When I was planning a London to celebrate my best friend Amanda from MarocMama‘s birthday, afternoon tea at The Rubens at The Palace hotel was one of the first things I put on my list. I'd had afternoon tea in London before, but that had been a bit of a disappointing experience. So this time, and especially as we had a birthday to celebrate, it had to be top-notch.
So to The Rubens at the Palace hotel we went.
Afternoon tea at The Rubens at the Palace hotel
The Rubens Hotel does a daily afternoon tea near Buckingham Palace, at their Palace Lounge on Buckingham Palace Road. It was the first place we checked out and while I also researched others, we decided to go for afternoon tea at The Palace Lounge because it was close to where we needed to go in the evening to register for a conference (our main reason for going to London).
The reviews were also great and we found an offer for 30% off. What more can you ask for?
As The Rubens hotel is quite fancy, I was worried that I wouldn't feel totally comfortable there but that fear turned out to be ungrounded. Yes, the decor is amazing, with velvety furniture and nicely set tables, but as soon as we took place on the “couch” with a view of the street, we felt at ease.
The Palace Lounge offers quite a selection of fresh loose teas. Amanda went with The Royal Jubilee Blend and I opted for a more classic Lady Grey.
It didn't take too long for the tea to arrive and soon after, the food followed.
Three plates full of goodness: sweets, scones, and sandwiches.
We were explained what was what and told that we could always get more sweets if we wanted to. I was excited about the prospect of ordering more sweets, but by the end, we were both so full that we actually needed to ask for a doggy bag to take some of the first round home with us!
We each had about four or five sandwiches, two scones and then a mix of sweets to indulge in.
The food and tea were great, but what really added to the experience was that we could enjoy everything at our own pace. We were brought extra tea when needed but never felt like we needed to hurry up. We just sat there for almost three hours chatting and slowly making our way through all the tasty goodness, occasionally taking a little break.
I also need to take my hat off to the staff. When making the reservation, I added a little message saying that it would be Amanda's birthday and that it would be nice if they could do something, but that she doesn't drink alcohol. So in the midst of our afternoon tea, we were suddenly brought two gigantic mocktails and a decorated plate with a slice of cake for her.
I know I asked for it, but I still felt it was really considerate that they organized something for her and made special mocktails while they could've also just brought out the cake. That's good service right there.
Afternoon tea at The Palace hotel: practical information
The Royal Afternoon Tea is the regular Rubens afternoon tea. There occasionally are other, special versions as well depending on the time of the year. For December, for example, you can book a Festive Afternoon Tea. For kids, there's also a Little Prince and Princess afternoon tea.
Hotel The Rubens at the Palace caters to people with special dietary requirements. It's best to inquire about the options beforehand.
Check the website for up-to-date afternoon tea times and prices.
The Palace Lounge at The Rubens
39 Buckingham Palace Road, London, SW1W 0PS
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7834 6600
Where to stay in London
I've stayed at many different places in London already, but this time I partnered up with Cuckooz through Acomodeo, a booking site for rental apartments. It's a relatively new company so I was keen to try it out.
Amanda and I stayed at this Cuckooz's two bedroom-apartment near King's Cross. Just a 7-minute walk from that tube station, with a Tesco's supermarket even nearer, it was at a great location indeed.
The apartment itself was modern, decorated with both stylish and comfortable furniture. Amanda had the master bedroom which was equipped with a double bed, a desk, a clothes rack and an ensuite bathroom.
I had the smaller bathroom which came with a clothes rack and had a separate bathroom just down the hall.
Even though we're used to sharing flats and have never fought over the bathroom, it was nice to each have our own shower and toilet. We could also let our toiletry bags explode without needing to worry about taking up all the space :-)
The free WiFi at the apartment made it easy for us to get some work done and the freely provided tablet is handy for those traveling without a laptop or for when your phones down.
And if you want to stay in, there's Netflix and Apple TV.
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We were offered a complimentary stay by Acomodeo and Cuckooz to try out their service.