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An afternoon rite: Tea at the Dorchester

In London, afternoons acquire almost mystical dimensions in luxurious, leisurely surroundings where marble pillars, exquisite carpets and refined sofas only take a back seat to the tea ceremony with fresh leaf teas, finger sandwiches, scones, clotted cream and pastries

By Simone Zarmati Diament

The Dorchester
Park Lane, London W1A 2HJ
Tel: 020-7629-8888 ; Fax: 020-7409-0114
Afternoon Tea @ The Promenade, served between 2:30 and 6 p.m. with live piano music until 11 p.m.
A visit to London isn't complete without having tea at the Dorchester. It is a must. The Promenade at the grand old Dorchester is a grandiose marble colonnade stretching from the lobby to the ballroom entrance, with comfortable damask and silk arm chairs and sofas, low marble topped tables, all flanked by planters, huge brass lanterns and Regency mirrors.

Named as London's top Afternoon Tea venue by the Tea Council of Great Britain, The Dorchester lives up to its reputation. In this charming ambiance the young and the old, women and men on an afternoon brake partake of a rite: Tea.

More like a tea ceremony like those that took place in opulent 19th century homes, The Dorchester Afternoon Tea ( £28.50); the Champagne Afternoon Tea (£34.50) and High Tea (£38.50) are served in three stages.

The Afternoon Tea commences with a variety of delicious all-you-can-eat sandwiches, warm scones, jams and thick clotted cream followed by fresh pastries, all served with a choice of up to 30 teas, which are refreshed by well mannered yet unobtrusive servers who make sure that you are relaxed and comfortable. The Champagne Tea starts with a glass of rosé Champagne, followed by the above. And High Tea is more like dinner with a choice of finger sandwiches, a hot main course, pastries and a glass of Champagne.

Until March 31, The Dorchester offers a Girl's Afternoon Package (£140 per person), Ladies Who Dorch, a combination of Spa treatments including massages, pedicure and manicure, and a Champagne Afternoon Tea. Reservations can be made by calling the Dorchester Spa: 020-7495-7335

Aaahh… to sink again in the arms of one of those chairs!

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