In true speakeasy style, we had to knock on the door using a statement door knocker (a lion no less), to be granted entry. Once inside, we were amazed to discover the luxurious, intimate cocktail bar that was hidden within.
Seriously sexy and sophisticated, the bar used to be the luggage room of the hotel (hence the name), but it has since been revamped to take on a new lease of life as a gorgeous drinking den. Nods to the bar's earlier heritage are carried throughout the decor, including the luggage inspired wallpaper and the luggage trunks that house the low tea foodie treats.
Now we've all heard of afternoon tea and high tea, but if you're like me, you've never heard of low tea. The Duchess of Bedford is credited with having devised the concept of low tea to keep peckishness at bay, serving it as a replacement meal for lunch and helping to stave off the craving for dinner. Low tea was typically served from 1pm- 4pm and was something enjoyed by the upper classes, who used to serve low tea on their best china, with the savoury treats displayed on lower side tables - hence making it low tea. The middle and lower classes would have a more substantial 'high' tea later in the day, at five or six o'clock, instead of dinner on the dinner table, giving it the name high tea.
The food was fabulous and included a wide variety of savoury and sweet treats. Savoury highlights include smoked eel, horseradish and crème fraiche vol au vents, Devonshire wild boar sausage rolls and devilled Balmoral venison and Clarence Court Scotch egg, which had a lovely spiciness to it. Dessert highlights included a Tiptree Tawny Marmalade infused carrot cake, salted caramel meringues and our favourite - the Jam Jar Scone Trifle, which was incredibly fresh..
We started with a sophisticated Punch A La Romaine, a classic palate cleanser made from lemon sorbet, rhum agricole, and Champagne. Apparently, this cocktail was also served on the Titanic, but luckily, we were enjoying our drink safely on dry land! Nevertheless, we certainly felt as though we had been transported back to a more glamorous bygone era.
For our next cocktail, we had a daquiri made with the award-winning Plantation Rum, a smooth pineapple-infused rum that was both sweet and boozy. You definitely couldn't have too many of these if you were having a sensible afternoon!
This is a fabulous place to visit if you're looking for a 'wow-factor' afternoon tea that goes beyond boring finger sandwiches. We're already planning our next visit!
Our experience overall
Food and drink *****
Staff attentiveness/friendliness *****
The Luggage Room
London Marriott Hotel