The Berkeley afternoon tea — a fashionista’s dream
Located just off the busy shopping street of Knightsbridge, the hotel’s adjacent to residential homes in the area. That said, stepping inside its doors feels more like walking into someone’s grand home than a plush hotel.
From hues of blues and purples, to entering a room so luminous, it brightens even the greyest March afternoon. The setting of the Prêt-à-Portea, the Collins Room, also serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.
An afternoon tea unlike any other
Head pastry chef, Mourad Khiat, has designed a mouthwatering range of cakes and pastries that pay homage to high-end designers. All guests get to sample the latest fashions from the international runway, just without the huge price tag.
Pret-a-Portea tea — The Berkeley afternoon tea
We started the tea, by choosing the tea we wanted to drink. You can drink as much tea as you want, and can also try any of the blends on the menu.
There’s an additional cost for some teas however, so be aware that not all teas are included. I drank my body weight in White Peony, Jasmine and fragrant lemongrass and ginger tea.
To add a touch of fizz to your afternoon tea, opt for the Champagne Prêt-à-Portea. You’ll get a glass of Laurent-Perrier champagne along with the standard menu items.
Next out was the array of mini sandwiches and savory treats. The Berkeley Hotel does cater to specific meal requirements, so just let them know of any when booking.
“You can drink as much tea as you want, and try any of the blends on the menu.”
FOLLOWING THE RIVERA
“The Prêt-à-Portea is the only afternoon tea that celebrates the world of fashion — in dessert form.”
FOLLOWING THE RIVERA
On the day we went, one of my friends requested a dairy-free meal, while another asked for a vegetarian option. The staff handled our request with no fuss, and we all equally enjoyed our meal and experience.
Plenty of choice — The Berkeley afternoon tea
Sandwich fillings include the classic cucumber dill and cream cheese, as well as egg mayonnaise and tomato. My favorite, however, was the sandwich with Gouda cheese and golden beetroot on onion bread.
Along with the 6 half sandwiches, they also serve delicate savory bites, like cep and wild mushroom en croute with Manchego cheese. With all this glorious food staring back at you, it’s hard not to eat it all. However, I urge you to leave room, as the best is really yet to come.
Fashionable cakes and pastries
It was an orchestra of eyes widening when we first saw the tray of Prêt-à-Portea cakes and pastries. Three-tiers of designer dessert goodness, and each one looking too good to eat — or break into.
Our selection of patisserie included:
- Dulce and ginger clutch-shaped cat-design cake, sandwiched in between orange chocolate inspired by Anya Hindmarch;
- An iced Speculoos chocolate biscuit in the shape of a Bottega Veneta mustard-colored suit; and
- Dolce & Gabbana ‘dress’ redesigned as an almond genoise with mango and passion fruit inside. The look was completed with chocolate rainbow disks on top.
While I enjoyed most of the items, there was one cake for me that stole the show.
The Burberry-inspired Tonka bean cheesecake with a crumble base and white chocolate feather was my favorite, and far too small.
The Berkeley afternoon tea — is it worth it?
All in all, I’d say that the Prêt-à-Portea is totally worth it. The location’s perfect, the hotel’s a luxury dream and the staff are accommodating and incredibly friendly.
You’ll not only enjoy a delicious tea, but are bound to leave having had a memorable experience too. Cost of the tea is £52* (€60/$74) per person or £62* (€71/$88) for the champagne version.
They do have a dress code of smart/casual for the tea so do be aware prior to your visit. The hotel doesn’t allow ripped jeans, flip flops, sportswear, shorts or baseball caps.
Tips for booking the tea
I highly advise booking in advance for the tea, especially if you want to come on the weekend. They usually advise that you can keep the table for 2 hours.
However, if you’re coming for a special occasion, I’d ask in advance if you can stay longer. Our booking was at 5pm, which turned out to be perfect, as we stayed longer than our 2-hour slot.
The Berkeley Hotel London
Oddly enough, the Berkeley Hotel started life as a coffee house back in the 18th century. It became the Berkeley Hotel in 1897, and was one of the first hotels to offer air conditioning in its rooms in the 1920s.
You can choose to stay in one of their luxury rooms, suites or signature suites.
Every room has elegant small touches from fresh flowers and champagne, to Italian marble bathrooms.
For a room with a view, the Balcony King Room or the Balcony Junior Suite would be a perfect fit.
“Along with the 6 half sandwiches, they also serve delicate savory bites, like cep and wild mushroom en croute with Manchego cheese.”
FOLLOWING THE RIVERA
Marcus at The Berkeley
Fine-dining enthusiasts will be eager to book a table at Marcus, the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant. Named after renowned chef, Marcus Wareing, you’re sure to enjoy an evening of excellent food, wine and top service.
The Blue Bar at the Berkeley — The Berkeley afternoon tea
Head to the intimate, and aptly-named Blue Bar, for an aperitif or post-dinner drink. The color follows a unique Lutyens Blue scheme that was especially created for the hotel.
The bar also serves up homemade nibbles along with every order — just in case you’re still hungry. Their cocktails are refreshing, bold, and made with the same finesse you’d expect from the caliber of The Berkeley.
Bamford Haybarn Spa
No luxury hotel’s complete without having a spa within its confines to pamper its guests.
The hotel’s Bamford Haybarn Spa is a chance to step away from the urban noise, and into the realms of a quiet country retreat.
Therapists use products from Oskia London and Bamford, who ensure that your treatment is bespoke for you.
Choose from an invigorating body wrap or an age-defying facial, and leave feeling 100% rejuvenated.
*prices correct at time of visit
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