Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tea for One Tour of London: The Milestone Hotel

Afternoon tea in London allowed me a peek into the world of some of the finer hotels in the city. For a few hours, my afternoon tea allowed me to escape into the glamorous and fabulous world of five star hotels. And that was certainly the case for my Wednesday afternoon tea at the Milestone Hotel.

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A luxury boutique hotel snuggled on the corner of Kensington Road and Kensington High Street, I really had no clue the lovely afternoon awaited me when I stumbled into the lobby of the hotel eager to escape the sheets of rain falling outside. (On that Wednesday, London received more rain than it normally receives in all of April.) Greeted by the hotel staff immediately, my dripping wet green trench coat was whisked away and I myself was whisked away by a member of the staff who looked a bit like the actor Michael Sheen (In his Tony Blair role in The Queen days. Not his current scraggly state.) to a comfy chair in the Park Lounge.

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The Park Lounge would have provided the perfect backdrop an old English movie, probably starring Colin Firth. Though I would imagine Josh Groban would probably not be playing in that setting as it was for my tea.

With the fireplace roaring and my pink and orange chair so comfy in front of the window that gave me a view of Kensington Gardens, I strategized a way to stay here until the rain stopped pouring down. I would probably still be sitting there if I had figured out a way.

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The Champagne: Feeling a little festive in the gorgeous room, I opted for the Champagne Afternoon Tea and started off with a glass of what the Milestone menu refers to as “liquid elegance.”

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The Pot of Tea: I selected the Black Currant and Lavender Tea. In the UK, grape is not an available flavor and black currant is often the substitute. I think grape and lavender tea would have been perfectly awful but black currant and lavender tea was amazing.

Tea at the Milestone is brewed with the tea leaves in the hot water and poured through a silver strainer that sit upon the tea cup. My pot was refreshed throughout the afternoon.

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The Menu: The sandwich selection included Scottish smoked salmon and cream cheese, free-range egg with Hampshire watercress, a roast ham with English mustard, Mull of Kintyre Cheddar with tomato, cucumber, and chicken with chopped almonds. My favorite sandwich was the round one rolled in nuts which I think was the cheddar sandwich. 

The pastry selection included fruit tart, macaron, the hotel’s signature shortbread, American baked cheesecake, carrot cake, a meringue cookies, and a nut cupcake. I love how cheesecakes served abroad are always described as “American Baked.” The cheesecake was actually my favorite!

The scones were served with Cornish Clotted Cream and strawberry jam. The scones were the best ones I had all week.

The Milestone tea is kid-friendly and has a Little Prince and Princess Tea menu available that includes hot chocolate. I should have asked for that.

Reservations: I booked all of my afternoon tea reservations (except for the Ritz) using the Afternoon Tea website that my friend Kelly introduced me to. You can book all of your teas using this website and take advantage of special offers on the website. I highly recommend using it; my experience with its services was flawless.

Attire: I do not think there is a formal dress code for tea at the Milestone. Other people in the Lounge were dressed casually. 

Near the Milestone: The hotel is just across the street from Kensington Palace and Kensington Gardens. The Royal Albert Hall is just down the street as is the High Street Kensington Whole Foods which has free Wi-Fi in its elaborate food court area.

Things I loved about Tea at the Milestone

I happened to be the only guest in the tea room for a while. As guests were checking into the hotel that afternoon, they were given a tour that included a stop in the tea room. I felt like I was in the catalog as the staff gave the tour through the Park Lounge. I tried to act as prim and as perfectly afternoon tea-like as possible. And had a good laugh when a member of the staff instructed me to properly stick my pinky out while sipping my tea.

After my tea, a member of the Milestone staff gave me a grand tour of the hotel and sneak peeks into some of the fancy room. Every room has a different, elegant theme. The details in every room are amazing. Check out the photo gallery {here}. As my hotel tour guide Pedro said, “Next time, you stay here, right?” If only wishes could make it so, Pedro, I would love to. Everything about the hotel was amazing!

The staff really could not have been more lovely and helpful. They really set a standard in my eyes for afternoon tea customer service. 

My waiter said “Good on you!” to me. And my love for that phrase just grew.

I really liked the chair set I was sitting in. I want it, actually.

That afternoon, I was actually sad to leave the Milestone. And even sadder when I stepped outside into a new sheet of rain pouring down on me.

For more information on afternoon tea at the Milestone Hotel, visit their website {here}. The Afternoon Tea menu is available {here}.

Afternoon Tea Fun Fact #2: Afternoon tea comes in two forms, “low tea” and “high tea.” High tea has nothing to do with classiness, as I have always thought it did. Instead, it simply means that the tea is served at a higher dining room table and not a lower tea table. High tea is also served at dinner time and is more of a meal whereas low tea is served earlier with the crustless sandwiches, pastries, and scones. All of the teas I had during my tour would be considered “low teas.” {VIA}

4 comments:

  1. Ooo la la! It's alright for some living the life of luxury, hehe. I haven't really explored London fully yet and it's only 3 hours away. I've only ever been once when I visited my friend who lives in Essex. We walked for miles upon miles.

    Will be going back late May for my birthday treat. Theres nothing better than a good old sarndich with a hot proper brew, cakes, and maybe a macaron (that I spied). I just made Macarons for the very first time if you haven't seen already.

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  2. That's cool you got to have a little mini tour of the hotel too! and I'm pleased that even their 'American' cheesecake impressed you! the platter of goodies didn't look quite as mouth watering to me as some as the other ones did but it sounded like you got very good and friendly service!

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  3. That's cool you got to have a little mini tour of the hotel too! and I'm pleased that even their 'American' cheesecake impressed you! the platter of goodies didn't look quite as mouth watering to me as some as the other ones did but it sounded like you got very good and friendly service!

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  4. I saw your macarons and they looked amazing! It was the one baked good I have not conquered yet. But I leave in a city that is super humid year round for some magically annoying reason so I like to blame my macaron failures on the weather. ;-) That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

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