Matthew Steeples takes tea in the delightful courtyard garden at Blakes Hotel in South Kensington, London
Blakes Hotel is synonymous with the now much overused description “boutique hotel” and is generally considered the world’s first. It opened in 1978, is a destination that is popular with the likes of Seal and Sharon Stone and was also the place The Steeple Times chose to launch exactly five years ago in June 2012.
Aside from moving the restaurant of this enchanting South Kensington palace of opulence to the building’s ground floor last year, the hotel’s rear courtyard was transformed by designer Matthew Williamson in mid-2016. Featuring bright colours and such things as a prancing zebra, I recently enjoyed tea there in the summer heat with my friend Ekaterina Fields. I was charmed by not only the most attentive of staff but also the finest small-batch teas by a firm named Lalani & Co.
Available for £12.75 and each paired with éclairs by Maître Choux, Blakes have curated four teas that will take you on a journey through Kyoto, Megalaya and Nepal. They range from the fruity to the chocolaty in taste and accompanied by a glass of prosecco or gin and tonic, one is left asking: “What could be better on a balmy June afternoon?”
Blakes Hotel, 33 Roland Gardens, London SW7 3PF. Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7370 6701.