The Easter weekend when we booked our holiday I also booked online Afternoon Tea at the Empress for 22nd June, my 60th birthday. When I had been dreaming about our holiday through last year’s difficult times this was something I had envisioned so I wanted to make it happen.
The day before our tea I received a reminder email, nice and efficient .
We turned up just ahead of our allotted time and were welcomed by the Maître d with Happy Birthday.
The room was grand but not overwhelming. We were seated and our waiter Bradley gave us menus and also wished me happy birthday.
We had to choose which tea we wanted, Mum chose a pink coloured pineapple flavoured one, and I chose a light blended black tea which we drank without milk. Both delicious. Alan never drinks tea and coffee isn’t offered. He had a sparkling rose wine for which there was an extra charge.
The large teapots were left for us to refill our cups.
Next were strawberries and cream, but no spoons to eat with which we had to ask for. Most people use forks…
Then came the three tier cake plate. On it were salmon pinwheels, egg filled croissants, cucumber and horseradish cream sandwiches and 2 meaty selections which Alan and Mum dealt with .
Next tier up were scones cream and strawberry jam.
Above that were fancy cakes, some delicious, some over sweet, and I don’t see the point of shortbread!
Claire had arranged with Alan to buy me a cocktail, so we all ordered Kir Royales which were wonderful and cut through any lingering sweetness.
We were under no pressure to leave and enjoyed the ambience, the piano music and the harbour views. Most tables were full.
Alan paid using his cash passport card, and there is a strange addendum to my tale.
Being our last day, in the afternoon Alan sorted his financial records. It took him a long time as there was a discrepancy and after an hour or so he checked his cash passport account online. The Empress had overcharged him by about $50.
As we were so near we could pop back and see Bradley who suggested it was the exchange rate. We knew it wasn’t this as the card was preloaded with Canadian dollars, and no where else had shown an inflated price. A manager said it was a pre registration fee showing on Alan’s statement, but it was still pending payment and would be sorted once reconciliation had happened which turned out to be the case.
He said it happened occasionally to some of their customers, and I could tell he wasn’t comfortable with his own explanation.
We think some warning should be given that this could happen as sorting this out took up a couple of hours on our last full day, and might have affected our spending.
As a welcome extra we were given generous packs of tea bags to bring home, and Mum liked her tea so much she bought a pack of it in the hotel shop. I had to buy a t shirt too, (almost wrote tea shirt!)