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How to spend the perfect afternoon?

14th September 2009

Alex Fullerton recommends you book into one of these elegant venues and combine a pampering spa session with delicious afternoon tea.

The Dorchester, London

Leading the way in tea-time spa treats, The Dorchester's new Spatisserie is a genius idea. Providing guests with elegant extravagance, the tea salon offers bite-size cakes, biscuits and pastries without the need to leave the hotel's spa. Perfect for when you get peckish post-pedicure!

You'll be offered the same range of teas as in the Award of Excellence-winning tea salon, The Promenade, which include Cherry Blossom (Japanese green tea infused with wild cherry blossom), Silver Needles (a fruity white tea) and Victoria Beckham's alleged weight-loss favourite, Puerh. Lemon drizzle cake, blueberry cheesecake and chocolate fudge cake are just some of the mouth-watering options on the menu while the spa treatments are truly world class. Book in for a Flawless Facial (after almost two hours of intensive sculpting, lifting and hydrating you'll emerge radiant), Lavender Crush exfoliation and massage or a sensual Rose Cocoon wrap.

The Dorchester, Park Lane, London W1K 1QA. 020 7319 7109. www.thedorchester.com

 

The Lanesborough, London

Footloose and fancy tea? The Lanesborough's new beau-tea package sounds like the perfect way to while away an afternoon!

Picture of treatment room at the Lanesborough Hotel

Check into the hotel's intimate Spa Studio for an hour-long Pristine Pedicure. Promising

 to revitalize even the weariest feet the essential oils of peppermint and lemongrass will add a spring to your step. Choose a colour from nail supremo Leighton Denny's range for an immaculate paint job before venturing into Apsley's for tea.

If your mind has turned to mush after all that pampering, let the hotel's tea sommelier guide you through the 56 blends on the menu (we can recommend the fragrant Rare Doomur Dullung Estate White Assam) but whatever you choose, as a previous winner of The Tea Guild's Top London Tea award, you won't be disappointed!

The Lanesborough, Hyde Park Corner, London SW1X 7TA. 020 7259 5599. www.lanesborough.com

 

The Sheraton, Edinburgh

Whether you live locally or find yourself  north of the border this Autumn head to The Exchange at The Sheraton in Edinburgh. From October, tassophiles with a sweet tooth would be advised to book in for the hotel's Chocolate Afternoon Tea. Sweet treats will include a mini chocolate creme brulee, chocolate macaroon and sacher torte alongside chocolate scones with clotted cream and preserves. Those with more adventurous palettes could try the chocolate and garlic brioche with roast beef and horseradish then wash everything down with your choice of fine tea from the menu. Thoughtful touches include a tableside timer so guests know exactly when their brew is ready to drink!

After all that chocolate you might be in need of some time out so relaxing in the hotels' One Spa would be a great idea! The treatments are heavily influenced by the healing philosophies of the Far East and guests can choose from an extensive menu of treatments. Detoxifying body wraps with skin-conditioning marine mud and hydrating Oshadi clay and Ayurvedic-inspired four hand massages are just some of the options. You'll emerge rejuvenated and ready for another round of tea!

Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa, 1 Festival Square, Edinburgh EH3 9SR. 0131 229 9131. www.sheratonedinburgh.co.uk

 

The Park Restaurant at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London

This luxurious hotel is situated alongside one of London's busiest - and most fashionable - shopping streets, but step inside the spa and you'll enter a tranquil zone dedicated to pampering. Visitors are encouraged to book time slots - rather than specific treatments - and your therapist will fill the time with a treatment tailored to your specific needs. Your time could include a stimulating hip and thigh treatment (to work on cellulite-prone areas), a skin-softening Oriental salt scrub or Shiatsu-inspired ginger finger pressure massage.

Book in for the Tea and Therapy package and the hotel will treat to you and a friend to two 1 1/2hr time slots - followed by delicious afternoon tea for you both. As well as the dedicated 90minute treatment you can spend time in the sanarium (a humid take on the traditional sauna), dip into the vitality pool (be doused with hydrotherapy body jets to soothe tired muscles) or simply relax in the steam room before readying yourself for the main event: Tea! Coffee éclairs and melt in the mouth raspberry and lemon verbena macaroons will all be there to tempt you...

Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, 66 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7LA. 020 7235 2000. www.mandarinoriental.com

 

Ashdown Park Hotel, East Sussex

The elegant environs of this hotel offer the perfect spot to indulge in our favourite pastime - taking afternoon tea - but why not combine the decadent dining treat with treatments in the hotel's Spa? You'll make it a day to remember... The hotel offers guests packages (Ultimate Relax and Ultimate Indulgence) which include an overnight stay and breakfast, spa treatments, dinner in the award-winning restaurant and The Tea Guild's Award of Excellence-winning afternoon tea (served in the hotel's plush drawing rooms). But you can also book beauty treatments a la carte...Check into the spa for a bespoke facial from Parisian-based skincare brand Matis or a decadent body treat. La Stone therapy uses warmed volcanic rocks and cool marble stones to massage your body, drawing away tension. Bliss. Afterwards, indulge in Ashdown Park's afternoon tea. The sandwiches and cakes on the menu are made from locally sourced ingredients, where possible. We're particularly partial to the scones, slathered in clotted cream and jam.

Wych Cross, Nr Forest Row, East Sussex RH18 5JR. 01342 824988. www.ashdownpark.com

 

The Old Course Hotel, St Andrews

For that oh so perfect day in St Andrews - enjoy a round of golf on the world famous golf course, relax afterwards in the Kohler Waters Spa and then indulge in a mouth-watering afternoon tea in The Conservatory. Sheer bliss!

Spending time in the Spa will relax your body with minimum exertion - the Signature treatments are based on hydrotherapy and theolasstherapy and use mineral-rich waters to restore. Guests can unwind in the rooftop hot tub, take a dip under the swimming pool's waterfall or plunge pool or heat up in the Japanese steam room and sauna. Exclusive to the hotel, the Highland Fling body treatment is inspired by Scottish dance. With coffee-granule exfoliation, mint oil and chocolate body butter moisturizer mixed with warm water drenches and Vichy shower streams, you're bound to work up an appetite.


If that's the case, head to the charming Conservatory for tea. The chef's selection of finger sandwiches and savouries, home made plain and fruit scones, lemon pancakes with clotted cream and strawberry and pink champagne preserve are followed by delicate pastries and cakes! Scrumptious! Choose a tea from the extensive tea menu, which includes rare White Silver Tip, Oolong and Jasmine Silver Tip blends to round off an afternoon of absolute luxury.

The Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa, St Andrews, Kingdom of Fife, Scotland KY16 9SP. 01334 474 371. www.oldcoursehotel.kohler.com

 

Pennyhill Park Hotel and Spa, Surrey

The best way to unwind after a busy week is by taking time out to enjoy afternoon tea - or by booking in for a spa treatment. Mix the two together and you're in heaven! At Pennyhill Park guests can enjoy a tasty afternoon tea with all the trimmings and then head off to the spa for an afternoon of relaxation - including a pampering 45 minute treatment - in the hotel's clever combination package.

After indulging in cakes and pastries (which include coconut and pineapple teacakes and salted caramel millefeuille) we'd love to chill out with a Mari Jina foot treatment - which promises to bring overworked or active feet back to life with a serene foot soak, polishing desert salt rub, refreshing mineral mask, smoothing moisturization and sensory foot massage. Guests are then free to simply relax in one of the spa's eight pools and hot tubs, steam rooms, herbal saunas or ice cave.

The Spa at Pennyhill Park, London Road, Bagshot, Surrey, GU19 5EU. 01276 486100. www.exclusivehotels.co.uk

 

The Palm Court at The Balmoral, Edinburgh

Luxury facials, body polishes, waxing and age-defying hair treatments are all available at this grand Scottish hotel. Once you've been primped to perfection treat yourself and head to the Award winning Palm Court for afternoon tea. A wide variety of sandwiches (salmon, cucumber and crème fraiche; honey roast ham; vine tomato, basil and brie and Scottish beef and red onion marmalade) and scones (including fruit, heather honey and chocolate versions) are served with shortbread from Balmoral, delicious Dundee Cake and tasty teas.

The Balmoral, 1 Princes Street, Edinburgh EH2 2EQ. 0131 556 2414. www.thebalmoralhotel.com

 

Sofitel London St James, London

Bringing a little je ne sais quoi to the capital, Sofitel's afternoon tea is a mix of traditional English elegance with continental chic. The hotel's signature Le Tea en Rose includes seasonally flavoured finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones served with clotted cream and rose-scented raspberry jam along with your choice of miniature French pastries. Teas are all described in great detail on the tea menu and include 'thirst-quenching' White Peony, 'velvet textured' Jasmine Pearl and 'peachy' Flowering Osmanthus.Then, over thethree floors of the hotel's rejuvenating So SPA day spa, guests can revel in blissful beauty treatments to pamper and re-energize. If you're not sure what treatment to choose the resident spa butler will guide your choice from the witty treatment menu. Inspired by the restaurant experience, the menu is divided into 'starters', 'mains', 'desserts' and 'specials' which include signature delights such as the 'So Exhilarating' massage, exclusive to the hotel. Guests are served a special tea in the spa's deep relax lounge and you'll also be encouraged to take away a bath 'tea' - an infusion for your tub - so you can relive your luxurious spa time at home.

Sofitel London St James, 6 Waterloo Place, London SW1Y 4AN. 020 7747 2222. www.sofitelstjames.com

 

The English Tea Room at Brown’s Hotel, London

As the winner of The Tea Guild's Top London Award, Brown's English Tea Room offers the best afternoon tea experience in London. During October they're helping out an incredible charity too. The Rosy Toes and Rose Champagne Afternoon Tea is the ultimate way to simultaneously unwind and donate to charity - the toe treatment and tea is in aid of Breast Cancer Awareness month.

You'll start by being pampered with a pedicure in the hotel's spa. Lie back on a heated treatment bed, sip a martini and let the therapist massage your feet with soothing rose oil. Next? Your tootsies will be exfoliated with brown sugar and soaked in rose-oil infused water before being moisturized and your nails immaculately painted. After your feet have been fancified, head into The English Tea Room for a glass of rose champagne and your choice of tea from 17 delicious varieties on the menu. Scrumptious sandwiches, scones and cakes will ensure you leave fully satiated.

Brown’s Hotel, Albemarle Street, Mayfair, London, W1S 4BP. 020 7493 6020. www.roccofortecollection.com

 

The Quarterdeck at The Nare Hotel, Cornwall

If you're planning a retreat at this chic Cornish hotel make sure you set aside at least an afternoon for tea and treatments in the Carne Bay Spa! Book an Escape Day, where you'll be free to dip in and out of the hotel's pools and sauna then take your pick from the extensive menu of sybaritic spa treatments. When all that beautifying gets too much slip away to The Quarterdeck restaurant for an equally indulgent afternoon tea - treats on the menu include local crab, lobster and beef along with Cornish clotted cream to spread on your scones.

Using the renowned Dermalogica range of skincare, spa treatments include a Soothing Essential Oil massage, Stress-busting back, neck and shoulder massage (incorporating reflexology) and deeply therapeutic LaStone therapy.

The Nare Hotel, Veryon, Near Truro, Cornwall TR2 5PF. 01872 501111. www.narehotel.co.uk

 

Swinton Park, North Yorkshire

This classic country house hotel invites you for An Afternoon Indulgence where beau-tea fans can revel in full afternoon tea (where scones are served wth preserves made in the next village) and an hour's treatment in the spa.

Tea is served in the plush drawing room while spa treatments take place in serene and discreet therapy rooms. Mixing results-based beauty with frivolous indulgence, guests can choose from a range of facials including Action Sublime, which promises to reduce wrinkles, while the Lushly-Polynesian Rituals Hand or Feet treatment is a decadent way to hydrate and restore suppleness to tired extremities. There's a dedicated Man Space too, where guys can be pampered with a Sportman's Massage, Hydra Performance facial or purifying back scrub.

Swinton Park, Ripon, Masham, North Yorkshire HG4 4JH. 01765 680900. www.swintonpark.com

 

The Ritz, London

Think tea and the Ritz is likely to come to mind - as a bastion of lavish post-lunch gastronomy the hotel is internationally renowned for its Award of Excellence-winning afternoon tea. Accompanied by the dulcet tones of their resident pianist, Ian Gomes, The Ritz's full tea includes a tempting array of tidbits... Starting, as always, with sandwiches (including smoked salmon, chicken, cucumber, Cheddar cheese and egg mayonnaise and cress) you'll move on to freshly baked raisin and apple scones (served with clotted cream and strawberry preserve). Next, an assortment of afternoon tea pastries are followed by The Ritz's chocolate cake.

But it's with the tea menu where things get tricky... which variety to choose?! Popular choices include large leafed Earl Grey, full-bodied Assam from Northern India, a silkily smoked Lapsang Souchong and Chun Mee (a refreshing unfermented green tea) but the myriad of options could prove troublesome for the indecisive!

Accordingly, The Ritz Hair and Beauty Salon is equally as elegant as the gilded tea salon. The Aromatherapy Associates products used in treatments will be chosen for your specific needs, whether you need a vibrant pick-me up or something more soothing. Men can book the salon's Centenary Shave - a luxury hot towel treatment tailored to masculine skin, while the Balance Urban Facial is ideal for combination skin, both male and female. Using the naturally antiseptic properties of lavender and tea-tree the facial ensures your complexion will be conditioned and deep-cleaned before you step back out onto Piccadilly.

The Ritz, 150 Piccadilly, London W1J 9BR . 020 7493 8181. www.theritzlondon.com


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