Because we had two equally important but completely singular purposes for our trip to London – both London Collections: Men, and also to celebrate a very special birthday for my wife – I wanted to make sure that in the hustle and bustle of travel, connecting with friends and family, and attending Runway Shows and Designer Presentations, Monika had a moment to get dolled up and enjoy strictly birthday-only celebrations in the style and pizzazz only available in London. As most of you know, with the recent launch of our #KCCreativeProject, we have become the “collect moments, not things” couple, who are constantly looking to immerse ourselves into unique experiences that we can cherish forever. So when it came time for me to coordinate the most luxurious and scrumptious of moments for my seriously sweet-toothed wife, I knew that a traditional Afternoon Tea in the birthplace of the ancient custom would fit the bill. Monika and I have always been supporters and appreciators of High Tea, so much so that we made it a point to host our very own Afternoon Tea Party during our wedding celebrations in Prague last year. London offers an absolutely overwhelming amount of options for High Tea, from department store tea rooms to art galleries offering the experience; Tea and London go together like scones with clotted cream. Of course, for this incredibly special and once-in-a-lifetime birthday, I wanted to take absolutely no chances on quality or the ambiance, and knew that I had to look no further then the grand, historic and iconic Fairmont-managed five star hotel; The Savoy.
Located in a stellar location in Covent Gardens, along the North Bank of London’s Thames River, The Savoy has played host to international royalty, world leaders, and Hollywood’s elite. It also boasts seven restaurants and bars (including one by Gordon Ramsey!), and features the ‘heart of the hotel’, the Thames Foyer, where the English institution of Afternoon Tea is an extraordinary, world-famous affair curated by The Savoy’s Executive Pastry Chef, Ludwig Hely, and served with the proper mannerisms of British service without any pompous attitude. Monika and I had reservations for the Champagne Afternoon Tea at 1:00 pm on the day of her birthday, and although we were a few minutes delayed (thanks to London traffic!), we were promptly seated in order to have a chance to take in the stunning surroundings. A pianist played on the grand piano in one corner of the Thames Foyer while natural light flooded the entire space, landing perfectly on the central fountain which overflowed with fresh flowers and sat neatly within an intricate gazebo.
Our incredibly decedent and indulgent five-course meal included a smart ‘appetizer’ – the Queen’s favourite childhood snack of jam and butter on toast – and finished with a sparkling glass of Louis Roederer Brut Champagne. The delightful selection of very English finger sandwiches included a curried chicken mini-brioche and smoked salmon on rye, and the freshly baked raison scones, wrapped in lush napkin for warmth, and served with clotted cream and jam was for us the epitome of English High Tea. The dessert course featured both the cake that was served at Prince William and Princess Catherine’s Royal Wedding, plus a very special (and very rich!) chocolate cake to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday. The final course featured a cake soaked in and infused with Earl Grey! Monika was in sweetness heaven and overload, but with a surrounding so gorgeous, service so attentive, and the experience so special, we dared not pass up any of the offerings that were set in front us or served on the silver platter (there was literally luxury French pastries served on a silver platter for our fourth course). Oh, and Monika’s tea selection (White Peonies) had actual whole rose buds in it!
All of this already made for the most spectacular moment, but for me, the true grandeur of our celebration was what happened between the third and fourth course. The pianist stopped her graceful tunes of smooth jazz and started played a very beautiful rendition of “Happy Birthday” as servers brought out a beautiful mini piece of cake with a single gold birthday candle and a chocolate Happy Birthday hand-written on the plate. The Foyer broke out in applause as every birthday celebrant in the space (I think we counted maybe three others) had a chance to take part in the quintessential birthday moment of making a silent wish, blowing out their candle, and eating a piece of birthday cake. For me, this was even more special because it was Monika’s first birthday ‘not at home’, where we had travelled to a new city and thus no dinner or family celebration would be occurring, and obviously there would have been no cake or candles otherwise. To sit there in the Thames Foyer and have my wife blow out her birthday candle was the cherry on top of this very sweet and incredibly special moment. A moment forever engrained in our life story now – the time we spent Monika’s 30th birthday in one of the world’s most iconic hotels, fully enjoying the royal tradition of Afternoon Tea, and feeling like, at least for those moments, we belonged to something greater. Something special, and something comfortable. For us, this is what #SavoyStyle is all about – luxurious but recognizable, and absolutely stunning. We can’t wait to return to this London landmark again and again and see what other moments we can collect!
IN GENEROUS COLLABORATION WITH THE SAVOY