How To Enjoy A Guiltless Afternoon Tea at the Intercontinental London

Does such a thing as a guiltless afternoon tea really exist? Up to now, I would have definitely said no as those sweet treats can hide lots of calories, so I was delighted to discover the Guiltless Afternoon Tea dreamed up by The Intercontinental London Park Lane. Served in the stylish Wellington Lounge, it makes clever use of all natural ingredients and is free from refined sugar. They will happily adapt it for any dietary requirements, including gluten and dairy free.

intercontinental park lane luxury columnist
Arriving at The Intercontinental on a very chilly day, I was relieved to enter the cosy lobby with its rather lovely flower display.

Intercontinental Park Lane lobby - Luxury Columnist
The Wellington Lounge itself is an open plan area with low lighting, and recently awarded the UK Tea Guild ‘Award of Excellence’. It stands on the former site of 145 Piccadilly, which was Her Majesty the Queen’s former childhood home until her family moved to Buckingham Palace in 1937.

Wellington Lounge Intercontinental Park Lane
I had a date with fellow foodies Angie, Lucy and Zoe who also have an appetite for healthy but flavourful food. Since starting my website, they have been a fantastic support and sounding board, so it was great to spend more time with them.

london foodies luxury columnist
We started with a warming pot of tea – I chose the Intercontinental Park Lane’s exclusive blend, Number One Park Lane. It was a sweet and full bodied mix of Madagascan Vanilla Pods and marigold flowers. Our waiter brought us a striking Art Deco style tea stand, laden with healthy treats. The Market Garden sandwiches are all served on gluten-free bread, and focus on seasonal British vegetables.

guiltless afternoon tea
I particularly enjoyed the unusual aubergine and roasted piquillio pepper sandwich with celeriac, which had a wonderful smoky taste. The Manouri cheese marinated in basil was also very interesting – I hadn’t heard of this cheese before but it comes from Greece and is creamier than feta in taste. We also tried a nettle marinated asparagus rolled in courgette ribbons. The star of the show was probably the thyme roasted butternut with balsamic caviar and fresh dill, which we all loved.  The great thing about this afternoon tea is that it’s really filling, because it’s mainly protein based.

guiltless afternoon tea
We tasted a guiltless cocktail with the sandwiches, made from Cane Rum, lime juice, fennel and agave syrup. I’m not sure how this is entirely guiltless, but to be fair you don’t need large quantities of the rum to give the drink flavour. It was certainly refreshing and made a change from champagne, not that I ever get tired of that!

guiltless rum
Then it was on to the wholemeal scones which were surprisingly tasty – I’m quite a wholemeal fan but have only ever tried white flour scones. The homemade fresh fruit compote and virtuous creme fraiche accompanied them perfectly.

guiltless scones
The cakes were beautifully presented and included a very moreish blueberry & yoghurt chiffon cake with fresh blueberries. I loved the polenta and almond cake which complemented the tea blend perfectly. Perhaps the most intriguing cake was the red velvet, made with quinoa, cream cheese, agave nectar, a small touch of panela (raw cane sugar). Normally red velvet cake is a very guilty pleasure so it was great to try an alternative, and whilst it worked well, I preferred the other cakes.

guiltless desserts
Chocolate fans won’t be disappointed as the flourless chocolate and mint cake was a delight, combining fresh spearmint mousse, 70% dark chocolate and agave.

guiltless cake
After over 3 hours of animated conversation, it was time to head out into the big chill again. Thanks to the Guiltless Afternoon Tea, we left feeling light and with our consciences clear! It’s available until June 2015 so don’t hesitate to check it out:

Wellington Lounge at The Intercontinental Park Lane, 1 Hamilton Place, London, Park Lane W1J 7QY

intercontinental park lane

  • This looks like such a stunning place for afteroon tea:)

    • It is very stylish, I love the Art Deco feel! Have a great weekend

  • Lucy

    Such a wonderful place to have afternoon tea and especially with wonderful company. A lovely review that captured the tea and ambience perfectly. I am now sitting hungry after reading this. Wishing you a wonderful weekend Lucy x

    • It was so nice to see you again Lucy, even if we did get a shock after leaving the tea! Hope you get spoilt tomorrow

      Suze | LuxuryColumnist

  • Hayley Appleford

    What a wonderful place !

    Thanks so much for sharing, the photos are beautiful.

    Have a great weekend,

    Hayley x

    • Hi Hayley, thanks for stopping by – glad you liked the post and looking forward to checking out your blog

  • Angie SilverSpoon

    It was such a lovely afternoon and great to spend time with you lovely ladies! See you soon!

    Lots of love,

    SilverSpoon London

    • Thanks Angie, funnily enough I have another tea this afternoon – that was my surprise!

  • My goodness! I’ll be guiltless too if these are the food in front of me. I love tea too. So this is just a perfect afternoon for me.

    • It’s a clever concept isn’t it! I also tried a rose tea there that was delicious

  • Wow! That mint chocolate cake looks perfect, and I am all for the guilt free!

    • Hi Ash, I seem to be going to quite a few teas at the moment so it’s good that this one was guilt free

  • Wow what a gorgeous looking afternoon tea

    • Yes it looked really pretty and colourful, they’d definitely made an effort there

  • That really does look like the life Suze!

  • What a wonderfully healthy afternoon tea! If I wasn’t hungry before reading this I am now – looks delicious and I love your photos Suze

    • Thanks Suzanne, love your website – it’s so informative!

  • I was so full when I left! I’m still annoyed that I didn’t have room for the red velvet cake, but it was lovely to briefly meet you!

    Katie <3

  • What a luxurious place! I think I could live like that every day of my life…

    • Anda, thanks for stopping by, I really like your website and reading your travel adventures

  • Wow I would love this! I eat gluten and sugar free all the time and it’s hard to find something like this when you’re staying in hotels!

    • I’m not actually gluten intolerant but it does bloat me out and reduced sugar is always a good thing!

  • Shikha (whywasteannualleave)

    I’d read Zoe’s post on this so it’s fab to read yours too! Your foodie pics are just gorgeous – how on earth do you do it?! 🙂 This tea sounds fabulous – I am intrigued as to just how “guiltless” it is – I wish there was some way to find out what the calorie count is for one standard tea just to be able to compare it to the others (not that that ever stops me going!) Definitely a quirky one to keep in mind if I’m after a lighter one though!

    • That’s really kind Shikha, the merit is all my Panasonic Lumix! The tea was served with a rum cocktail, if I was being really good I’d just have tea with it!

  • Made in Mauve

    Great photos! It looks like a fab place to have afternoon tea

    Made in Mauve // Bloglovin

  • Wow, I love the idea of this! It also opens up your mind to just how much you can achieve without refined sugar. I think I’ll have to give this a try!

  • Mmm, I love that this can be done in such a healthy way! Here is NY we tend to think of afternoon tea as a period where you stuff yourself with sugar and scones and clotted cream, but what a nice alternative!

    • That’s usually the case here to be honest! I didn’t get to try the Cronut when I was in NY but it sounds interesting

  • Gosh, this all looks delicious and the decor of the hotel is just as incredible. I love that you got to enjoy this whilst catching up with your friends – how idyllic! I hope your week is going well so far, Suze

    Gabrielle | A Glass Of Ice


    • Thanks Gabrielle, been a bit of a hectic one hence I haven’t posted and got LFW starting, but all good! Hope you are well?

      • Oh enjoy LFW! My week has been lovely – thank you for asking 🙂

  • love&limoncello

    Oh yes yes it does exist. Had a fab time with you ladies. xx

  • Have to hand to you and your friends. I would have devoured those cakes before the camera had a chance to snap away. That flourless mint chocolate cake. Think I’m putting on weight thinking about that puppy.

    • Ha ha, it was pretty tough and I have to say that I didn’t manage to wait long before tucking in!

  • You did tea time right! Wow! The photos are absolutely appetizing!

    • Thanks Kae, it was easy to take nice photos as the food was so colourful!

  • Andrea

    oh my goodness, this looks amazing! all of your photos are great! looks like nice afternoon tea! 🙂

    • Thanks Andrea, I like your fashion inspiration. Am off to London Fashion Week today, can’t wait!

  • Great photos and thanks for making afternoon tea guiltless! Looking forward to trying it now and feel good about it. This also means I can spend less time on the treadmill afterwards 🙂

    • You should definitely try it Laurie! I’m looking forward to stepping up my running once it gets warmer again

  • I adore Intercontinental, but I’ve never been for afternoon tea. I’m booked in the Ritz in a few weeks, but think I’ll make this my next stop!

    Annabel ♥
    Mascara & Maltesers

    • I’ll look forward to reading your review of The Ritz, Annabel. I’ve also been to the Rosewood recently so will be posting about that at some point

  • lovely post

    I am following you now 🙂

  • Elle Bloggs

    This is amazinggggg!! I love afternoon tea so guiltless afternoon tea is like a gods send!! x

    • It is quite a godsend, although perhaps not entirely guilt free with the rum cocktail 😉

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