Thanks to Edna Hischer, Regional Sales, UK & Ireland Leisure Group and Banqueting at The Ritz London, six members of The BNC were recently treated to Afternoon Tea
Starting off with a glass of Champagne the BNC members (who had just met for the first time) took their places at the elegantly set table on the animated Palm Court.
Instantly relaxed, they were soon chatting away about events related issues such as benefits of Eventsforce, the ups and downs of having to stage summer family fun days, organising events abroad (from behind a desk in the UK!), and so on, but it was Edna, towards whom most to the conversation was directed at. Having been at The Ritz for ten years, working her way up from a post at the reception desk, she had many fascinating stories to tell about but what it is like to work for this world-renowned property.
She clearly loves her job and her enthusiasm spills over into her passion for helping clients stage everything from memorable afternoon teas to boardroom meetings and banquets.
"This is a wonderful hotel to work in and we have more to offer here for events than people think. It isn't a stuffy hotel at all, far, far from it! We work very hard to combine our heritage and traditional style with modern day elements that are needed to make an event perfect."
The Ritz has always been in favour with hotel goers and afternoon tea takers and thanks to the opening of more events space - The William Kent House - corporate events are now very popular here, as Edna can testify.
"The Ritz gives events something special and an event held here is very popular and always memorable," she begins. "Like everywhere, there are certainly slightly less bookings over the last year but the attendance per event is much higher. Our repeat clients tell us that when they book The Ritz all of their delegates attend and there are no drop-outs"
"Very recently we had a booking for one of the smaller rooms at the William Kent House and on the night more people turned up than had booked and we were able to accommodate them all by moving the event to the larger Music Room."
Another thing in The Ritz's favour is not just the space that it has to offer, but the service as well. Everything is seamless thanks to the highest staff-to-guest ratio in the country - 2:1.
Our afternoon tea was a joy - the pots were always refilled with hot water, the delicious sandwiches and cakes replenished and we never wanted for anything. The attire and the manner of the staff was just so that they were always attentive, but you never knew that they were there.
Served in individual solid silver pots, the tea comes in 17 different varieties. English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Mint and Lapsong Souchong Imperial were chosen on our table. Delicate finger sandwiches of smoked salmon, egg mayonnaise, cheddar cheese, cucumber, chicken and ham were melt-in-the-mouth. The bread, some flavoured with sun dried tomatoes, was soft and fresh and the fillings extremely tasty.
Arriving fresh from the oven were warm scones which tasted like none we'd ever had before and the cakes were not just delicious but mini works of art. Everything was served on fine china with an exclusive Palm Court design that features the golds, pale green and rose colours that are set in harmony across the room. Our event organisers around the table appreciated the ‘exactness' of everything, how everything blended and looked picture perfect.
Groups of 8 or more can have tea in a private room near to the Palm Court with the doors open ever so slightly so that you can still hear the piano and the bustle of the hotel but have an exclusive tea to yourselves.
Booking at least 12 weeks in advance is recommended. Due to increased popularity there are now five daily afternoon tea sittings: 11.30am, 1.30pm, 3.30pm, 5.30pm, 7.30pm
What BNC members liked:
Finding out about William Kent House (the house that adjoins the property was recently made into an exclusive meetings and events space). It is relatively new so events there still have the exclusivity factor. The house has a true charm and authenticity thanks to keeping much of its original decor. The house is also By Appointment to HRH The Prince of Wales, Suppliers of Banqueting and Catering Services (Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were the first to stage a dinner party there).
Attention to detail:
The borders on the menus match the china pattern
The private Italian terrace dining area for 100
2 members of staff per guest
The Louis XV1 decor
Triple glazing in bedrooms - experience London without being drowned out by the noise
Everything is made on site and The Ritz has its own special brews of tea and Champagne
The art deco Rivoli Bar is a striking space for small events or pre dinner drinks
DDRs aren't as pricey as one would assume at The Ritz. Very attractive packages start at £100.
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