High tea: Lanesborough and Ritz Carleton "inflate cost of afternoon teas to as much as 85 per person"

Taking the biscuit: Hotels 'inflate cost of afternoon teas to as much as 85 per person' to cash in on popularity of traditional afternoon meal

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UPDATED:

17:48 GMT, 10 April 2012

The cup of
tea is an iconic symbol of Britain enjoyed across the country by everyone from builders to barristers.

But put the words ‘high’ or ‘afternoon’ before tea – and it could cost you a fortune.

Delicate pastries, silver
platters and cucumber sandwiches mean the afternoon meal has become the preserve of the posh – served up with an equally exclusive price-tag.

Afternoon tea

High tea or highway robbery Afternoon tea has become popular as some hotels are offering up to six sittings to keep up with the demand

Top-of-the-range teas can now cost up to 85 a person in some London hotels, Which has reported.

But the consumer watchdog says it’s the London hotels that really take the biscuit.

And the prize for most expensive tea in London

The Lanesborough, which offers an 85 afternoon tea, accompanied by a glass of Prestige Krug Champagne.

tea

Apsleys

The Lanesborough, which offers an 85 afternoon tea, accompanied by a glass of Prestige Krug Champagne

Afternoon teas at the sought-after Ritz,
where it’s advisable to book months in advance, start at 42, rising to
64 if you fancy a little fizz with your tea.

In
the report entitled: ‘The cost of afternoon tea – high tea or highway
robbery’, Which senior travel researcher Guy Hobbs said: 'Can the
swanky
surroundings and silver service really justify such an enormous mark-up
on the price of a cuppa and a few cakes'

'Now
I understand you’re not just paying for the tea; it’s all about the
experience, the historic setting, the choice of 200 types of tea, the
classically trained pianist in the corner, the expert advice of the tea
sommelier and the chef’s artistry with choux pastry.

'And someone’s got to polish each silver teaspoon every time it’s used.

Ritz, where its advisable to book months in advance, start at 42, rising to 64 if you fancy a little fizz with your tea

Ritz, where it’s advisable to book months in advance, start at 42, rising to 64 if you fancy a little fizz with your tea

'But at these prices, it’s hard not to start wondering how much the constituent ingredients would cost you in a supermarket – 3 5 Surely not more than a tenner

'And it’s then that your cup of oak-smoked Earl Grey could start to leave a bitter taste.

'Especially when you consider that afternoon tea is such big business. And numbers are expected to rise during the Diamond Jubilee and Olympics.'

A huge surge in the popularity of afternoon tea in the UK means London hotels are reportedly offering up to six sittings a day just to keep up with demand.

Winners of the 2012 Tea Guild Awards,
announced last week, include Pennyhill Park Hotel and Spa in Surrey,
where teas range from 28 to 45, and Betty’s Tea Rooms in
Northallerton, Yorkshire, where an afternoon tea will set you back up to
32.95.