St Ermin’s Hotel was given a drop-dead gorgeous makeover back in the day by a Victorian theatre designer, and it has lost none of its dramatic impact following a 2011 refurb – the rich plasterwork now set off by witty design touches, bold fabrics and strong colours. Take tea in the atmospheric, book-lined Library: choose either the ‘classic’ (£25) or the ‘honey’ afternoon tea (£29) – the latter a sweet-toothed celebration of the hotel’s rooftop hives in the form of goats’ cheese and honey mille-feuilles, honey Bakewell tarts etc (£2 from every one sold goes to beekeepers’ associations). Both teas include mini sandwiches and freshly baked scones. Serious-minded business guests can stick to the loose-leaf stuff (by Jing, the thinking person’s tea house) as an accompaniment, while those there for pleasure can indulge in Laurent Perrier fizz by the glass (£10).
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