I have been putting off writing this review as I really haven’t wanted to revisit my experience. If I hadn’t had such great company I would have been absolutely livid that I had wasted half a day’s holiday from work for this.
First of all, let’s have a look at what I was expecting from Doubletree by Hilton West End.
So, we arrived, and I have to say, the setting is lovely. The reception is very elegant, and the lounge bar where afternoon tea is served had a contemporary open fire, and was very tastefully decorated in aqua, charcoal, black and silver. All very nice so far.
It was buzzing and almost every table was occupied.
I wasn’t even asked for my name to confirm my booking, I handed over my voucher and our waitress informed us that she was very sorry as they were extremely busy. That didn’t sound great, but there seemed to be quite a few staff, so I wasn’t too concerned at this stage.
We were brought our ‘Brut Cuvée’ which was my first surprise. I honestly thought that Brut Cuvée would be more dry, but this was extremely sweet, almost like a sparkling dessert wine. I assumed that I must have been wrong (which does happen occasionally) , although it really wasn’t too pleasant.
We then waited at least half an hour for everything else to arrive. When they brought our tiered stand of goodies, the waitress said “I’ll just bring your tea – English breakfast is OK isn’t it?”…and then rushed off. being English, we weren’t going to make a fuss, but I thought that this was far from the ‘selection of teas, coffees or herbal infusions’ that we were offered. And this was the first time I hadn’t been offered a menu or choice!
And this is what we were brought.
Expected: Freshly cut finger sandwiches, such as smoked salmon or cucumber and cream cheese, make for mouth-watering savoury morsels
Received: Three small fingers of extremely thinly cut cucumber (no cream cheese) and what I assume was flavourless turkey and cranberry.
Expected: sweet pastries, toasted tea cakes, and fruit cake will sweeten up the selection.
Received: something a bit like a fondant fancy, but nowhere near even as good as Mr Kipling, sickly sweet. A strawberry tart that seemed like it had been frozen – the pastry was soggy, the strawberry was more like sweet jam and there was barely any creme patissiere. There were also two mini eclairs that were nice enough, but the moisture on the plate had soaked into them and one of them had been on its side so the chcolate had melted off in the damp and onto the tart.
Expected: a sugary finale of clotted cream and fruit preserves adorning warmed, pillowy scones.
Received: one scone each, which is the stingiest I have ever experienced. I have to say, the scones were actually very nice. However, there was no jam at alll given to us and we had to ask for it. this wasn’t a mistake, as the people on the tables each side of us had exactly the same problem.
On top of that, the teapot didn’t even hold enough to completely fill our two teacups, so we had to keep asking for another pot, which was always slow in coming – in fact we asked three times for one.
I have never been so disappointed by an afternoon tea. It didn’t feel special at all, although the surroundings and atmosphere were lovely. And this was Hilton – I name I expect to be associated with luxury and a bit of glamour!
I really don’t know what to think about it. Part of me wants to write to Hilton to complain, but I don’t know what I would expect to get out of it.
All I could do was apologise to my ‘date’ – he expected far better than what he got!