I was trying to figure out why the view seemed familiar. Standing on the white-pillared terrace looking out across the gardens towards the polo tent in the distance, I knew I hadn’t been here before, so why did I recognise it? Then it hit me with a mixture of gratification and shame – I’d seen it on Made In Chelsea. I was standing where some of London’s finest toffs (you have to admit they are hysterical) had drunk champagne and watched the polo.
I don’t normally hang out in such illustrious places. We were at Coworth Park, Ascot – which is part of the Dorchester hotel group, and everything you might expect from that name. We were there for a 60th birthday afternoon tea and it couldn’t have been better. The service was exemplary – our servers were just the right amount of chatty when it was clear we were celebrating (for instance recommending cocktails) but were also very polite and attentive in an unobtrusive way.
We arrived early and as it was a warm sunny day, sat outside on the terrace enjoying a cocktail. When we were ready for afternoon tea we moved into the conservatory, which we had all to ourselves, even though we were not a large group (four people).
This was a very traditional afternoon tea, with some modern touches but it wasn’t trying for novelty like some places do. We began with a selection of finger sandwiches – they brought a separate platter for the vegetarian in our group – and then moved on to the scones, which were very tasty but quite small. Strangely I decided that the scones we had at Esseborne Manor – where afternoon tea was far cheaper – were actually nicer!
The cakes were delicious and again fairly traditional with a twist. There was a red velvet cake with cream and a square of some kind of compressed strawberry (I’m trying to remember now if this was actually a piece of white chocolate with strawberry on top); mini raspberry tarts; mini lemon drizzle cake and a chocolate and coffee torte with a chocolate-covered coffee bean on top. There was a huge selection of teas as well. The crockery is so pretty as well, what do you think?
Afternoon tea at Coworth Park is priced at £29 per person – which is less than you pay in central London, but this hotel was outstanding and definitely worth coming to. With a glass of champagne it’s £42.50 which is somewhat pricier, and the cocktails we had beforehand weren’t cheap (around the £10 mark each I think) but they were amazing. The hotel is so beautiful that I couldn’t resist picking up a wedding leaflet on the way out… well, a girl can dream!