IT’S CERTAINLY NOT an everyday occurrence that I find myself sat in the Colonnade Suite of the Manor of Groves Hotel, with a three-tier afternoon tea stand placed in front of me, but on a quiet afternoon in December it became my reality.
Without question, it was a delight to escape the routine of student life for the day to enjoy the lavish experience of complimentary afternoon tea. However, upon reflection, there is one change I’d make to my experience.
The afternoon tea was set up in a delightful conservatory-style room, populated by wicker sofas that gave the interiors an essence of Hamptons beach house. Although stylish, I personally found the sofas and their accompanying tables to be an illogical choice – especially when attempting to pour yourself a cup of tea or to butter your scone.
In hopes of not wasting an entire pot of English Breakfast tea, which may I add, was beautifully brewed, I found myself standing over the awkwardly low table to ensure I didn’t soil the white table cloth. As a result, it made the whole experience somewhat robotic which is less than desirable.
Despite that minor issue, the whole experience was quintessentially British, in my opinion, with beautifully crafted scones, bite-sized pieces of cake and finger sandwiches filled with egg, salmon, ham and cucumber. Portion size was not an issue, as I found myself leaving plenty behind, proving that the tea is certainly suitable for two to three people.
Some of the foods were first-time tries for me, including the salmon, which I can safely say I wouldn’t try again but that is of no fault of the hotel. With that being said, the rightly placed ‘top-tier’ red velvet cake was exceptional and left me questioning whether it was acceptable to politely ask for more – being British, I decided I against it.
Throughout my time at the hotel, the service I received from staff was excellent, whether it be to check that everything was up to scratch or to simply answer one of my questions.
Sadly, with it being winter, I was left to visualise how beautiful the set up would be with the sun streaming through the grand floor to ceiling windows that led out onto one of the many green areas of the hotel. Nevertheless, I was glad to be tucked away in the warmth of the hotel.
The overcast moody weather quickly transitioned into the usual early evening pitch black sky which marked that I should probably make my way home…sadly.
Afternoon tea at the Manor of Groves is priced at £19/pp with additional charges for a glass of prosecco (£24/pp in total), champagne (£29/pp in total) or luxury chocolate dipped strawberries (£3.95/pp) – a perfect choice with Valentine’s Day soon approaching.
For further information…
Telephone: 01279 600 777
Address: Manor of Groves, High Wych, Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire, CM21 0JU.