Mad hatters afternoon tea at Sanderson Hotel review

So I met some friends for a bit of afternoon tea recently. London has an abundance of hotels and patisseries offering tea, so after deliberating a few options, we chose afternoon tea at the Sanderson Hotel. The theme was Alice In Wonderland’s Mad Hatters afternoon tea. So I was excited by the novelty of it all.

Afternoon tea stand with cakes and sandwiches

Now with afternoon tea, it’s all about the experience. As with when I’ve visited the Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur and Radisson Blue Leicester Square, the tea and cake really plays second fiddle to being in an awesome venue with great character, where you can sit for hours.

That’s why with this review, I’m going to review the venue and service first, before diving into the food.

So in the interests of blogging, here are my honest thoughts.

The decor and atmosphere of Mad Hatters Sanderson Hotel

Sanderson Hotel garden

So first things first, the venue is very deceptive. From the outside it’s pretty shabby. So much so, that when looking for the place, we rocked up at another hotel across the street that looked much more chic!

However, inside the venue is breathtaking. We were sat in the garden, which had a beautiful fountain structure, canopies and plush outdoor seating. It was perfect for a warm day.

The service at Mad Hatters afternoon tea

As you’d expect from afternoon tea, staff took the time to explain to us the concept of Mad Hatters Sanderson Hotel. They had a variety of tea options, and you could basically be topped up with different varieties throughout your stay.

But sadly, there were a couple of boo boos. One of the main pulling points for afternoon tea is the service. I mean, a scone is a scone. But the real differentiator with afternoon tea is being treated like a queen (or king).

However, the Mad Hatters sadly felt short. Firstly, we were made to wait at the bar for quite a while as they found us a table. Now normally this is fine. But with my larger pregnant self, getting on a bar stool is a challenge, which meant standing the whole while. Now I’m very conscious of sounding entitled, but even in the most basic of restaurants you get regular seating while you wait.

Then they made a few small errors while we were having tea. Firstly despite telling them of my dietary requirements, they still put a ham sandwich on my cake stand! This was rectified but arguably a mistake you wouldn’t expect at such a venue.

They then forgot to give milk with my tea, and I had to ask twice as they forgot a second time.

Beyond this, the staff did make sure we were topped up throughout, turned of the heating when I was feeling flushed, and were generally attentive.

The afternoon tea at Sanderson Hotel

Salmon scotch egg and panna cotta

So onto the food. The Mad Hatters did go beyond in terms of a creative dining experience. There were carrot shaped macaroons. We had salmon scotch eggs with quail. Plus of course there were scones with clotted cream and jam and cucumber sandwiches.

My thoughts overall of Mad Hatters afternoon tea at the Sanderson Hotel

The whole point of afternoon tea is to be able to catch up with friends or family for hours, in a way you wouldn’t be able to do a restaurant (unless you ordered a LOT of food over a long period of time).

And Mad Hatters certainly provided the backdrop for this. It was catching up with friends which made the experience enjoyable.

That aside, would I go again? Sadly no. At over £50 per head, I would have expected a better level of service, and I think there are better afternoon tea options out there.

So unfortunately overall, Mad Hatters Afternoon tea missed the mark a little for me.


About the Author


I’m a British-Bengali Muslim mum-of-two. My pictures aren’t filtered and neither are my words. I’m not a makeup artist, chef or lifestyle guru. I’m just me, sharing honest beauty reviews for brown skin, halal restaurant finds, travel inspo, mum life hacks, easy Bengali recipes and more. If that’s your bag, keep reading!

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