The Hampshire Hotel, Leicester Square

December 7, 2011

The Hampshire Hotel

Leicester Square,

London,

WC2H 7LH,

0207 839 9399

reshamp@radisson.com

A view of the Radisson Edwardian Hampshire Hotel, occupying the south-eastern corner of London's Leicester square

The Hampshire Hotel: Looks nice on the outside

Going up to London for a bout of Christmas shopping recently, we were stuck for somewhere for tea at very short notice. Many of our usual haunts were all booked up, and – looking for somewhere central – we stumbled upon the Hampshire Hotel, which occupies the South Eastern corner of Leicester square.

The building itself, with its redbrick facade and Oriel windows is very inviting, and we were ushered in with delightful obsequiousness by a footman in full livery. Alas by contrast, the interior is rather drab and impersonal – perhaps more suited to a middle-management business reception than an impromptu tea with friends. As part of the Radisson hotel group, the Hampshire prides itself on “contemporary elegance”. Purposeful flowers in striking vases, generic modern artwork and uncomfortable high-energy furniture are all par for the course.

Considering how empty it was, the service was leisurely to the point of being tedious. The tea arrived (bags, of course, not leaf) in chunky white china and the cakes, scones and petit fours on an ostentatious three tier stand. The quality was overall acceptable but we were disappointed by the freshness (or otherwise) of the sandwiches and the dry, chalky meringues.

Only the bill managed to surprise us. At £17 for two this represents fairly good value against some of London’s more celebrated establishments but the fact remains, we’d rather have tea at the Savoy once than twice here.

Verdict: 2.5 pots/5

For more London tearooms visit www.noveltea.co.uk/2London.html

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