As it is August and traditionally a quieter time in the office, we made an exception and took up Damien’s very kind offer to come and experience the Berkeley London designer afternoon tea, Prêt-à-Portea. This was followed by a show round of Claridge’s. After all, we at DeSouza Associates are venue finding experts and have to experience every aspect of the venues we visit!So, we left the office promptly at 4pm and arrived at the Berkeley just in time for last orders for Tea for 4! A glass of champagne was had by some members of the team but not all! They state, and I quote, that the tea is inspired by the ‘themes and colours of the fashion world’ and we can certainly vouch for that. The menu is transformed every six months to follow the changing seasons in fashion so Damien we will have to resample it in the New Year and report back! The range of teas available were most interesting and Damien assisted us in experiencing the variety on offer by choosing the Caramel Indulgence for himself which some of us sampled and it was deceptively delicious. We ladies were more conservative and went for the Berkeley and English blends. The tea was a creative twist to the classic elements of the traditional English afternoon tea with cakes and pastries resembling the latest catwalk designs from designers including Oscar de la Renta, Alexander McQueen and Prada. The tea sandwiches were probably my favourite but in summary there was a mouth-watering selection of miniature savoury skewers, taster spoons and elegant canapés Following our Afternoon Tea we had to raise ourselves from our seats close to the Marcus Wareing Restaurant at the Berkeley, to do a show round of the Hotel. It was most useful to be reminded of the size of the Ballroom, with its grand windows, crystal chandeliers and high-mirrored ceilings. Recently refurbished and complete with a private entrance, this room can be used in conjunction with the adjoining Belgravia Room for a reception.
The Tattersalls Room (the room commemorates the famous blood stock auction house that once stood on the site of the Berkeley) remains a stylish room which has the benefit of an adjoining ante-room and has also been refurbished recently and is ideal for smaller meetings and private dinners.As one would expect, the designer bedrooms and suites at the Berkeley are individual and each has a chic yet timeless feel.
The rooftop open-air pool, which looked just exquisite on that lovely summer evening and offering glorious panoramic views over London’s skyline, is a serene oasis in the middle of Knightsbridge.
The treatments on offer are Bamford Haybarn products, rooted in a philosophy of using only organic and naturally sourced ingredients, energising for both the body and soul. From Knightsbridge we moved on to Mayfair and Claridge’s. We were met by the infamous General Manager and you definitely get the feeling that you know him personally, as a result of the television programme. I was particularly keen to be reminded of all the event rooms as we presently have a provisional hold on some meeting space for 2014 for a client. Fortunately, even though there was a private event in the Ballroom that evening, we were able to sneak in and see it, prior to the group entering the Ballroom for dinner. All the ground floor space, to include the Ballroom and Ballroom reception, Mirror Room, French Salon and Drawing Room work very well together for one event. The sixth floor suite of rooms had a completely different atmosphere to the ground floor space and would also work ideally for one event. We must, of course, also talk about some of the gorgeous and memorable eating and drinking establishments at Claridge’s such as the Foyer & Reading Room, Claridge’s Bar and the Fumoir. The latter is in the theme of the stylish Thirties and is tucked away behind a door adorned with an original 1930s Lalique panel! The bedrooms are, of course, glamorous yet comfortable rooms and suites (some of the biggest in London) and the suite which was used by the elderly couple on the TV programme, was just unbelievable in size and style. So the next time you need a 5 star venue in London, do get in touch with DeSouza Associates and we would be delighted to venue find for you.