Just moments away from Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus, the 5-star Sofitel London St James is a haven of peace, tranquillity and relaxed luxury. The rather intimate Rose Lounge offers something just a little bit special, where you can sink into the comfortable pink sofas and armchairs and indulge yourself with some delicious Parisienne pastries and cakes. An exclusive collection of teas are on offer and of course a glass of champagne is always most welcome when enjoying those soft finger sandwiches.
Whilst going out to lunch or dinner is always lovely, there’s something just a little bit special about meeting for tea in the afternoon. People tend to dress up for the occasion which is sadly all too rare these days and everything just seems a little more civilised for those few hours as you shut yourself away from the 24/7 technology-driven world we live in.
It was one of those hot and humid August days in London that I met up with a friend and spent what ended up being a three hour plus Afternoon Tea.
Upon arrival and being seating at our cosy table and comfortable high-backed armchairs, we were immediately offered a glass of their chilled Edgerton Pink Gin Signature cocktail and delicious amuse-bouche of soft crab on a brioche (which can be different each day) to set the tone for the afternoon. Depending on how thirsty you are you actually have three choices – the aforementioned Pink Gin cocktail, a glass of Moët & Chandon Imperial Champagne or you can really roll the boat out and choose the free-flowing Champagne afternoon tea, which I think is very good value at £52.
For the tea drinkers amongst you there is a wide selection of teas to choose from the menu which include rare and seasonal teas, such as the seasonal Darjeeling originating from the foot of the Himalayas, to Black Teas like their strong breakfast and Earl Grey Yin Zhen teas. There are some Light and Green Teas which include the Teguanyin Green Oolong and Japanese Genmaicha Organic tea as well as some Herbal Infusions and Spicy and Smoky teas like the wonderfully named China Green Tea Gunpowder!
Le Tea en Rose, as you would expect has a French twist to it, adding to the elegant surroundings in which we were sitting, with harpist playing. It really is the perfect place to unwind and relax – better than any de-stress workout in the gym!
When our tea arrived, our friendly waiter talked us through the different tiers starting at the top with a selection of super fresh finger sandwiches filled with ham and cheese, salmon and sweetcorn and everyone’s favourite – cucumber. There were also two chocolate treats filled with a special beetroot mix.
The middle tier was filled with what is my favourite part of the tea and that’s the freshly made homemade scones, which in this case were a mix of plain, with raisins and with chocolate chips. The bottom tier housed the Devonshire clotted cream, rose scented strawberry jam and lemon curd.
Once we had finished all this, enjoyed a glass of chilled Moët & Chandon we then managed to find room for a few delicious Parisienne pastries. This involved manoeuvring ourselves out of our comfy armchairs and going over to the cake trolley where your inner child will take over as our eyes become bigger than your stomach as you gaze upon raspberry macaroons, slices of chocolate cake and other tempting delights; but that’s okay as our friendly waiter simply boxed up what we couldn’t eat so that we could take the remaining cakes home for tea the next day.
The standard of both the tea and service is first rate and very much in keeping with the bar set by the rest of the Sofitel London St James and Balcon Restaurant and would thoroughly recommend The Rose Lounge Afternoon Tea as the perfect way to spend a relaxed afternoon catching up with a friend or treating your mother to an afternoon out. And if you have kids and want to keep them quiet and amused, there is a special Le Goüter Tea, which is a tailor-made version and includes a variety of cakes, finger sandwiches and fresh fruits, all served in an artist paint box along with a colouring kit.
The Rose Lounge, Sofitel London St James, 6 Waterloo Place, London, SW1Y 4AN
Tel: +44 (0)20 7747 2238
The Rose Lounge is located in the Sofitel London St James on the corner of Waterloo Place and Pall Mall and just a two-minute walk from Piccadilly Circus Tube Station (Piccadilly & Bakerloo Lines).
Price: “Le Tea en Rose” costs £32 per person including VAT but excludes service and is available for up to six people. Add their signature cocktail and it’s only £35 or £39 with a glass of Champagne.
Reviewer’s Rating: 9/10
Simon Burrell is Editor-in-Chief of Our Man On The Ground, a member of The British Guild of Travel Writers and professional photographer
Photographs by Simon Burrell