Chris Maclean: how to charge £30 for tea and cakes

By Chris Maclean

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Tea Hotel

I have just come back from tea at The Ritz. Wow. That sounded so good I am going to write it again. I have just come back from tea at The Ritz.I...

I have just come back from tea at The Ritz. Wow. That sounded so good I am going to write it again.

I have just come back from tea at The Ritz.

I don't normally move in such exotic circles but today is my sister-in-law's birthday and she wanted to have tea at The Ritz.

We went up on the train and, at the station, I let her instruct the taxi driver "to The Ritz Hotel, please".

Now before I get too smug about it I have to make a fairly careful judgement here. We are talking a pot of tea, some sandwiches and cakes for thirty pounds a person.

That is thirty quid for tea and cakes. Crikey.

But it is delivered with such incredible style. Every bit of The Ritz has been carefully thought out from the moment you arrive. Uniformed doormen open doors. The carpets. The mirrors. The lavatories.

The flower displays were stunning. Not a daffodil in sight, but enormous displays of lilies, cherry blossom and amaryllis.

The staff were in tail coats and wing collars. Spoke politely and quietly. They were rightly proud and had dignity.

The leaf tea was delicious from a choice of about eight. The sandwiches were crustless and perfect. Scones with cream and jam and small cakes full of flavour.

And in the background a pianist gently played tunes to drink tea to.

There was not a spot of dirt anywhere. I looked long and hard. The brass work shone. Not a finger mark on any of the glass or mirrors. I was tempted to make one but suspected there would be an alarm call and a host of cleaners would quietly deal with it.

I tried to find fault but I couldn't.

Then you do the mathematics. One hundred people, four times a day, seven days a week, at thirty quid a head. That is a lot of money for tea and cakes. Much as I aspire to those heady standards, and the ability to charge a premium price to reflect it, I know my achievements are more modest. And I doubt I could command it here. It isn't, excuse the pun, everyone's cup of tea.

Still it is nice to tick off Tea at The Ritz as something on the 'must do' list and it was a pleasure to hear my sister-in-law say "to The Ritz Hotel, please". Money well spent. It shows that good standards are worth reaching for.

And it is "scone" as in "loan", rather than "scone" as in "gone", if you want to sound posh.

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