Daylight Robbery

Walking to the Royal College of Music for a lunchtime concert the last stop for fuel is the Baglioni Hotel on Hyde Park Gate. I had a few minutes to spare and sat at the bar.

There was no drinks menu and indeed no bar staff. I had to ask a waitress if the bar was open. I ordered a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and, because the hotel is pretentious, was brought a newspaper, olives and nuts. It was a small glass so I had another and asked for the bill. To speed things up I had a £20 note ready. Here is my bill.

I expressed incredulity that I had been given two small glasses of wine that must be on their list at about £100 a bottle. The waitress said that it is the only Sauvignon Blanc they sell by the glass and she considered it rude to tell me that it was £24 a shot. There was nothing for it except to have the £6 service charge removed and pay up. A late lunch in an Indian restaurant in South Kensington was more satisfactory. Two glasses of wine and lunch for two for £51.

The Cantina Terlano Quarz is a fine Sauvignon Blanc from the South Tyrol and retails at about £25 a bottle. Unfortunately my two glasses were over-chilled so I didn’t get to appreciate what a good wine it is. However, let’s move on.

Somebody’s telephone had gone on the blink in Knightsbridge and there was an engineer sorting the problem.

Students from Imperial College had a graduation ceremony at the Albert Hall and were milling around outside. I thought graduation ceremonies were in July or August.

The wild flower meadow in the Green Park is a success. It is not easy to establish one, as I have read and friends have told me from experience.

8 thoughts on “Daylight Robbery”

  1. Another example – A couple of years ago a reasonable chap was charged £75 for 3 bottles of water at the Wellesley – a five-star hotel which charges £600 a night for a suite – operates a minimum charge of £25 per person when using its bar after 4pm.
    The water had already cost £5.50 per bottle and there was also a service charge of £8.33.
    A ‘minimum spend’ charge of £50.17 was also added, bringing the total to £75.
    Edward, who runs property buying firm Heaton and Partners, said: ‘I have no issue if they have a minimum charge, but they need to make it clear. It is the lack of transparency that I have a problem with.
    ‘There was no menu, we just gave our order, had the water and then I asked for a bill. It came to £75 – for three small bottles of water.
    ‘I thought it was extraordinary and I quietly asked if it was correct and they said “yes, there is a minimum order of £25 per person after 4pm”.
    ‘I didn’t want to make a scene because of the people I was with so I paid the bill but got in touch with them later to complain.
    ‘They were incredibly unapologetic and would not budge, but there were no menus when we sat down and no one explained the minimum spend

    1. Outrageous. I cheered myself up with Sauvignon Blanc at the Savile yesterday. £4.50 a glass and better still I was a guest.

  2. Staggering! Alan had a half bottle of an excellent Duoro wine here (in Porto) with dinner last night. He had been worried what it might cost as it wasn’t on the wine list and the waiter hadn’t given any indication. He spent a few minutes querying the the bill as he was so sure that the €6 they eventually charged for it was a mistake!

  3. You would have done better at The Gore Hotel, 190 Queen’s Gate where a 175ml glass of Sauvignon Blanc would have set you back £8 and as I’m sure you know is just a few steps from the RAH & RCM

  4. Luridly overpriced plonk seems to be part of California cuisine along with silly fusions (mango and beef hearts?) and pestiferous waiters ( “…how we do’in so far?”). My wife and I were at a country wedding in Guernville on the Russian River last week and looked forward to visiting a few cellars and tasting rooms and making a discovery or two.
    No dice. Happily at the wedding a wonderful Rioja was served …it had come thousands of miles to gladden the table. The next day I had a glass of La Crema Chardonnay made down the street….bland,pleasant and fifteen smackers .Whatever else the EU Ag policies may be doing they are giving us well priced retail wines unlike our local bars and restaurants .

    1. It’s a small world. I have only been to California once and I stayed with friends on a ridge above Guernville. My host produced truly fantastic local wines. We had Pinot Noir one night and a Bordeaux style the next. Thank you, Rob.

      1. Two excellent pinot noir producers in area are William Seylem and Talisman…15’s v promising.

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