This is the second time in recent years that Claridge's has been awarded this accolade having won before in 2006.
This Tea Guild event, now in its 26th year, is considered the ‘Oscar' of the tea world, with world-famous London hotels and tea rooms competing for the highly coveted honour. The UK Tea Council has also awarded 16 special Awards of Excellence to: Brown's Hotel, Grosvenor House Park Room & Library, Sofitel London St James, The Athenaeum, The Chesterfield, The Connaught, The Dorchester, The Goring, The Lanesborough, The Langham, The Milestone, The Montagu at Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill, The Montague on The Gardens, The Park Lane Hotel, The Savoy, and The Ritz in recognition of their outstanding quality and consistently high standards in tea service.
As well as researching and judging the Top London Afternoon Tea award, the UK Tea Council's team of Tea Guild inspectors have been searching the UK to seek out the annual winners of The Top Tea Place and The Top City and Country Hotel Tea awards.
The Tea Guild team of tea experts have taken tea in hotels and tearooms in London and across Britain to find the finest tea experiences and all visits have been anonymous to ensure the results are completely fair and accurate. The anonymous judges awarded points for the variety, flavour and knowledge of the teas offered, together with the quality of food, service, décor, ambience, and presentation. With 125 points to be lost or gained on the judge's scorecard, only those tea establishments achieving the very highest standards across a number of categories can make it to the top.
Claridge's gained the top spot for London tea destinations after hugely impressing Tea Guild judges with its exceptional service, great quality tea and extensive knowledge of the staff. The five-star hotel, an art deco jewel in the heart of bustling Mayfair, is a byword for luxury, sophistication and elegance and has an enviable reputation for fine living and dining reaching right across the globe. The hotel traces its history back to 1812, and over the following 200 years has played host to royalty – including Queen Victoria – as well as stars, statesmen and a discerning clientele who appreciate its rich heritage.
Claridge's was voted into the top spot after its legendary tea room, The Foyer, gained a near perfect score from The Tea Guild's inspectors. The judges praised it for its tasteful art deco style and fine furnishings, as well as friendly and efficient staff and excellent selection of scones, sandwiches and cakes. When it came to the tea itself, once again Claridge's surpassed expectations with an excellent selection of teas, and knowledgeable and friendly staff who excelled first ly in advising customers on the choice of tea blends on offer and then serving those teas perfectly. The judges concluded that Claridge's offered “a very enjoyable and relaxing tea experience in splendid surroundings.”
Commenting on Claridge's winning The Tea Guild's Top London Afternoon Tea 2011 award, Irene Gorman, Head of The Tea Guild, said: “Year on year the nominees for this prestigious award become ever more challenging, but taking tea at Claridge's gives a demonstration of exactly how special afternoon tea should be. The elegant art deco surroundings make afternoon tea a memorable occasion and an experience to cherish, aided by delightfully friendly, efficient and knowledgeable staff, and with delicious food and teas faultlessly presented.
“The standard of entrants this year was incredibly high and this was especially true in London, which has traditionally been the home of some of the finest afternoon tea experiences within many of the world's finest and most elegant hotels and establishments. In the capital as elsewhere in the UK, the tradition of afternoon tea has never been stronger, with Tea Guild members busier than ever. More and more people are taking time out to enjoy afternoon tea.
“Afternoon tea is the perfect way to catch up with friends, family or even business colleagues, celebrate a special occasion or enjoy a romantic date. Tea Guild member establishments all have a wide variety of teas to choose from, including favourites such as white and green tea as well as special blends that are often unique. Modern life can be very hectic and demanding and taking afternoon tea is the ideal way to slow down and relax, bringing huge emotional and wellbeing benefits.”
Claridge's General Manager, Thomas Kochs, said: “As a proud member of The Tea Guild we are delighted and honoured to receive this hugely prestigious award. All of the staff at Claridge's are passionate about creating a memorable guest experience and when it comes to serving the perfect afternoon tea, we strive to get every detail just right. Claridge's afternoon tea is a time-honoured indulgence, practiced by generations of tea lovers."