Afternoon tea is served by a member of the Kensington Hotel staff in London on Aug 11. The English tradition is seeing a resurgence as hotels compete for customers by offering twists on the indulgence. [Photo provided to China Daily]
Tradition gets a makeover as a war for customers wages
The popularity of afternoon tea has London hotels vying to attract a new wave of customers by inventing twists on the classic English indulgence - although with tapas and take-aways on offer, some say the trend is going too far.
London's Sanderson hotel won this year's themed afternoon tea of year award for its Mad Hatter's version, with every item inspired by the Alice in Wonderland story.
The K West Hotel and Spa has given theirs a "glam-rock makeover", with tea-infused cocktails and electric blue teapots, served on vintage album covers.
And the Lancaster London has a take-away version to be enjoyed in Hyde Park just across the road, plus an ARTea, delivered in a painter's box with jam and cream in paint tubes and featuring "miniature edible paintings".
"There is a lot of competition so you have to stand out from the crowd," says Keith Newton, the founder of national Afternoon Tea Week, which takes place in mid-August.
"But you have to be careful because people do want the traditional," he says. "Sandwiches, scones, desserts: you can be creative within that structure but not stray too far away."