I was invited to my first “tea party” bridal shower yesterday. This was an experience I was really looking forward to. I arrived at the Empress Tea Room in Tampa on Fowler Ave. at 3:30pm (this is the time our shower was originally booked and planned for). The Victorian village setting was exactly what I had pictured a “tea room” setting to be. The greeting area of the Empress Tea Room is a very small gift shop atmosphere. All the guests began to arrive and the room quickly became crowded and unbearably warm. We were informed by Mike (Owner) the Empress room had overbooked their rooms and we would be seated no later than 4 pm. As this was a special day for my friend, a thirty minute wait was not a problem. Our party had 30 guests, so you can imagine how crowded a little room meant for a handful of guests was. A few minutes after four, there was still no room available. Some of our guests requested water to battle the warmth of the room we were all standing in. The heat, shoulder to shoulder crowding, and lack of seating was difficult especially for some of our older guests that require a seat after thirty minutes of standing. The Owners (Kim and Mike) treated our requests as a nuisance as if our party were simply a bother to them. They did bring a tray of water after the request was made. These folks offered nothing to add comfort and/or an apology for their overbooking mistake. So far, my first tea party experience was not going along with the experience I had anticipated. Minutes away from an hour of standing and waiting Mike and Kim became hostile with our party and even the bride to be. There were no sincere apologies or any indication they cared to make our situation better. They instead, asked us to leave. Can you imagine waiting nearly an hour in this condition (patiently, I might add), to ask a bride and her guests to leave? I have never seen any business (especially hospitality) treat customers with such disdain. This was a first time experience for many of our party (my mom and sister were also first time guests) and our first tea party and most importantly a bride’s special day were ruined because “greedy” business owners tried to make twice the money by double booking their establishment. We were able to move our party to another location and had a wonderful time; however, I would not recommend the Empress room for any occasion (especially a special occasion) to anyone! The atmosphere and attitudes displayed by the owners was appalling and disappointing. I’m still looking forward to my first “tea room party” experience and plan to find another tea room this coming weekend to enjoy it. My advice…. Steer clear of the Empress Tea Room!