“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”
Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady
Last weekend I had a rather enjoyable stay in the Royal York Hotel
Regarding the hotel room and facilities, I thought generally the standard was good. The impressive hotel building is located by York Railway Station, allowing for easy transport to the city and access to the city centre.
Whilst the building is indeed grand, the interior seems slightly faded and in need of a deep clean. This is a shame because it does let down the experience somewhat - the staff provide four star service, just not in a four star environment.
We had a clean and presentable superior double with views out over the city and York Minster. My only niggle was that the room seemed exceedingly hot, even when we turned off the heating, as heat seemed to be radiating from the interior pipes. This did make our stay slightly uncomfortable, especially as I'm a lover of a warm duvet combined with a cold room...
After a somewhat disturbed nights sleep, we were very much looking forward to afternoon tea, which we had booked for 3pm in the hotel's Tempus Restaurant.
We made the daring move to have coffee instead of tea, (these modern sensibilities eh...) which was actually surprisingly good and lacking in the usual bulk brewed bitterness you get in large hotels. I would have preferred warm milk to the standard cold jug we were given. To be fair, I didn't ask for warm and I suspect I would have got it if I had.
The sandwiches were well filled and on soft bread, the egg filling was particularly nice, as it was fluffy and full of flavour.
Regarding the cakes, we both felt the fruit tart and cream filled pastry were nicely presented and filled. The scone was the only letdown for me, as it did not seem freshly baked and was filled with whipped cream, rather than the clotted variety. There was also a lack of jam, so much so that it seemed non-existent.
York has a lot of variety and choice when it comes to this very important meal, with Bettys setting a very high standard just down the road. I like to think, after being in York for four years, that I am well versed in the finger sandwich and miniature cake department.
Whilst I enjoyed my experience at the Royal York, would I go back specifically for afternoon tea? Probably not, the standard in the city is high and I feel there are better places very nearby. Though as part of our overall stay, it was a lovely end note which augmented the experience nicely.
Disclaimer: I was not paid or reimbursed in any way for this review. In any review that I undertake, paid or not, my opinions are always honest.