England, London

I Was Robbed During An Afternoon Tea in London.

March 25, 2017

I’m still a little bit shaken about what happened to me the other day. I’ll try my best to go through it with you as I want to warn everyone of this despicable event which I wouldn’t wish to happen to my worst enemy. Yes, I was robbed during an afternoon tea in London and the person who did it was the regally-dressed hotel staff. She came gliding to our table and handed me the bill, as soon as I opened the leather folder I had to control myself from shouting expletives and accuse her of daylight robbery. Sixty pounds for freaking sandwiches?!? What kind of f*ckery is this?

Note: The afternoon tea was priced at £55 per person. It’s £60 per person including service charge.

Well okay, she didn’t personally rob me (although it felt like it). It’s not like they dragged me in the hotel, force-fed me with sandwiches and tea and then asked for money. I actually (read: stupidly) went there out of my own free will. I volunteered.

via GIPHY

Let me retrace the story back a bit. Since we moved to London, I’ve been asked a gazillion times if I’ve ever tried afternoon tea yet or if I have a recommendation where to have one.  To be completely honest, I wasn’t very keen into trying it but I know that I kinda have to at some point. I’m in London after all, embrace the culture and have an open mind they say and I actually wanted to like it.

There’s something about eating delicate sweets and sipping tea served in tiny cups of elegance that I find quite endearing. I’m not a posh person at all in fact, I’m the complete and total opposite. So if enjoying an afternoon tea will put a hint of posh-ness in me then give me two pots please.

Afternoon Tea, London - PinayFlyingHigh.com-503

We went to a five star hotel in central London close to Hyde Park, I’m not going to say which one because it doesn’t really matter. It’s not their fault that I didn’t like my first afternoon tea experience, I don’t think where it was served mattered to me. It’s the whole concept of the afternoon tea which I actually didn’t like, let me tell you the reasons why.

1. The Price.

Why would I pay more than £10 for a few crust-less sandwiches, some desserts and tea? I can buy everything served to us in Marks and Spencer at a much more reasonable price than what we have actually paid. Yeah, the five star hotel lobby was an amazing place to serve tea but so is Hyde Park across it. If I will pay £55 for sandwiches, desserts and tea – it better be served with fireworks and a pot made of gold which I can keep.

2. The Time.

I did my whole research about the origin of the afternoon tea. It was during the 18th century when a Duchess apparently started it because she would always go hungry at 4pm and dinner was not served until 8pm. She then started asking her servants to serve her and her besties some sandwiches and tea. So yeah, gluttony is basically what started it all. Lol.

Afternoon Tea, London - PinayFlyingHigh.com-505

We had it at 1pm though which is a normal serving time of afternoon tea these days. The meal is too light and probably to sweet to be called lunch and it’s definitely not breakfast either. It can be called snacks but then if I’d have it for snacks I’ll prefer to eat it around about 3pm but I definitely won’t eat that much of sandwiches for snacks. Do you see the dilemma here? It’s too light to be called a meal but too heavy to be called snacks. It’s neither because it’s an afternoon tea, wtf right?

3. The Tradition.

Generally speaking, having an afternoon tea is some sort of a social status symbol when it was first started. It originated in a palace by people who can afford to eat an extra meal during the day. I don’t think the social status aspect of it has changed at this time. I mean, who can afford to pay £55 for tea? I’m all about trying out new things and although I’m not particularly rich, I do want to splurge on myself from time to time. I won’t do it though for the sake of social status, I’d do it because it’s worth paying for and I honestly don’t think an afternoon tea is.

For £55, I’d rather go back to Sake no Hana and have their 5-course lunch promotion priced at £31 per person and then order cocktails for the remaining balance. It’s a much better experience believe you me.

4. I’m not into sweets.

We each got 4 pieces of sweets to culminate our afternoon tea experience. I basically ate a quarter portion of each of the three desserts served to us and dissected the rest just because I paid £55 for it. I’m horrible, I know. I wouldn’t say that the desserts served to us were particularly unique or special. I very rarely eat sweets but if a time comes that I’d crave for it, I’d rather buy 24 pieces of macarons from Laduree for the same price because that sh*t is the bomb!

I felt like a complete fool paying such a huge amount of money for the food that we ate. Yes, the sandwiches were great but let’s all be real here, it’s a freaking sandwich! Yes, the place where we had our afternoon tea was lavishly outstanding but I lived in Dubai and Doha where dining in 5 star hotels is the norm because that’s the only place where you’ll be served alcohol in that region. So no, it’s still not worth the £55 that I paid.

Afternoon Tea, London - PinayFlyingHigh.com-501

The worst part of it all was, I went there myself. It’s not like I was dragged by my hair to go inside that hotel and try the afternoon tea by force. I was actually hopeful that I would like this experience but the only thing that I liked about it was the company I was with. I think my friend actually liked it and although I may not agree with her, I’m actually very glad that she did.

Afternoon tea, a London experience that I’m happily ticking off my bucket list and the one thing that I’d avoid all my life. Don’t take my word for it though because I’m kinda weird.

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10 Comments

  • Reply Angela April 21, 2017 at 14:35

    Woah, that is crazy. I knew it was expensive for tea but that is ridiculous. I guess you’re paying for the experience. I’ve also felt the need to try it when living here but am not willing to pay the price tag. I have heard you can find cheaper ones ranging 25 to 30 pounds, which still seems outrageous to me…

  • Reply Mon April 6, 2017 at 16:49

    Lol, if you felt robbed, then what am I, bankrupt? I had my 1st and last afternoon tea in Burj Al Arab, so do the math c”,)

    I love scones, sweets and tea though… but mind you, I didn’t and couldn’t finish the whole serving (price was also per person, sharing was not allowed).
    So although it was Burj A l Arab, the price was not justified.

  • Reply Nada Al Ghowainim April 4, 2017 at 09:14

    Haha! love the brutal honesty and outspoken views in this post! I agree with you, afternoon tea is not my thing either. Apart from the over-priced sandwiches and desserts, I feel like I’d rather have a proper, hearty and filling meal than snack on unhealthy high-calorie food. I don’t think I even tried afternoon tea while in London, but to me, it would be more of a social thing. So maybe if I wanted to have tea and desserts with a friend or group, then I would consider it. But I would still rather have just one piece of sandwich or dessert than pay for a full tray of them which I won’t end up eating.
    I’m very happy that you voiced your opinion strongly about this old English tradition. It’s so refreshing to read an honest, unbiased and funny post!

  • Reply Photo Cache March 27, 2017 at 17:41

    You were paying more for the experience/ambiance than anything else. It is this reason why I haven’t been to high tea, even though I’ve always wanted to. I found a place in San Francisco that serve high tea, but the price was well out of my price range and I’m certainly not going to dig deeper into my “taco savings account” for cucumber sandwiches and tea 🙂

    Sorry you did not enjoy your “authentic” high tea experience.

  • Reply Sofia March 27, 2017 at 09:15

    Haha I laughed so much reading this! But it’s completely true, why pay so much for some small crustless sandwiches! As you say you can get it cheaper and better elsewhere, or do it at home and make it EVEN BETTER, and with nicer teas and all! lol.
    I lived in the UK (Cambridge, ok not quite LOndon but I hanged out in London a lot) about a little more than 10 years ago. I know that, as you say, the afternoon tea thing began by some duchess in the 18th century, but no “normal” person ever thought about having afternoon tea in a fine place then. I think it’s been the whole blogging scenario that has given it a “revival” in the last few years, and cheers to you for pointing out that it may be a tad overrated.

  • Reply Micamyx|Senyorita March 25, 2017 at 21:00

    I am somewhere in Warwickshire county at the moment and afternoon tea here is a bit more cheaper. I only went once with my mum and we thoroughly enjoyed it. I guess it helped that we had a lot to talk about and the people who served us were really nice and friendly. I also tried it when we went to London (Fortnum & Mason). I didn’t pay for our afternoon tea so I didn’t feel robbed lol 😀

  • Reply Trainswestcantwoespano March 25, 2017 at 12:28

    who dares wins.
    the hotel in this case. Its been a few years since I last ‘feasted’ in London proper.
    My experience was that London prices are five times what you might be asked to pay in the rural areas.
    Hyde Park area, close to Mayfair, Buck Palace etc could be the hottest property in the town
    cheers B

  • Reply Sahar March 25, 2017 at 12:03

    To be frank I love all the decos of afternoon and I am not a big fan of the sandwiches. I guess in Doha, afternoon tea is a fashionably constructed concept and not so in London. Thank you for letting us know how it went by!

  • Reply Rebecca March 25, 2017 at 11:12

    Oh gosh, that IS ridiculous! I went for a high tea experience at the Berkeley Hotel and actually kinda enjoyed it…wrote about it on my site.
    I can’t remember the exact cost, but I don’t think it was anything like yours!

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