What? A Sunday afternoon spent in swinging skirts, learning the Charleston, sipping on Champagne and scoffing down scones (like a lady).
New? Far from it. The Waldorf Hilton Tea Dances have been going on for thirty years, and some of their patrons who have been there from the very beginning are still turning up to, ditch their zimmer frames and put on their dancing shoes.
Where? At The Waldorf Hilton, Aldwych, WC2B 4DD, www.hilton.com
The Look: The tea dance takes place in the Palm Court, a core feature of the hotel ever since it opened back in 1908. The room is bright and light, with tall palm trees looming from the corners of the room. The sun filters through the glass ceiling and bounces off the white marble floors; glinting off the gold candelabras. If you look closely you can see the scratches on the marble, from heeled ladies being spun across the dance floor.
A live band plays from the balcony and a girl in a gorgeous red dress sings bluesy tunes through the microphone. Ladies and gentleman, (because that is exactly what they are) take to the dance floor, and seamlessly join the rhythm of the music. Dresses swishing and shoes gliding on marble. It’s a magical scene, and my friend and I are left tugging at our dresses and shrinking into our chairs as we didn’t seem to get the glamorous memo.
The Dance: On the table is a very smart menu with my name written across it. “Ms. Tobey’s Party”, and two glasses of champagne seamlessly slip into our hands.
Soon two fantastically dressed girls scamper onto the floor and beckon us all down. Hesitantly the motley crew of attendees slink onto the dance floor. We were about to learn the Charleston. At this point Ashleigh (my friend) looks at me in panic. This is going to be fun.
Before long limbs are flying aggressively, and the whole room is working up a sweat. Some faces beaming with perspiration and others frowning grimly as they struggle three steps behind everyone else. I nearly have the hang of the steps, where as Ashleigh looks like she’s stacking shelves and stamping on mice. We all breath a sigh of relief when the lesson is over and crawl back to our tables, to thirstily knock back the Champagne and eagerly await the afternoon tea.
What We Ate: The famous three tiers arrive, and we descend greedily on the sandwiches. A traditional selection of ham, egg, and tuna. There are also warm fluffy scones with clotted cream and raspberry jam and a special Christmas selection of sweet treats. Biting the heads of little snowmen was sad but delicious all the same. If you were to visit now however, you would avoid this trauma and sink your teeth into a sticky cake selection instead.
What We Drank: Champagne and a lot of tea. There is a wonderful selection of Indian and herbal teas that all smelt divine and come in white porcelain. The Champagne flutes were particularly pretty.
Go With: Ideally, I’d suggest going with Giovanni Pernice or Anton Dubeck from strictly come dancing, but if they aren’t available, a love interest, preferably one that knows his left foot from his right. Ashleigh and I had no qualms pairing up and waltzing round the floor however despite not knowing the steps. Confidence is the key.
Final Word: “I could have danced all night and still have begged for more”… had I not eaten too many scones…and sandwiches. We had a truly fantastic time, and are 100% going to go again. The staff were all so attentive and the dancers were so welcoming and made everyone feel at ease no matter their ability. Simply put it was a most magical Sunday afternoon, a wonderful atmosphere, with a delicious tea.
Like This? Try These: The Zetter Townhouse, Mr. Fogg’s Residence, Four Seasons At Park Lane
The Waldorf Hilton: Aldwych, WC2B 4DD www3.hilton.com