Hotels criticised for the cost of afternoon tea

By | Category: Travel news, Travel rumblings

Afternoon tea in establishments including The Ritz and London’s Lanesborough have been slated by Which?, who have declared they are among Britain’s most expensive for consumers. Even the infamous Bettys Tea Rooms in Yorkshire charge in excess of £30.

So, do these higher end establishments serve a better afternoon tea than the typical town or country tea room?

Joe Ellis, editor of Time for Tea magazine,thinks not. His passion is not for the ‘cuppa’ tea itself, but for the tea room: the ambience, the staff friendliness, and the attention to detail of both what is served and the environment. He is also sceptical of the need for Tea Guild endorsement.

Instead Ellis advocates supporting the more traditional tea rooms; painted pretty colours, with lace tablecloths and pretty china – and staff who get to know their customers.

According to Ellis, “a posh hotel does not automatically make for a better afternoon tea experience; in fact you will be more sure of a hearty welcome and value for money at some of the beautiful little tea rooms around England, that I have visited.”

Ellis continues: “I realise that many of these high end places have the Tea Guild accreditation, but they have to pay for this so-called privilege each year and this surely bumps up their costs before they start. I have been to many tea rooms including Miss Mollett’s High Class Tea Room in Appledore, the Mad Hatter Tea Room in Margate and Harriet’s of Peterborough where the experience you will receive will allow you a delicious afternoon tea in a friendly and cosy atmosphere.I really don’t think the Tea Guild are living in the real world these days; financial struggles of late determine where we spend our money, and we should be encouraged to support local businesses and enjoy a cost effective and enjoyable experience.”

Where do you stand? Do you think that the delight of taking afternoon tea at a high end hotel justifies the price? Or do you share the stance that the words “off” and “rip” could easily be rearranged?

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