Harrods is known to the world as a place of luxury and indulgence but what can you expect if you head in for their Afternoon Tea experience?
This weekend, The Pretty Poetic, headed to London for the 2017 Glamour Magazine Beauty Festival. In addition to attending the festival itself this was also a chance to explore the rest of the city and indulge in a little luxury.
I took a good friend along with me who recently celebrated a “big birthday.” As part of her birthday gift I treated her to an afternoon tea experience in ‘The Georgian Restaurant’ at Harrods. An afternoon tea in somewhere as plush as this isn’t something we would ordinarily do; 5pm and Groupon offers are more likely! This was a very special treat, and more expensive than our norm. However, it was a great birthday celebration, was something we both enjoyed and something we were very glad to have tried –that’s another thing ticked off the bucket list!
Harrods Department Store
It is very unlikely that you won’t have heard of Harrods. It is a world famous, luxury, department store located on Brompton Road in Knightsbridge, London. Its history dates back to the early 1800s and it has remained an iconic feature of London through the centuries. In 2010 the Al Fayed family (who famously owned the venue) sold the store to ‘Qatar Holdings’ meaning it is now owned by the state of Qatar.
There are five floors in the store with over 330 departments and the interior décor of every level is visually stunning. The walls, roofs and floors include intricate patterns and are created from the finest materials. The different departments have “themes” in terms of their interior style and the famous, “Egyptian Escalators” are defiantly worth a look! The entire place oozes luxury and offers everything from homeware and children’s wear to luxury fashion; there is also an entire arcade dedicated to fashion “Super-brands” such as Versace, Prada, Gucci, Elle Sabb, Dolce & Gabbana, Dior and more. There is even a Disney Store located on the 4th floor and a Cinderella themed children’s footwear section: The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.
In addition to the luxury shoppers there to indulge in a spot of shopping you will find hundreds of tourists flocking there to see what the store has to offer – the store opens at 11.30 on a Sunday and when we arrived at Brompton Road just after 11am there was already a queue forming along the front of the store and round the corner.
The Georgian Restaurant
Afternoon tea is served in, ‘The Georgian Restaurant’ which is located on the fourth floor of the department store. Whilst Harrods can – at times – feel like a bit of a maze the restaurant can be located by travelling up the escalators and walking through the Disney Store (try not to be distracted by the life-sized models of Olaf, Anna and an Empire Stormtropper) or by taking a direct lift from the ground floor. It is considered to be one of the finest tea rooms in London and its operation dates all the way back to the early 1900s.
The surroundings of this restaurant are beautiful and in the style of a conservatory. In recent years Harrods teamed-up with illustrious interior design Christopher Guy Harrions (Interior Company Christopher Guy) to create a new bespoke look for the space. It was described by Town&Country magazine as a “serene, sophisticated retreat away from the hustle and bustle of Knightsbridge” and they are totally right!
On entering the restaurant the amount of space is the first thing you notice. Whilst the departments on the accompanying floors offer plenty of room for browsing the room offers a welcome break from the busy streets of London – you feel like you can breathe in here! There is an overwhelming sense of clam and relaxation when you enter and you can feel all your worries, stresses and woes melting away.
First you will encounter a “waiting area” (if you will) adorned with beautiful planets and velvet sofas. The restaurant tables and dining space are visible from the outset but a delicate, iron and gold gilded gate separates the two areas – this really adds to the style of a conservatory area. A mannerly and friendly hostess took our details and asked us to take a seat until her colleague came to show us to out table. This gave us a chance to have a good look around. Much like the rest of the store every inch of the room oozes luxury and style. Part of you feels like you have been taken back in time to the 1920s or 30s; there is definitely an air of The Great Gatsby about the place.
It is clear to see how much attention to detail Harrison has put into the design of the space. The official Harrods’ website tells us there are over 500 bespoke features to the room including the carved wood, silver leaf panels that replicate the Harrods’ facade – wowzers!
Once seated we had the chance to really take in our surroundings. We were placed in an elegant, rounded booth which allowed seating for three people. The bucket seat was red velvet with classic golden trim. The seats were comfortable, the table spacious and we have a lovely view of the whole room. There is plenty of space between each of the tables which adds to the relaxed feeling of the area. You don’t feel like you have to have hushed private conversations or be wary of disturbing others – you can be totally at ease with your party.
In the centre of room was a pianist well-dressed in a suit and bow tie. As is customary in the venue of Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays he played music to entertain customers. This was a lovely addition and really added to the elegance and style of the place. The music was a contemporary mix featuring the likes of Elton John, Michael Jackson, Robbie Williams and Billy Joel.
Afternoon Tea Selection
After being seated a lovely waitress took us through the afternoon tea options available on the menu. It is worth noting that other food and dishes are available however, it seemed that the afternoon tea experiences are the most popular with guests. There are three different afternoon tea options to choose from:
- The Georgian Afternoon Tea (£42pp)
- The Champagne Afternoon Tea (£52pp)
- The Luxury Afternoon Tea (£55pp)
To find out specifics about each selection you can click here.
We opted for the classic, Georgian Afternoon Tea. It is worth noting that if you are not a “big eater” or have had a lovely breakfast in your hotel (if travelling) that the “per person” option is not necessary. One selection per couple is more than enough given how much is on offer. However, the information from the staff there may not make this clear and you may end up paying more for something you wouldn’t necessarily finish. This is definitely worth keeping in mind particularly if budget and price is something you are being mindful of.
The Georgian Afternoon Tea
This particular offer included: a section of freshly made sandwiches, mini pastries and dessert delights, scones with creams and jams and an original Harrods’ trifle. There is plenty on offer to cater to a variety of tastes and the opportunity to try something new. All of the items were freshly prepared and delicious. I really couldn’t fault anything. The selection of teas on offer was also impressive – guests can treat themselves to anything from a classic English Breakfast Tea to an Earl Grey or a wide range of herbal infusions.
The staff here are also very helpful; they couldn’t do enough for you. Your tea-cup is never empty and they keep used plates and cutlery out of your way. They even replace your plate with a new one when the warm scones are added to the set a little later on. However, what I liked most was that the service wasn’t too overwhelming. The staff were present but not intrusive and we were left to leisurely make our way through our food and drinks without the oppressive feeling of a “return time” or the need to leave. This made the experience very relaxing.
It clear to see that the staff put a lot of effort into their rapport with customers – they offer to take commemorate photographs of couples and families, sing happy birthday with gusto to celebratory tables and they even offered to package up any leftovers for us to take away. Public image may have many thinking this is an etiquette faux pas in such a venue as Harrods but for me, it was this common touch that made the place altogether more elegant.
Overall, we had a wonderful experience in The Georgian Restaurant. In my eyes it certainly was somewhere that was little bit extra special and a lovely treat. I would recommend this to anyone visiting London if you are looking for that quintessentially British experience. Don’t be put off by the public image an screeds of designer price tags – The Georgian Restaurant is very welcoming to anyone who steps through their doors.