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The afternoon tea has long been a quintessentially British tradition, but London’s finest restaurants are increasingly experimenting with their own bespoke twist of the classic. The Great Scotland Yard Hotel is no exception and has elevated this experience to a new level.

West Indies-inspired lounge The Parlour offers a “distinctly different” afternoon tea inspired by the British Heritage perfume brand Floris. The perfumery has a long history of crafting fragrances that evoke emotions and commemorate significant moments, and it has been a proud supplier to the Royal Household since 1800.

Multi-sensory experience

Created by the hotel’s head pastry chef Veronica Garrido Martinez, this unique multi-sensory ceremony allows guests to explore exclusive scents whilst enjoying the flavoursome, romantic high tea. The fragrance and the menu change several times over the year depending on the season and occasion so it is quite unlike anything you have ever tried before.

For example, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of James Bond, the hotel crafted a tea ceremony infused with notes of Floris No.89, a favourite scent of Ian Fleming, writer and creator of the agent 007. Fleming was a Floris regular customer and featured the brand’s products in his 1955 novel, Moonraker. On Valentine’s Day, The Parlour served afternoon tea tailored to Floris Santal with notes of Bergamot and Cardamom.

Fragrant fusion

We indulged in the exquisite fusion of taste and smell with Spring Afternoon Tea enhanced by Lily, one of their most popular Floris perfumes during this season. Drawing inspiration from Lily of The Valley, the menu features a range of exquisite dishes such as Egg Truffle Mayo and Chives on Pain de Mie, Courgette, Rocket and Lemon Quiche, and Caramelised Jerusalem Artichoke and Montgomery Cheddar Yorkshire Pudding.

We were also treated with freshly baked scones served with Cornish clotted cream and rhubarb and rose jam. For dog lovers, every Sunday you can take your four-legged friend to The Parlour, but we doubt you would want to share your sweet and savoury delights even with the most adorable furry companion.

Incarceration to indulgence

The Great Scotland Yard Hotel opened in 2019 and was the first property in the UK to be part of Hyatt’s Unbound Collection which includes only hotels with a distinct narrative.

A famous London address was reborn and repurposed for luxury hospitality. The £75m full-scale renovation took over 3 years to complete but breathed new life into the 1820’s Grade II listed building which served as the headquarters for the Metropolitan police from 1829 to 1890.

At a time it was the first dedicated space for London’s detective department, where high-profile prisoners were held and infamous cases were investigated including the Jack the Ripper case of 1888. By the way, did you know that Lewis Carroll was one of the many suspects? That’s why there is an Alice and Wonderland-inspired clock hanging above the entrance.

Arresting elegance

Once the historical home of law and order in the City of Westminster, the hotel has also served as inspiration for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Charles Dickens’ novels. It’s also been a dwelling for Kings of Scotland, and is the site where Lord Kitchener famously told World War I recruits ‘Your Country Needs You.’ Every aspect of the hotel pays homage to this extraordinary past. For instance, how often do you see bespoke toilet cisterns?

Art consultant Sarah Percy-Davis curated more than 600 specially commissioned paintings and artifacts across the property along with memorabilia. Mugshots of past inhabitants adorn the walls and staff wear vintage prison stripes. A collection of powerful pieces by prisoners taking part in the Koestler Arts rehabilitation programme hangs in the lobby and The 40 Elephants cocktail bar captures the spirit of its namesake 19th-century all-female shoplifting syndicate from Elephant & Castle with a glass chandelier representing the shattered windows of its countless smash-and-grab schemes.

The menu lists items with a criminal-linked past such as the chocolate knuckleduster dessert. It also has a cabinet of curiosities filled with loot stolen by the gang and a speakeasy bar Sibín behind a secret door, inspired by the illicit bars that originated in Ireland. So maybe Dick Tracy was wrong when he uttered those immortal words: “Crime does not pay.”

Floris Afternoon Tea is served daily between 12pm and 8.30pm. Dog Afternoon Tea takes place at The Parlour every Sunday. More information can be found here.


Image credits: © The Great Scotland Yard Hotel