Review: Afternoon Tea at The Guardsman, London

The Guardsman Hotel Afternoon Tea
Tim Firmager
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Opened in 2020 as an addition to the London luxury hotel scene, The Guardsman Hotel in St. James offers kings and queens a home away from home. It also offers Afternoon Tea, so as part of a recent stay, we at Vada Magazine tried out their sandwiches, scones and cakes.

The Guardsman Hotel

As a new build property, on arrival at the Guardsman, the logo is subtle but gold stylised gratings across the ground floor windows mean you may walk past the hotel mistaking it for a members club or private apartment block. Which is in fact the vibe The Guardsman is going for.

Inside, check with reception (immediately in front of you) to confirm your booking and staff will direct you to the lower ground floor, the Dining Room.

Afternoon Tea

The Guardsman Afternoon Tea offering is inspired by the flora from Royal Parks, the closest of which is St. James, a stones’ throw from the hotel.

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We were asked if we wanted anything to drink before our Afternoon Tea service or go straight in with a glass of Perrier-Jouët Gran Brut champagne (included in the service). After some still water, we commenced with the service. As can be expected, everything was impeccably presented and entirely on Wedgwood china. The savouries were all neatly trimmed and full but not overfilled, meaning no mess when eating. The range included egg-mayonnaise on a turmeric loaf (adding a beautiful yellow colour to the sandwich options). There were also smoked salmon and cream cheese, and roast beef with horseradish and watercress sandwiches as well as a truffled-chicken mayo in a mini tin loaf.

The scones were smaller than average but actually a perfect size for an afternoon tea, where there is already an abundance of food. We like the little touch of serving these wrapped in a napkin so that these freshly baked beauties stayed warm until we were ready to eat them. Plenty of clotted cream, and strawberry and raspberry jams were provided.

The top layer of the Afternoon tea is where The Guardsman offering really stands out with:

  • a black rose (made from chocolate ganache and cherry compôte)
  • a raspberry posy filled with pistachio and Chantilly cream
  • a flower pot that was actually carrot cake with an orange-cream topping, and
  • a toadstool, made with a delicate strawberry yoghurt mousse and lemon sponge.

We were blown at away at the creativity of trying to disguise cake within another form. All were delicious though particularly sweet, and our favourite was the carrot cake, which for us had just the right balance of texture (moistness and crunch).

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There were plenty of tea options, and again, served in generously proportioned Wedgwood pots and cups, meaning there was no chance we would risk being unable to quench our thirst from the cakes in front of us.

The Afternoon Tea option is priced at £45, with vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options are also available at the same price.

Overall thoughts

Summing up our Afternoon Tea experience at The Guardsman it was easy, enjoyable and elaborate. Easy in the sense that we arrived and seated without any fuss with clean service. Enjoyable because the quality of the food and presentation were on point. And elaborate from the details in the creative presentations of the cakes.

The price point is in line with what we’d expect to pay at other luxury hotels around London including Champagne. We were glad to see other dietary options available as standard.

Whilst our social budgets may be struggling more and more recently from the UK government’s lack of support during a period of exceptionally high inflation, Afternoon Tea remains one of those mini luxuries that will remain ever so important.

We look forward to seeing how The Guardsman may evolve their creativity going forward.

The Guardsman Hotel is located at 1 Vandon Street, London, SW1H 0AH

Afternoon Tea is available at The Guardsman Wednesdays to Sundays. For more information or to book, visit

About Tim Firmager

Tim divides his time being a Digital Consultant in The City and as a food and travel writer across the globe. When he's not working as one of the Lifestyle Editors here at Vada, he's planning his next trip, or on the lookout for the latest food crazes or unusual foods in London's markets.