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7th April 2011
One of the best places in the UK to enjoy afternoon tea has been named as The Angel Hotel in Wales. This charming Georgian hotel has achieved the highest accolade of the tea world by winning The Tea Guild's prestigious Top City and Country Hotel Tea Award 2011.
A former Georgian coaching inn, The Angel Hotel in Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, scooped the top award after impressing The Tea Guild judges with its quality of service, food and tea.
This Tea Guild event, now in its 26th year, is considered the 'Oscar' of the tea world, with the best tea rooms in the UK competing for the hugely coveted honour. The UK Tea Council has also awarded 12 special Awards of Excellence to: Ashdown Park Hotel (Wych Cross, East Sussex), Bingham (Richmond, Surrey), Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire (Dogmersfield, Hampshire), Pennyhill Park Hotel & Spa (Bagshot, Surrey), Swinton Park (Swinton Park, Masham, Ripon), St Tudno Hotel (Llandudno, Wales), Turnberry Resort (The Grand Tea Lounge, Ayrshire), The Balmoral Hotel (Edinburgh), The Black Swan Hotel (Helmsley, North Yorkshire), The Lowry (Salford, Manchester), The Manor House Hotel (Castle Combe, Wiltshire), and The Montagu Arms Hotel (Beaulieu, Hampshire) in recognition of their outstanding quality and consistently high standards in tea service.
As well as researching and judging The Top Tea Place 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 London Afternoon 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.
The Angel Hotel was voted into the top spot after it gained a near perfect score from The Tea Guild's inspectors. The judges praised it for its smart and elegant surroundings, attentive and efficient service and tasty sandwiches, cakes and scones. The judges were also very impressed by the choice of teas on offer and the quality of tea served. The judges concluded that "it was a smooth operation from start to finish. Everyone was made to feel special."
Commenting on The Angel Hotel winning The Tea Guild's Top City and Country Hotel Award 2011, Irene Gorman, Head of The Tea Guild, said: "The Angel Hotel was a delight to visit for tea. The Hotel offers an excellent range of teas with an extensive variety, served with perfection by dedicated staff who are happy to advise on the choice of teas available, all of which are described well in the informative and tempting menu. Flavoursome sandwiches, wonderful scones and truly delicious cakes and pastries, created and made in house by Tearoom Manager and superb Baker, Sally Lane, surpassed all expectations.
"The Top City and Country Hotel is a new category awarded for the first time in 2010 and which enables The Tea Guild to recognise and highlight the amazing Country Hotels where tea is very much apart of British tradition. The Angel Hotel was favoured by the judges for its delightful surroundings, excellent staff offering warm and friendly service, extensive knowledge of teas, and really scrumptious food.
"The standard of entrants this year was incredibly high, with some excellent entries from across the UK. The tradition of afternoon tea has never been stronger, with Tea Guild members busier than ever. More and more people, of all ages, are taking time out to enjoy afternoon tea and in current difficult times economically this is widely regarded as an affordable treat to look forward to and thoroughly enjoy.
"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 perfect way to slow down and relax, bringing huge emotional and wellbeing benefits."
William Griffiths, Owner and General Manager of The Angel Hotel said: "It's a fantastic honour for us to win this award and we are absolutely thrilled. The Angel Hotel are proud to be members of The Tea Guild and we place the highest value on the choice and quality of the tea we serve. Our customers demand the very best and we strive at all times to fulfil their expectations. It's a real team effort here and all our staff work tirelessly to create somewhere special, where the quality of food, relaxing atmosphere and the very best standards are paramount."
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