Relax in luxury enjoyed by the jet set at Taj 51 Buckingham Gate Suites and Residences, London – Scotland on Sunday Travel

Taj 51 Buckingham Gate Suites and Residences, London. Photo: Liam Rudden

“All true tea lovers not only like their tea strong, but like it a little stronger with each passing year.” This passage from George Orwell’s 1946 essay A Nice Cup of Tea welcomes you to one of the lushest Afternoon Teas London has to offer, writing Liam Rudden.

The signature Kona Jasmine Afternoon Tea at Taj 51 Buckingham Gate Suites and Residences reflects the Indian heritage of the owners of the Royal Self-Catering Apartments which are a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace.

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With at least 15 different teas plus an additional selection of infusions on offer, my pick is ‘Chai Secrets of India’, an intoxicating blend of black tea, ginger, star anise, cardamom, pink pepper, cloves and orange slices. It’s a spice paradise, the flavor intensifying with each pour as the aroma transports you to another continent.

As for the ‘sandwiches’…where to start? Each is a work of culinary art evoking the traditions of Indian culinary culture. Flavors include spicy cream cheese and kachumbar windmill in beetroot bread. There’s an egg curry windmill, a spicy paneer bhurjee and a hot crispy chicken tikka wrap, each one is much lighter than it looks.

The cakes and sweets are also tempting and include Gulabi Scones with kismis and almonds served with mango compote and cinnamon clotted cream. Then there is the Gajar Halwa macaron, a pistachio and cardamom crusted fruit tart, a chocolate Rasmalai cup and a shot glass of saffron rice pudding with chandni mousse to treat yourself.

I couldn’t finish the delicacies served but was offered a box to take back to my rooms, however, I left room for the guiltily decadent Gulab Jamun and Gold Leaf Cheesecake and yes, unfortunately gold has no taste. I drizzled the whole thing with salted caramel lassi with a chikki caramel crunch. Perfect. A limited edition The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Afternoon Tea is also currently available.

The Courtyard Fountain, believed to have been donated by the then monarch, at Taj 51 Buckingham Gate Suites and Residences, London. Photo: Liam Rudden

There’s no budget here, it’s high-end luxury, the choice of visiting royalty, movie stars, politicians and those looking to splurge for a special occasion.

Divided into three houses – Falconers, Ministers and Kings – my butler, Matthew, showed me Suite 1022 in Kings, proudly regaling colorful tales of Victorian townhouse history, the fountain in the center of the courtyard (which would have been a gift from the monarch at the time), before highlighting the amenities of my accommodation. I say butler, but there’s nothing stuffy about Matthew; he is welcoming and knowledgeable, like all the staff I meet.

My “urban chic” one bedroom deluxe solo suite has a living room with dining area, fully equipped kitchen, guest toilet, spacious bathroom with deep soaking tub, shower room and smart toilet which scared me to death – sensor activated, the seat lifts of its own accord on approach – just be sure to adjust the water and heat jets to your preference before you sit down.

The “urban chic” of the bedroom in a one-bedroom luxury solo suite. Photo: Liam Rudden

With a large bedroom housing a small office area, I could live happily here permanently. The Kings Townhouse hosts Junior and One-Bedroom Suites, with a floor of residences ranging from three to seven bedrooms.

It’s worth getting out of bed forLook up as you bask in leafy St James’s Court on the doorstep of the Kings Townhouse and you’ll see what Matthew assured me is the longest mural in the world, depicting William Shakespeare’s pastoral comedy As You Like It. The craftsmanship is breathtaking, the details fascinating.Drink and eatStart the day with a traditional Indian breakfast. There’s a different selection available each morning with everything from Mixed Vegetable Pongal, a porridge-style rice with lentils and vegetables, to Punjabi Choley, a spicy chickpea curry. There is also an a la carte breakfast menu.

For lunch and dinner, visitors have access to the adjoining contemporary kitchen [email protected] restaurant where signature dishes “combine popular flavors from around the world to spark curiosity”, and the Michelin-starred Quilon, where chef Sriram Aylur shares his passion for southwestern coastal Indian cuisine.Small +Refresh your body and soul at the award-winning spa where traditional Indian treatments meet the contemporary Mediterranean philosophy of well-being.

Look up into the doorway of the Kings Townhouse and you will see what is said to be the longest mural in the world, depicting William Shakespeare’s pastoral comedy As You Like It. Photo: Liam Rudden

Relax in the luxury enjoyed by the jet set.

Prices start from £400 a night

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Signature Jasmine Afternoon Tea in Kona at Taj 51 Buckingham Gate Suites and Residences reflects the owners’ Indian heritage. Photo: Liam Rudden

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