When high tea is highway robbery: Hotels charging up to 85 for champagne and scones

When high tea is highway robbery: Hotels charging up to 85 for champagne and scones

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UPDATED:

00:15 GMT, 11 April 2012

It is a quintessentially British indulgence.

But the delight of taking afternoon tea at a high-class hotel is now likely to be accompanied by another of the nation’s favourite pastimes: grumbling about the bill.

Which has denounced prestigious establishments for charging as much as 85 for little more than a cup of tea and a couple of scones, branding the practice ‘highway robbery’.

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

The consumer watchdog found that the
five-star Lanesborough hotel in Knightsbridge offers an 85 per person
afternoon tea, albeit accompanied by a glass of 1998 Prestige Krug
champagne.

GRAPHIC HIGH TEA.jpg

The hotel boasts that the price
includes ‘all the beloved trimmings’, including freshly baked scones,
thick clotted cream and home-made fruit preserves, from award-winning
pastry chef Tal Hausen.

A tea sommelier is also on hand to help guests discuss varieties of tea which have been specially bought at auction.

At The Ritz, afternoon teas start at
42 per person, but rise to 64 for a ‘celebration tea’, which includes a
glass of champagne and a cake.

Gentlemen must wear a jacket and tie to be served, and those turning up in jeans or trainers will be politely refused.

Despite the cost, it is so popular
that there are five sittings every day, with ‘afternoon’ tea starting at
11.30am and finishing at 7.30pm, and booking up to three months in
advance is ‘strongly recommended’.

‘With its delicate pastries, silver
platters and cucumber sandwiches, tea becomes the preserve of the posh.
And it’s served up with an equally posh price-tag.’ He acknowledged that
the high price included far more than just the tea, and reflected the
first-class service and lavish setting.

But he added: ‘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.’

A spokesman for The Lanesborough said it offered a range of afternoon teas, starting from 38.

tea

Apsleys

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

Other hotels highlighted in the
Which study were The Savoy, which charges 61 per person for a
‘champagne high tea’; Pennyhill Park Hotel and Spa in Surrey, where teas
range from 28 to 45; Edinburgh’s Balmoral hotel, where afternoon tea
costs 37; and Betty’s Tea Rooms in Northallerton, Yorkshire, which
charges up to 32.95.

‘With its delicate pastries, silver
platters and cucumber sandwiches, tea becomes the preserve of the posh.
And it’s served up with an equally posh price-tag.’ He acknowledged that
the high price included far more than just the tea, and reflected the
first-class service and lavish setting.

But he added: ‘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

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

‘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.’

A spokesman for The Lanesborough said it offered a range of afternoon teas, starting from 38.

Other hotels highlighted in the
Which study were The Savoy, which charges 61 per person for a
‘champagne high tea’; Pennyhill Park Hotel and Spa in Surrey, where teas
range from 28 to 45; Edinburgh’s Balmoral hotel, where afternoon tea
costs 37; and Betty’s Tea Rooms in Northallerton, Yorkshire, which
charges up to 32.95.