for the theme, the design is mine, however the theme I’m using to support it is Thesis. It’s not free but it has more than paid for itself with its user-friendly platform and flexibility.

      1. Aia November 20, 2012, 12:46 pm

        Merci tellement Stephanie! How wonderful that our backgrounds are similar. We have lived in Milan, Lake Como, returned to San Francisco, then moved to Aix-en-Provnece for two years before moving up to Paris for three years (Place de l’Odéon just in front of the théatre), and have been in Lourmarin in the Luberon for almost two years. If you come this way, it would be lovely to meet you & share some of the beauty here.

        Thank you for the theme you use. I am between deciding between two on WP at the moment. Your site and creativity are very inspiring. Thank you!!

  2. Andrea aka @3samovar November 20, 2012, 8:49 am

    fun article, where would you go in Paris for afternoon tea?

    1. Stephanie November 20, 2012, 11:18 am

      I have yet to try the best, but I had a wonderful experience at the Mandarin Oriental. I have been dying to try the Four Seasons and have heard nothing but praise for the Athenée. Many more wonderful places, but those are the top of my list!

  3. Paris Rendez-vous November 20, 2012, 9:35 am

    Lovely post and glorious images…..I’m off to London for a few days Christmas shopping in mid-December so praps I’ll follow your lead and have arvo tea here…it looks divine. Love your blog by the way…..always interesting. Merci beaucoup.

    1. Stephanie November 20, 2012, 11:19 am

      Keep in touch because I have a few more posts on London that will hopefully inspire you with your trip! You’re going at a great time of year – it’s all decorated for Christmas and very charming! Wishing you weather as great as we had!

  4. Auscanucksarah November 20, 2012, 11:43 am

    Oh my god how gorgeous is it?! Your pictures are amazing and I want to go NOW!!!! I definitely had this on my must-do list already but it’s just vaulted to the top!
    P.s. your recommendations for Paris tea are spot on. The Four Seasons was amazing! I went there for my birthday. The MO was also amazing! Looking forward to catching up for tea at some point-thinking about Paris for my birthday again!

  5. Murissa @TheWanderfullTraveler November 20, 2012, 6:25 pm

    Such lovely writing Stephanie!
    I have just wrote a post about London, hoping to win a blog competition.
    If I do win I trust we can meet up in London in Spring for a blogging spree around Londontown!

    1. Stephanie November 27, 2012, 9:08 pm

      What a fun competition! I hope you get it! 🙂

  6. Callie November 24, 2012, 2:48 am

    Everything about this is so beautiful!

    1. Stephanie November 27, 2012, 5:45 pm

      Thank you, Callie!

  7. Not Just Another Milla November 27, 2012, 3:54 pm

    Oh Stephanie, this looks lovely! I always worry about recommending somewhere to others but I think we know each other well enough to know what will make the grade. So happy you enjoyed one of my favourite places in London.

    1. Stephanie November 27, 2012, 5:47 pm

      Glad you loved it! Recommendations can be tricky, but I definitely think you have me figured out! Of course, all you have to do is add a glass of champagne and I’m happy! 😉 Will be back to London soon!


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