Well, I say! what a wonderful start to the festive season, as I hosted a glittering ‘soiree’ at the one and only – The Ritz London, Piccadilly! Where I dined and caroused my delightful compeers with the Christmas themed afternoon tea – famously known as ‘Tea at the Ritz’ - Oh, isn't Miss Windsor so generous!
Darlings, before I tell you all about my festive afternoon tea experience, which includes an unfortunate misadventure of being incarcerated inside a beautifully decorated toilet cubical! I wish to fortify your mind with fascinating and historical facts about The Ritz London.
The Ritz London, created by the Swiss hotelier – Cesar Ritz, swung open its doors on the 24th May 1906. This stupendous Grade II listed building was built in the Franco-American style, and oozes the traditional architecture of Paris – Ooh, la, la!
Also, it’s luxurious and ‘ritzy’ interior was designed in the Louis XVI style, and no doubt satisfied the extravagant taste of London’s high society and beyond, thus being hailed as one of the world’s most magnificent and best-known hotels.
This world-renown hotel was a favourite haunt for patrons such as The Prince of Wales (future King Edward VII) who quoted, “Where Ritz goes, I go!”. Also, Hollywood star Charlie Chaplin, Winston Churchill, English playwright Sir Noel Coward, who wrote Children of The Ritz – at The Ritz London! Jackie Onassis, Sir Roger Moore, HM Queen Elizabeth II – Oh, and her royal counterpart – Miss Windsor!
Now darlings, due to my party arriving a touch early, I headed straight for The Rivoli Bar (cocktail lounge) for a pre-afternoon tea drinkie, where I thoroughly enjoyed a cocktail – the decadent – 1906! Indeed, this served as the perfect foundation for Miss Windsor’s champagne lavished afternoon tea!
Moving onto the Palm Court - an extremely grand room luxuriously decorated in the Louis XVI style. Mirrored panels, gold gilding and a dash of blush pink bedeck the walls and ceiling. Marble columns welcome you to be seated, and at this time of year they’re dazzling with red and gold decorations, plus the added curiosity of garlands made from Royal Worcester bone china cups and saucers!
Now feeling rather peckish and a smitch thirsty, I ordered the afternoon tea goodies including a pot of The Ritz Christmas Spice Tea. Oh, plus a couple of flutes of Reserve Ritz Champagne Barons De Rothschild – only the best will do for Miss Windsor!
The champagne arrived promptly, soon followed by the tea, along with the expected paraphernalia which one presumes was made of REAL silver! Darlings, what a frightfully traumatic experience it would’ve turned out to be if Miss Windsor once again faced her ‘aversion’ to stainless steel!
I was thrilled when our afternoon tea pageantry arrived - tiers of sandwiches and cakes presented on a silver stand graced the Royal Worchester plates. The scones, strawberry jam and clotted cream appeared soon after. And I must admit my favourite finger sandwich was the ham with grain mustard mayonnaise on sliced brioche – heaven on earth!
Then between alternate sips of tea and champagne, whilst listening to the harmonious choir serenade us with Christmas classics, I managed to devour two freshly baked, ‘dove-feather’ soft scones – one of which was a rather fruity sort! Both slathered with a thick, velvety layer of Rodda’s Cornish clotted cream, followed by a generous dollop of Tiptree strawberry jam – How decadent!
However, Miss Windsor was bitterly disappointed with her slice of Christmas Cake. It was dry, crumbly and tasted a tad gingery, yet it lacked the warm and festive flavour of mixed spice; oh and thank goodness there were no plastic-like glace cherries in sight! Instead, one expected to nibble on succulent pieces of sultanas, raisins and currants, but sadly these seldom made an appearance in this darling festive classic.
Darlings, now feeling stuffed like a ‘turkey’! I galloped along to the entrance of the ladies powder room (translation: restroom!) and clung onto the brass railings as I hurried down the red-carpeted stairs.
There I appeared in a glamorous seating area tastefully decorated with baby doll pink wooden panelled walls, plus the added charm of pink marble-topped tables and basins. Also, a ‘Thulian' pink, silk covered sofa sat perfectly perched in front of a hand-painted mural of a water-themed Grecian paradise.
So, I quickly flew into the nearest cubical and ‘powdered my nose’ – of course! Once perfectly powdered I tried to open the door, but to my surprise it wouldn’t open. On closer inspection, I realised a couple of screws were hanging from the door handle!
Darlings, Miss Windsor is known to carry many things in her handbag, but not the likes of a ‘screwdriver’! Now, consumed with panic I wished to be liberated, therefore, I reached for my trusty mobile phone and attempted to call reception, but there was no signal – Eek!
By this time, I had a vision of spending the night incarcerated in my very own ‘suite’ at The Ritz London, albeit it was a beautifully decorated toilet cubical! Now eager to return to my party there was one more option left, and with a clenched fist I forcefully banged the door and shouted, “Hello, hello – anyone there?”. Eventually, after a few minutes of intense banging a fellow patron came to my rescue, and like a miracle the door flung open – Phew!
Indeed, I reported my unexpected sufferance to the reception, and was immediately showered with a profusion of apologies. Nevertheless, Miss Windsor had a wonderful time at The Ritz London, and shall certainly return soon to plough my way through the cocktail menu – starting with the Iron Lady!
Please click on the image below, for Miss Windsor’s spiffing article about Christmas Afternoon Tea at The Ritz, London!
Cheerio for now,