Northern Mummy

General thoughts and wittering about all sorts of things

Cream tea award: DoubleTree by Hilton, Newcastle Airport

on July 1, 2012

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I’m subscribed to a lot of e-mailing lists.  In fact, following my recent acquisition of an iPhone and the subsequent ability to send and receive email via that, I’m trying to cut down on my mailing list subscriptions in order to minimise the number of times I hear the little email beep and get all excited, only to find that it’s the weekly round-up of a company which likes to tell me about sales at fashion companies I can’t afford (even in the sale), just because I once entered their competition to win a pair of Louboutins.

But signing up to Living Social is definitely not a decision I’ve regretted.  If you don’t know it, it’s like Groupon – briefly, you choose your local area and have the opportunity to purchase a “deal” for a certain price, which comes in the form of a voucher entitling you to buy or do something which normally costs quite a bit more.  Admittedly, I receive up to five emails a day offering me the chance to grab a bargain on a purchase, experience or holiday, most of which I’ve no interest in, but in amongst the golfing days, the gym memberships, the jewellery that isn’t to my taste and the family pass to the Falconry Centre (I don’t think I’ve mentioned my pathological fear of birds before, but take it from me – they’re evil) there have been some absolute gems.  My first deal came in the form of a £25 gift voucher for Boden and cost £11.  We’ve had family tickets to the zoo, cakes and drinks in a café, the Bookworm’s last birthday party (from a company called Get Animated who are just incredible) and yesterday the most wonderful spa afternoon for me and my sister Peacock at Malmaison (I might blog about that soon!).

You can also send the vouchers as gifts (which I’ve done many times), or have them delivered to yourself and print them out to give in person.  For Valentine’s Day this year we had decided not to do presents, but I knew we were going to York the following day and Southern Daddy would undoubtedly take us all to Bettys, which is one of my absolute favourite places to eat.  So I decided to surprise him with another trip on a date of his choosing, and bought a deal for afternoon tea at DoubleTree by Hilton, a hotel at Newcastle Airport.  In typical fashion we then forgot all about it and ended up rushing to make use of it before it expired a couple of weeks ago, at which point I was bang in the middle of the writing challenge with hardly a moment to blog about anything un-Jeff-related.  So here’s my belated review.

This was a full afternoon tea, with sandwiches and various cakes (and a rather nice glass of champagne with a raspberry in it!), but did include a cream tea so I thought I’d allow it in the award reviews.

When we arrived we were greeted professionally by the receptionist, who directed us to the right bar, and we were given a warm welcome by the man on the door of the bar (doorman? maitre d’? I really don’t spend as much time in smart hotels as I’d like, so I’m not up to speed with all the correct language!).  He took us to a table which was fairly quiet and secluded.   I think I would give 2/3 for the welcome and surroundings, as the bar was fine but not as cosy as I might have liked and there was a television on which was a bit distracting (although we couldn’t see it).  However, I have to say the service was excellent throughout and we were even given the choice of when the pot of tea should be brought, as we were drinking the champagne first.

The tea, coming at our appointed time, was very good.  The flavour and strength were good and the pot provided at least two cups each.  The milk was fresh and cold.  5/5

The scones were very fresh tasting, well-risen and warm.  We each had a fruit scone and a plain scone.  5/5  Two flavours of jam had been provided: blackcurrant and strawberry, in miniature pots.  It tasted good but as is often the case with those small pots the consistency was a little firm for my liking.  2/3 The cream was clotted cream and as good as it gets! 2/2

Finally, the price, which is another tricky one to calculate – I paid £11 for the voucher (according to Living Social the value of the deal is £23.95), but of course that is for the whole tea for two.  I tried to find a menu – both at the hotel and online – to get a better breakdown of cost, but to no avail.  So, working from the menus of other establishments which offer both a sparkling afternoon tea and a separate cream tea, it seems that the cream tea costs approximately one third of the price.  If DoubleTree follows suit and the individual value of the sparkling afternoon tea is just under £12, the cream tea should come in at around £4.  For a two-scone tea this is really very good value (especially as I got it for half price!) so I award it 2/2 for cost.

Altogether that gives DoubleTree’s cream tea a score of 18/20 meaning that they take the lead so far!

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