Hoteliers are celebrating this week’s coronation of King Charles III at Westminster Abbey in London with food, drinks and experiences fit for the royal occasion.
Cream teas, with scones, strawberry or raspberry jam, Devon clotted cream and Welsh butter, perhaps with a dram of Scottish whisky, are the traditional choice, served with a pot of tea complete with crown-shaped woolen cosy.
The 350-room The Londoner is one of many hotels ramping up its cream teas to include themes of the monarchy.
Charles Oak, the hotel’s general manager, said another part of The Londoner’s coronation celebration is its Royal Coronation Experience walking tour, available to guests through May 18.
“Guests can follow in the footsteps of royalty. Taking in the pageantry and splendor of the crowning, in addition to many of the city’s iconic landmarks,” Oak said.
He said the route starts at Westminster Abbey with an expert royal guide sharing historic details about this nationally important church, including the “sacred rituals and ancient stories from monks to monarch.”
A special stop will be the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries high up in the Triforium, where guests will see the Liber Regalis containing the Order of Service used at all coronations since 1377, Queen Mary II’s Coronation Chair and replicas of the crown jewels used at coronation rehearsals.
Other highlights include heading down the Royal Mall; Clarence House, and St. James’s Palace, the residence of the former Queen Mother, which is accessed via St. James’s Park.
“In addition to hearing about ill omens and memorable mishaps that have occurred at coronations throughout the centuries, guests will also learn how the coronation of King Charles III differs from that of his mother, her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s in 1953,” Oak added.
The last stop, not surprisingly, is Buckingham Palace, he said.
Hoteliers also have made treats featuring two of King Charles III’ alleged favorite treats — Darjeeling tea and lemon curd — but thankfully not together.
Marie-Laure Fleury, general manager of the 100-room Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square, said her hotel has not held back on offering delightful dining experiences to celebrate the upcoming coronation.
“From the Crown Jewels Afternoon Tea served in our Rotunda Lounge to the King’s Ritual Martini available at Mei Ume, guests will be able to enjoy the pageantry of the royal occasion throughout the hotel,” she said.
Fleury added her hotel’s decadent desserts include The Crown, inspired by the 1661 St Edward’s crown, which when placed on the monarch’s head signifies the actual moment of coronation.
The Four Seasons’ King’s Ritual Martini is a royalty-worthy array of rum, aquavit and cherry bitters garnished with Louis XIII cognac and a crown-shape slice of orange peel.
The Londoner also is supercharging its martinis to allow guests to toast the king.
“We chose to do a martini bar in honor of the new king’s favorite tipple, and we are offering three iterations, including His Majesty,” which Oak said is a “reimagined blend” of Belvedere vodka, Noilly Prat dry and Veuve Clicquot champagne.
Hoteliers have devised other notable suggestions to ring in the new king beyond finger sandwiches and fruit cake.
Part of the Exclusive Collection, the 124-room Pennyhill Park in Bagshot, Surrey — located a few miles southwest of London — has let executive chef Sarah Frankland use her culinary skill to devise a 3D-printed coronation cake, perhaps the crowning moment of her food resume up to this point.
Frankland said the visual inspiration for the delicacy also came from the iconic moment when the crown is presented to the sovereign on a purple pillow.
She said she has incorporated the Exclusive Collection’s logo to create the hotel’s own version of that crown.
“I commissioned a 3D-printed chocolate design to create a chocolate crown to sit on top of the sponge pillow, representing how the crown … will be presented,” she said.
The cake’s sponge and mousse are infused with Darjeeling tea.
The 53-room The Guardsman, a London hotel mere steps from Buckingham Palace, is hoping the infamous British weather will behave on the royal occasion.
Its “Palatial Feast” offering can be served in adjacent St. James’s Park, one of several central London parks designated as royal parks. The menu features delicacies taken from “A Royal Cookbook: Seasonal Recipes from Buckingham Palace,” the first cookbook written by Mark Flanagan, royal chef to King Charles III, and Edward Griffiths, a former deputy master of the Royal Household.
One confection in the book is sablé Breton — salted butter cookies — with English strawberries and lemon cream.
The base might be French, but then so was the first monarch of Anglo-Saxon England, William the Conqueror, technically not French but Norman.
Most hotels offering royal treats have bundled their food and beverage into hotel-stay packages. Coronation weekend stays will likely be longer due to Monday, May 8, having been designated a special, one-off bank holiday throughout the U.K.
Large TV screens will broadcast the coronation and procession to guests if they choose not to stand with the millions expected to line the parade route.
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