The hotel is a short walk from Covent Garden or Holborn tube stations and although in a central London location you may never walk down this street. I had a reader email recommending the well-priced Kingsway Hall Hotel afternoon tea and that was enough for me to book immediately.
Do note, this review is from 2011. I returned in 2014 to try the Kingsway Hall Hotel Gluten-Free Afternoon Tea.
66 Great Queen Street
London WC2B 5BX
Nearest Tube Stations: Holborn / Covent Garden.
Days and Times: Daily, 12-7pm.
Cost: From £14.50 per person.
Dress Code: Smart casual.
Reservations: 020 7309 0909 or book online.
Kingsway Hall Hotel Afternoon Tea Review
Efficient and polite staff in the lobby offered us the choice of tea in the Harlequin Restaurant or the Lounge Bar. We chose the Lounge Bar for its relaxed feel and glass front wall so plenty of natural light. We sat towards the back of the room on a sofa and armchair with a large glass-topped coffee table.
The tea selection is from Twinings and to help us choose a presentation box was brought to the table with loose leaf tea in small glass jars. We were encouraged to take out as many as we wanted and could open the jars to smell the tea too.
Staff were able to answer questions and make suggestions.
I chose Jasmine Pearls which was served in a Chinese teapot and cup. This was actually the first time I'd had my tea served in a green Chinese teapot while enjoying afternoon tea so I was very pleased with this attention to detail. My companion's 2nd Flush Darjeeling was served with white crockery and an excellent teapot with a clever way of lifting the tea filter so the tea doesn't brew longer than necessary.
To ensure the correct brewing times, a special Twinings Tea Timer (like an egg timer) was brought to the table.
The staff's afternoon tea knowledge was appreciated plus their excellent timing when checking if we required more tea or hot water.
When the cake stand arrived I was really impressed. A silver three-tier cake stand is most traditional for afternoon tea and is my favorite way to present this treat selection. I have seen many variations but it's cake stands like this that make me happy. I just kept thinking how can they do this for such a great price?
As is traditional, the lower tier of the cake stand had the sandwiches; four each. Sandwiches were freshly made and vegetarian options were provided with no fuss. Brown and white bread is used and we were generally really impressed although the last sandwich was a little dry. (Maybe we'd been talking too much and not getting on with eating?)
There are two plain and two raisin scones each which were large and still warm by the time we got to them. They were served with plenty of strawberry preserve and clotted cream and didn't crumble too much when sliced.
The top of the cake stand offered three fancies each.
The selection can vary but we had pistachio macaroons, chocolate gateaux and lemon tart.
We stayed for two hours and probably would have stayed longer if I had had more time. I was shocked and pleasantly surprised that this Covent Garden hotel could offer such a lovely afternoon tea for well under half the price of the five star hotels in town. True, it's not The Ritz, but Kingsway Hall Hotel afternoon tea is well-presented, delicious, served by excellent staff and all at a bargain price.
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary services for review purposes. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our Ethics Policy.