New? Nope, the hotel sits on the former site of 145 Piccadilly which was home to the Queen between 1927 and 1937 but the building suffered at the hands of the Blitz. The hotel then opened in 1975.
Where? Wellington Lounge at InterContinental London Park Lane, One Hamilton Place, Park Lane, W1J 7QY, www.wellington-lounge.co.uk
On the menu: Currently the Wellington Lounge offers two afternoon teas, the Scents of Summer afternoon tea and the Royal-Tea celebrating the Queen’s birthday which is what we were there for. Inspired by the English summer and the Queen herself the tea includes classic cakes and sandwiches including Coronation chicken.
First Impressions: The service at Wellington Lounge is impeccable, as soon as you step in you know that for a couple of hours you can forget whatever is happening outside. You can forget that it’s Sunday afternoon and you haven’t done half the things you were supposed to this weekend and that you can’t quite remember how much you had to drink last night, because you can just be looked after for two hours.
The Look: The Wellington Lounge is both detailed yet simple. Decked out in light greys and soft browns – it’s very calming and elegant. It’s also home to my favourite chairs in London, the sort that engulf you, forcing you to lean right back and completely relax – trust me, leaving is made ten times harder when you know your sofa can’t quite compete at home.
What We Ate: The tea starts with different English sandwiches, including the likes of egg and cress on a sweet carrot bread, meaty Scottish lobster and shrimp and Coronation chicken with a hint of spice and touch of apricot. Fresh, warm scones arrived with jam and clotted cream – although I’m not sure whether their usual guests are very restrained when it comes to the amount of cream they put on their scones because it wasn’t nearly enough.
The cakes are all themed around the Queen, so a walnut and coffee comes the shape of a handbag and there’s a tipsy cake made to look like her hat, which whilst visually looked wonderful was a little bland, we couldn’t detect the Pimms liqueur said to be in it. A white chocolate crown sat upon a dome of Victoria sponge with strawberry jelly and vanilla mousse – a twist on the classic. Finally, there was a gooseberry and Champagne fool which gave way to a gooseberry jelly punctuated with whole gooseberries.
What We Drank: The InterContinental Park Lane was the official Hotel of The Patron’s Lunch and for the Royal-Tea they have teamed up with another partner, Pimms to create a Pimms Royale cocktail. This was followed by the Champagne of Teas aka a light Darjeeling and we finished with a refreshing, fruity iced tea. There is the option to add unlimited Champagne if you’re so way inclined and had it not been a Sunday then we would have.
Go With: As ever there was just one dutiful boyfriend having afternoon tea, so this is one for your Mum, Grandma or a girls’ Sunday afternoon catch-up.
Final Word: With so many afternoon teas to choose from in London, knowing where to go can be rather daunting, but take our recommendation and head to the Wellington Lounge.