I like the mock chateau design of the Grand Heritage hotel, the gardens and ground are really pretty and the lobby area although small is nicely furnished with a beautiful display of lilies. We had booked afternoon tea in the Victoria Tea Room which is located just off the lobby and is decorated in dark paneled wood and luxury fabrics based on a library or reading room.
When I rung to reserve a table for two I was told I needed to pre order as the food would take a long time to prepare, the choice was English or Arabic afternoon tea and we both opted for English. I was also advised the whole room is smoking with no nonsmoking section, which wasn’t a problem on the day as there were only us and one other table occupied, but I imagine if it was full and everyone was smoking it would be unpleasant as it’s quite a small space. I was also asked 4 times if I had a voucher so there must be a promotion on (I didn’t have a voucher)
We were given a large selection of tea to choose from with suggested brewing time and temperatures, I decided on good old fashioned Big Ben -English breakfast and Rachel went with Chamomile. I thought the choice of tea pot and cup was a bit out of place as they were both clear and very modern which didn’t seem to fit in with the design of the afternoon tea other items or the surroundings! After placing the tea order our 3 tiered savory and sweet snacks arrived. It would have been nice at this point to have explained what each item was but they were just placed in front of us so it was a bit of a guessing game. The sandwiches were very fresh and all on different types of bread, fillings consisted of salmon, roast beef, smoked chicken, roasted vegetable and my favorite – mozzarella and tomato with pesto. At this point we both decided we needed another pot of tea so we ordered the same again as we thought it was unlimited and as the tea is freshly brewed you can’t just ask for hot water!
Moving on to sweets I thought the scones on the middle tier were nice and fresh but would have been better served with strawberry jam rather than apricot preserve, there was also a coconut cake and a cinnamon bun. The final tier was sponge cakes and mousse. By this point we were getting a bit full so the bottom tier remained almost untouched, I asked for it to be boxed up.
Overall the surroundings were lovely, it was quiet and we had a good chat and never felt rushed, the service was efficient and unobtrusive, the quality of the food was good but was let down by lack of explanation of each item. When the bill arrived we had been charged for an extra pot of tea each bringing the bill to just over 400QR for both of us which I felt that this was quite expensive and although I had a nice time and left on a sugar high it really would have been better to have had a voucher!