The Berkeley

There’s high tea… and then there’s this. The Berkeley is an upscale, classic hotel tucked in an upscale, classic part of the London, but I was blown away but their creative take on afternoon tea. Not just about tea and treats, the Berkeley’s Pret-a-portea is a fashionable, girly-girls fantasy.

I sound a little OTT, but really, how else do you describe an afternoon fill with girls, gossip, champagne and cakes inspired by fashion design?

I wanted to treat my college bestie and my wonderful sis-in-law to a quintessential London experience and we ended up staying for hours, not wanting to leave.

It began with a selection of tea and delicious sandwiches. I went with a Chinese white tea and my favorite sandwich had to be the classic cucumber.

We were also treated to the chef’s visionary dishes, including this out-of-this-world sundried tomato macaroon with goat’s cheese. There was also a fennel soup and those purple flowers are as yummy to eat as they are pretty to look at.

Make sure to save room for dessert, of course. Each cake is inspired by a different designer. So Ralph and Russo’s floral, diaphanous dresses translated into a delicate lavendar cake with ruffles, while Dolce and Gabbani’s sultry Italian vibe resulted in a delicious dark chocolate and hazelnut cake that had me licking my fingers. There were also cookies shaped like high heels and kinky boots – it’s Instagram heaven:

An incredible experience all around! An afternoon to remember and I recommend it to everyone looking for a fun take on a classic London tradition.

What to Pack

There were bridal showers, baby showers and women celebrating work promotions in this gorgeous setting. Go for trendy pink and blue hues in this ensemble:


Afternoon Tea Affair



Alexander McQueen pink off shoulder top
1,200 AED –

Pocket coat
365 AED –

Ruffle tutu skirt
240 AED –

Kristin Cavallari blue pointed toe pumps
475 AED –

Chanel embroidered handbag
24,975 AED –

Christina Debs rose gold jewellery
33,770 AED –


Guest Post by Rupert Wright of Ashbright
Paris holds no terrors for well-heeled travellers, who can check into one of the city’s eleven palaces such as ­ the Georges V, Plaza Athénée, Le Bristol or my favourite, Le Meurice. But for those on any kind of budget, finding a decent place to stay in the French capital can be a challenge. Bedrooms smaller than a bathroom, bathrooms smaller than a bidet, we’ve all stayed at one of them and lived to regret it. So, it’s with great pleasure that I have found almost the perfect Parisian hotel – and you don’t need to be a tech billionaire to afford it. The Bedford has been family owned and run for more than a hundred years, combining Swiss roots, French flair and English tradition. It benefits from strong leadership, attention to detail, and a staff eager to look after you. With just 140 rooms, it is large enough to intimate, but not so large that you are anonymous. It’s a 4 star, but deserves more.
The rooms
Parquet flooring; high ceilings; comfortable beds and pillows; keys rather than plastic cards; and best of all, real switches, that turn the lights on and off. The Bedford has sensibly ignored many of the technical traps that can make staying in a hotel room more challenging than setting up your own satellite transmission site. The result is a place that combines understated elegance with modern touches and old school service. Some rooms overlook the rue de l’Arcade, others look over a courtyard, but all are a decent size and a muted colour. There is air-conditioning too, which is a relief when the summer strikes.
Breakfast is a buffet in a glorious belle époque room, boasting stucco reliefs and a glass roof. Dinner happens here too, French cuisine and fairly formal. There’s also a relaxed bistro/bar that serves meals and cocktails.
A stone’s throw from the Place de la Madeleine, the Place de la Concorde and the Tuileries Gardens, and the Opera, this is one of the best areas to stay in Paris. (Marcel Proust used to live just around the corner). It is a lively area, with great boutiques, wine bars and an eclectic mix of restaurants, Japanese, Italian, Chinese, Korean, Lebanese and French too.
Don’t miss
The Bedford knows that many people like to travel with their pets, so they are allowed to stay too.
HOTEL BEDFORD, 17, RUE DE L’ARCADE 75008 PARIS Tel. : +33 (0)1 44 94 77 77 Fax : +33 (0)1 44 94 77 97 More information at
Rooms from €250; Suites from €450


Sign up for our newsletter

Sara Hamdan

Welcome to a magazine editor’s guide to luxury hotels and what to wear when you’re there! My work has appeared in: The International New York Times, Rolling Stone, Variety and CNN Travel. I’ve held editorial roles at VIVA Magazine, Dubai Magazine and Stylist Arabia.  Now, I freelance for the likes of Google, CNN and Savoir Flair!

Editing travel pages was always my favourite part of working for lifestyle magazines. I started this blog out of a love of beautiful hotels that provide the fairytale escape of a day as a princess where breakfast is a buffet and chocolates appear on my pillow.

PR queries, feedback and compliments? Email!