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Taking afternoon tea on the terrace at the historic Reid's Palace Hotel is a bit of a must do thing while on holiday in Madeira. We stayed at the Pestana Grand in September 2007 and they were happy to book a table for two for us at Reid's Palace hotel.
I was a little concerned about going to Reid's Palace because taking afternoon tea isn't really a regular holiday activity for me. I am more likely to be taking an afternoon hair of the dog!
We were a bit put off the idea by our guidebook which said that evening dress had to be worn in the dining rooms and that gentlemen had to be appropriately attired in other areas. Not being sure what appropriate attire was I wore the best I had available - a pair of chinos and a short sleeved linen shirt, my wife wore trousers and a neat top but we were far from looking posh. When we were shown onto the terrace we were relieved to see that everyone else had pretty much the same idea, phew.
As soon as we got onto the terrace overlooking the garden we realised how sensible it was to book early. We got envious looks, at least thats what we like to think, from people who were seated at tables away from the balcony. We had prime position and felt pretty smug about it. So smug that we ordered a glass of champagne each before our tea. I cant remember what the champagne cost but as it was a once in a lifetime thing it didnt matter.
The afternoon tea was I think about £20 each and for that you got a pot of tea each which you chose from a decent list. The Reid's palace blend was so nice that we bought some in their gift shop. Included in the price and served with the tea were plate stands with a selection of sandwiches and 6 cream cakes. Scones with jam and cream were also served. The service was excellent and the food very good. We felt ever so good doing this, it was really civilised and we just felt happy.
We did this on our last full day before leaving Madeira and I would recommend it to anyone visiting the island.
P.s. I just completed the criteria ratings and wasnt sure what to put for 'family friendly' so put average. Thinking about it our afternoon tea would have been completely spoiled if there had been kids crying or running about so please, please for the sake of yourselves and others there don't take your kids with you. Adults only !!