Friday, June 8, 2012
I’m not very girly. I don’t care about fashion, I hate shopping, and I haven’t gotten my hair cut since October. But every once in awhile I can be persuaded to fulfill gender stereotypes. This is particularly true when food is involved. Fittingly, when I was invited to have a manicure and afternoon tea at the Sofitel in London, I caved into the temptation to have a girly afternoon.
I arrived at the Sofitel London St James and made my way to the So SPA, where I was given a cup of hot lavender-and-honey tea and a fruit jelly in the waiting area. When the rest of the group arrived, we went into the main spa, which was a large room with a long table and high ceilings. The decor was chic and calming, and the manicure tables at the back were laden with every color of OPI polish that involved the color pink.
I sat down for my manicure, which consisted of a cut, file, cuticle trim, and polish. As one hand got pampered, the other sipped a bright fuchsia cocktail from a martini glass. It was pure feminine bliss.
Following the manicures, we moved into The Rose Lounge for afternoon tea at the Sofitel. The intimate room was pretty-in-pink, with ballerina-colored tea cups, magenta chairs, and floral paintings on the walls. Also in the area were photos of celebrities, which were part of an exhibition called On Set Off Set. In the background, a live harpist played.
We sat down to our afternoon tea, which began with more pink cocktails. Soon the finger sandwiches and tea arrived. The tea menu was extensive, featuring everything from Organic Tumsong Estate Estate 2nd Flush Darjeeling to Bohea Lampsang Supreme. I ordered the Whole Lemon Verbena infusion, which was fragrant and refreshing.
The sandwiches were followed by plates of scones. They were served with clotted cream, jam, and lemon curd. The last of these was a favorite of mine, and I hadn’t seen it at an afternoon tea in a long time. It was a nice touch.
I’m glad I got to enjoy it, too, because it was the only sweet thing I had a chance to try during my afternoon tea. The service was a bit slow, and after enjoying the sandwiches and scones with my tea, I had to leave. I would have loved to stay for the cakes and pastries, but my waistline is probably better off for departing before they arrived.
While I wasn’t able to stay for the rest of the afternoon tea at the Sofitel, my nails looked better than they had in a long time, and my stomach was happy with all of the good food and drinks. Next time there’s a special exhibition in the Rose Lounge, I might just go back to taste the cakes and pastries. Until then, I might be girly and count calories. Or not.