An Afternoon of Tea at the Sofitel London St James

Notice the seedy little preposition in the title, separating “afternoon” and “tea”, two words in no need of a divorce. It seemed prudent, however, to point out early on for those who get bored with my introductory ramblings, that this particular event was more than just an afternoon tea. It was a celebration of tea with a tea quiz, tea presentation, tea leaf reading and most importantly, a preview of their new Afternoon Tea, Le Tea en Rose, inspired by the Chelsea Flower Show. lobby Sofitel St James hotel London The Sofitel London St James is located right on Pall Mall, in the heart of tourist London, the exterior of the Sofitel St James is a an opulent building, one I have walked past many times without clocking on to what it actually was.

I walked into the Rose Lounge, which was everything I would want my living room to be, cosy and homely with a warming pink filter permeating through it. pink rose lounge afternoon tea Sofitel London The sofas were the type you could slouch into with a cup of your favourite tea and a shelf full of books that would leave you with a vocabulary flowery enough to mirror the paraphernalia in the room.

There is a charming French femininity exuding from this lounge that makes you feel like you are Marie Antoinette and is definitely somewhere I would take my Mum rather than Pumpkin. I was therefore very glad to find that I would be spending the afternoon feasting in the lovely company of Connie, Kelly and Kristina.pink Rose Lounge Sofitel Hotel St James

Afternoon Tea at Sofitel London St James

We started the afternoon with a fascinating talk from a representative of Dammann Freres teas, a fine tea company that provide Sofitel with a vast range of enticing options. Dammann Freres tea chest I was fascinated to learn that some of these tea blends contained up to 16 or 17 different ingredients and that was only going to make our next task even more of a challenge. We were handed three samples of tea, a green, a black and a white tea and equipped with an answer sheet each, we were required to try and guess the excipients in each blend. Dammann Freres fine tea selection I was so intrigued to find how different a sense of smell we all have. Within the one blend, some of us could smell only almond, others cherry, in the green tea, some could smell grass, others seaweed. I don’t drink alcohol so always miss out on wine sniffing and I think my nose tried to make up for it here.dammann freres loose leaf teaBy sheer coincidence, I had written just a few weeks ago about my obsession with tea and how many tea choices I stockpile at home.Dammann Freres tea Sofitel hotels Dammann freres teas tea jamAs if to validate this, by a rather fortunate fluke, I won the quiz and became the proud recipient of this beautiful box of Dammann Freres teas 🙂afternoon tea blogger event Sofitel St JamesThe choice of teas were a highlight here and they were happy for us to try a few different flavours throughout the afternoon and the alluring violet macaron tea caught me rather offguard. Dessert flavoured tea? Genius. Sofitel St James afternoon tea sandwiches Ravenous by this point, I finished all my sandwiches but would have preferred a little more filling and a slightly thinner bread to bring out those fillings. sultana apricot scones Sofitel St James afternoon tea The scones which included apricot and sultana were done exactly the way I enjoy them, perfectly crumbly and warm and although the strawberry and rose scented jam won my vote, I figured the lemon curd deserved a fighting chance.Rose lounge afternoon tea scones Sofitel LondonI promised myself I would only have one scone but you don’t even need to put your glasses on to see how that one turned out… Le Tea en Rose afternoon tea Sofitel St James The  brightly coloured pastries came in an array of floral flavours including poppy and hibiscus desserts, an elegant rose macaron and my personal favourite, the mimosa sponge.rose macaron fresh raspberriesChelsea Flower Show desserts afternoon tea Sofitel St James The emphasis on florals was more prominent in the taste than the aesthetics but since the days I first tried my mother’s Indian desserts with rose flavour and made my first batch of lavender cupcakes, I have always felt that flowers and bakes marry well together. patisserie desserts Le Tea en Rose Sofitel The yellow mimosa dessert was the one I enjoyed the most but it was quite difficult to cut these up to share without them falling apart and there weren’t enough for one each so these are probably not desserts to pack away in your goody bag for later. mimosa sponge cake rose poppy dessert Sofitel St James

Visiting the tea leaf reader

The afternoon ended with a visit to the tea leaf reader. Apparently, I am going to be moving out of London soon (Hmmm….that’s not really in my plans right now….or ever….but I suppose one should never say never.) Apparently, I’m also going to have a black Scottish highland terrier puppy (ummm……I can’t even look after flowers nevermind a puppy) and supposedly my blog will change focus towards discussion of new medicines (definitely not) so whilst I remain a tad cynical, it was an interesting first (and last) experience at having my tea leaves read. rose lounge painting Sofitel St James London And if I do end up in a suburban house in the home counties, picking up the waste product of my badly-trained black dog and no longer writing about my travels, then I shall wallow in humble apology! Has anyone ever tried to read your fortune?

Le Tea en Rose will be held daily throughout this month to celebrate the Chelsea Flower Show and prices start at £30 per person.   Disclaimer: I was a guest of Accor Hotels and Sofitel London St James during this afternoon tea but I am an opinionated little cake-eating travel blogger (getting less little with each cake) and all views, good or bad, are entirely my own.

19 thoughts on “An Afternoon of Tea at the Sofitel London St James

  1. Major food envy looking at those scones and cakes! I’ve not been for afternoon tea for a while now so will add this to my list of places to try…and it’s a stone’s throw from my office so a great place to entertain clients 😉

    Kam xo
    A Married Couple & Their Travels

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 15, 2015 — 7:14 pm

      Oh perfect Kam! Your clients must surely “need” to have meetings with you over floral cakes after all :mrgreen: I must say, considering that scones are a staple part of most teas, lots of places manage to muck them up but I really did enjoy them here and having apricot in them was a nice little touch!

  2. I love the hotel it’s so pretty and those pastries look amazing!
    Lots of love,
    Angie

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 15, 2015 — 7:16 pm

      That rose lounge and lobby are just so floral and feminine aren’t they Angie?! It’s pretty and charming without being at all tacky – I’d like to go back to the Balcon for a drink one day to get more of a feel for the bar too ☺

  3. Love the play on words with the photo of clocks… Hehe I’m such a word geek! I had such a nice afternoon- so pleased we finally got to meet!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 15, 2015 — 8:16 pm

      OMG Connie!! I had no idea I even did that so I couldn’t figure out your comment about the clock thing so went back and looked and just noticed it! How bizarre! And very well spotted of you :mrgreen: It was do lovely to get to meet you that day too. Such a fun afternoon!

  4. Those big pink cakes look gorgeous! (PS, huge fan of your rambling introductions. Keep em up!)

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 15, 2015 — 8:17 pm

      Aww thankie Frankie! I knew I could count on you to vote for my waffle though my rhyming poetry is perhaps less engaging than those introductory ramblings wouldn’t you say :mrgreen:

  5. I’m always dubious about fortune telling, but I do love it! I hope you’re not leaving London any time soon (or the travel blogging world for that matter!) x

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 15, 2015 — 8:21 pm

      Thanks Char! Well no and no as far as I’m aware – honestly I really can’t say I left convinced by the whole thing but it was fun to try it out anyway ☺

  6. That’s funny about the tea leaf reader, mind you I met a fortune teller at an event who said I or someone I know would give birth to a boy who is a Leo. I haven’t but a friend is about to! I love Le Balcon at the Sofitel

    Suze | LuxuryColumnist

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 15, 2015 — 8:23 pm

      Oh really Suze! Well that certainly is strange so perhaps I shouldn’t be too cynical. The Balcon seemed lovely. I’d really like to return to it for a drink one day. I’d never even realised there was a nice bar just there on Pall Mall hiding away!

  7. Ooh, this looks lovely! I love how colourful all the cakes were. Your fortune teller experience made me laugh – I would totally be using that as an excuse to get a dog though 😉

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 24, 2015 — 7:26 pm

      Haha, yes the fortune rather baffled me especially as I’ve never actually had a pet! :mrgreen:

  8. Ohhhh the price is awesome for all this!!
    I also loved the Rose Lounge… heaven!
    I am in need of an afternoon like this, I love everything about it… scones, macarons, pastries, tea ❤ when I visit London I would love to do something like this with you 😀

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 24, 2015 — 7:51 pm

      Oh Allane, it’s a date! You just let me know when you’ll be here and it would be fab to meet you for a lovely afternoon tea! I absolutely love macarons and scones too 😍

      1. That sounds like a great plan!!! I gotta start planning a trip to London soon 😀
        We do have a lot in common… macarons and scones are dangerous for us ❤

  9. Katie@From Shores to Skylines May 21, 2015 — 12:59 pm

    What a great deal! I love tea, and I love dessert – the variety here is impressive! No one should ever stop at just one scone anyways… the mimosa sponges look amazing. How long did you end up there?

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 24, 2015 — 8:10 pm

      Haha, quite a while Katie! I think nearly 3.5 hours in there of tea and cake related fun! I very much like your thinking on scones too :mrgreen:

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