Sunday, March 31, 2013

High Class- High Tea at The Savoy Hotel- London, England

In order to fully appreciate the stiffness for which the Brits are hailed worldwide, one must look no further than the experience of High Tea at the newly remodelled, opulent, Savoy Hotel in London, where, as fate would have it, my new highly-placed friend, Sir James Phillips, using his plethora of connections, managed to make us a reservation, in effort for me to gain a glimpse into British “high society,” which coincidentally, is the name of the magazine my hotel clerk is thumbing through as I exit.

Now, I don’t want the Brits to believe they have a monopoly on class, so I imitate the classiest American icon I know- Mr. Peanut. 
Mr. Peanut- he might not have  European class, but  he's the best America has to offer
I walk out of my hotel with my top-hat, cane, and monocle and hurriedly stroll down the foggy, cold British street, until I’m confronted by soccer hooligans who promptly mug me for my accessories (not classy at all!!) ... Maybe they want to look in top-form for their next drunken brawl.

The Tea Room
I’ve anticipated the day like a bride does her wedding, and arrive at the Savoy early. Of course, I’m outdone by Sir James and his wife Abigail, who are already seated, patiently waiting for me, “Delighted to have you,” they greet me as I sit down, politely nodding my head back at them.
I survey the room, which is simply exquisite- from the chandeliers, to the fresh flowers, to the grand piano in the center, it reeks of class. The only curious choices I note is the artwork featuring iconic American film stars from yesteryear; Carry Grant, Marilyn Monroe, Humphrey Bogart ... Using my Einstein like mind, I interpret this as a nod of respect, an acknowledgement from the Brits that we kicked their butts in a couple of wars, an added touch of class, that would make even Mr. Peanut proud.
check out the surroundings of the tea room @ Savoy Hotel, London
Tea
Of course, class does come with a price- to experience High Tea at the Savoy costs $75 per person. So what does one get for this dip into the wallet? Lo and behold- tea; from oolong (the Queen’s personal favorite) to jasmine, to red currant (which is what I ordered for those of you keeping score at home)


Sir James Phillips explains tea drinking etiquette in this video

Tea is accompanied by a round of scones and finger sandwiches.

scone etiquette video

Now, don’t let the term “finger sandwiches” fool you. As you will discover from the video below, that’s just a name. In proper society, these sandwiches are to be cut into small squares, not more than one inch per side, and eaten with your silevrware.

Watch as I become an embarrassment for Americans around the world. Finger sandwiches, this one is pretty funny

Dessert
Now, British tea traditionally is accompanied by sweets, and the Savoy is no exception; truly delectable pastries followed by a variety of cakes, positively scrumptious morsels, and the only immediate limitation on consumption is sudden onset diabetes. A bevy of choices, ranging from "Fake Wedding Cake" (the Savoy tried to replicate the cake from William and Kate's wedding) to small cream filled ├ęclairs. 
Perhaps we should take the influence of France in the Savoy, from the pastries offered to our French waiter (highly unexpected,) as a sign of the world becoming more harmonious ... personally however, I see it as a sign of just how much the British Empire has declined.

The Russian Mob Infiltrates
Now, it should be noted, the Savoy has a strict dress code as to what must be worn to High Tea. As I am without a doubt one of the biggest stickler for rules and propriety on the planet, I wasn't about to let a tattooed, skin headed, T-shirt, sneaker wearing man, one I clearly identified as Russian mob, so brazenly flout English conventions!
Immediately, at risk of personal harm to myself, I called a waiter over and urgently urged him to deal with the  scoff-law. 
Getting the Russian mob booted from High Tea @ The Savoy

As he was escorted out, I received a standing ovation from the other patrons. Talk about something to put on my soon to be written headstone. 

Who's Superior
All in all I had a wonderful time in the several hours I spent at the Savoy conversing with Sir James and Abigail, the jokes just kept being fired back and forth, but after lobbing several unprovoked cultural grenades in James's direction, I finally had atone for my boorish behavior by admitting, once and for all, when it comes to manners, the British are vastly superior to their American cousins, even if we did save their ass in World War II. 

And in our final video, I finally have to admit, when it comes to manners, the British are far superior to Americans

Should You Go?
If you are in London, and want to experience a fine piece of British culture then by all means visit the Savoy for tea, and in a place where image, manners, and your company mean everything, make sure class it up; go with Mr. Peanut. 

2 comments:

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    1. Jeez, I didn;t mean to remove the last comment. My bad, wish I could get it back. Sorry Dave D. Glad I could reinforce stereotypes though :)

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