10 Places to Do Afternoon Tea Like a Royal
There’s no need to travel to England to delight in afternoon tea like a royal. These luxurious tea experiences across North America will impress even the most discerning lovers of tea time.
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Photo By: Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
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Photo By: The Arizona Biltmore, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
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Photo By: Willard InterContinental
Photo By: Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
Photo By: Hotel deLuxe
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Since the early 1900s, discerning guests have been delighting in afternoon tea under crystal chandeliers in the elegant Garden Court of the iconic Palace Hotel in San Francisco. Served on Saturday afternoons, guests are greeted by five-star service, which includes fine china and sterling silver tea trays and stands. Choose from a variety of tea blends, from classic favorites to creative herbal infusions, then indulge in a delicious assortment of house-made scones, pastries and dainty tea sandwiches. From $68 per person.
Afternoon tea at the luxurious Fairmont Empress in Victoria, British Columbia is a tradition that dates back more than a century. Served in the hotel’s sophisticated Lobby Lounge, Tea at the Empress is available every day from 11 am to 4 pm and a smart casual dress code is required. Choose from more than 20 loose leaf teas as you indulge in house-made scones, pastries, finger sandwiches and tea cakes. An upgrade to the Royal Champagne Tea experience includes a glass of Veuve Clicquot Rose. From $75 CAD per person.
Lady Mendl’s Tea Salon
At Lady Mendl’s Tea Salon, located in New York City’s Gramercy Park, an extravagant five-course afternoon tea experience awaits in the parlor of this stylish tea salon. The prix-fixe tea service includes an in-season soup or salad, tea sandwiches, scones, crepes, and petit fours. The 90-minute experience also includes an array of teas (of course) like oolong, white, green, and black teas. As you make your way along Irving Place in search of the tea house, keep your eyes open for the teacup-engraved plaque that marks this intimate tea room. From $59 per person.
The Grand Afternoon Tea at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix exudes sophistication and timelessness. The nearly 90-year-old tradition at this historic, luxury hotel begins with a welcome from a tea sommelier who guides guests through the range of tea options, from classic black teas to creative loose leaf herbal infusions, as well as the day’s selection of sweet and savory tea time treats. More recently, the property has integrated a refreshing iced tea menu into the tea service with cool favorites, like raspberry nectar and green mango peach. From $50 per person.
The Dandelion in Philadelphia may be better known as a pub serving up hearty, seasonal British classics, like lamb shepherd’s pie and beer battered fish and chips, but one step into the elegant Victorian-style dining room and you’ll know it’s tea time. Order up a steaming pot of fragrant loose leaf tea and three tiers of exquisite tea sandwiches, canapes, pastries, and scones that make up the Royal Occasion tea service. The Dandelion also offers a variety of tea-infused cocktails. From $50 per person.
Just two blocks from The White House, the historic Willard InterContinental in Washington, DC serves Afternoon Tea Friday through Sunday in Peacock Alley, a grand hallway that runs the length of the hotel. As the classical harpist delicately serenades, enjoy a selection of organic teas, finger sandwiches, scones, and tea pastries, like strawberry shortbread cookies and chocolate hazelnut profiteroles. For an extra charge, order a refreshing mid-day cocktail, like the Royal Tea, which blends honey-infused green tea, gin, and basil. From $58 per person.
Fairmont Château Laurier
At Ottawa’s Fairmont Chateau Laurier, one of Canada’s most recognized luxury hotels, afternoon tea is served daily at Zoe’s, a refined, intimate lounge named after Sir Wilfred Laurier’s wife, Zoe. The Traditional Tea service begins with a palate-cleansing seasonal fresh fruit cup before the tea sommelier greets you to review tea choices and prepare your steaming cup of tea. Enjoy a three-tiered serving tray of finger sandwiches, scones, and a selection of desserts, like cranberry orange pound cake and maple walnut fudge. From $48 CAD per person.
When you arrive at the modern, art-deco style Hotel deLuxe in Portland, Oregon, make a beeline for Gracie’s where an elegant afternoon tea service awaits Thursday through Sunday afternoons starting at 3 pm. Slow down and savor a selection of creative tea blends, as well as a menu of delicious dainty sandwiches, scones, pastries and tea cakes. Upgrade the experience with a seasonal a la carte tea-infused craft cocktail or a glass of sparkling wine. From $39 per person.
The Peninsula Beverly Hills
At The Peninsula Beverly Hills, guests can unwind and sip hot tea in The Living Room, an opulent, yet inviting, salon with plush sofas, two fireplaces and magnificent floor-to-ceiling windows. Choose from nearly 20 custom tea blends, including flavored teas and herbal infusions. Book the Royal Tea, which includes a delicious assortment of finger sandwiches, tea cakes, fruit tarts, scones, and macarons, as well as a glass of French champagne. A classical harpist plays daily at select seatings. From $80 per person.
At LondonHouse Chicago, enjoy the Londonhouse Tea, a brand new afternoon tea service that’s billed as "high tea with a modern twist" thanks to creative bites, like butternut squash cannolis and rhubarb and pistachio pie. Choose from a menu of blended teas, including a curated selection of black and green teas, even a refreshing peppermint herbal tea. The tea service is available daily in the second-floor lobby bar. From $50 per person.