Sipping Culture: Hotels Offering Traditional Tea Services Around The World

langham afternoon tea

1865 Langham English Afternoon Tea

While traveling is rewarding, there’s no denying it can also be exhausting. Taking a break between sightseeing and exploring activities is essential, and for those want a cultural yet relaxing experience, afternoon tea can be just what you’re looking for. Luckily, these hotels around the world offer traditional tea services in a range of styles.

Do you have a favorite hotel offering a traditional tea service? Let us know in the comments below.

The Langham Hospitality Group

Website: langhamhotels.com

Traditional English tea service began at the Palm Court at the The Langham, London, more than 140 years ago. To carry on this tradition, every Langham Hotel around the world serves afternoon tea, called ‘Tiffin at The Langham,” on a daily basis. At the Langham, London, tea themes to choose from include the Wonderland Afternoon tea, featuring traditional finger sandwiches and scones with Devonshire clotted cream and strawberry preserves, and 1865 Langham High Tea, which includes French pastries, soup du jour and Laurent Perrier champagne. With all offerings, a tea sommelier is on hand to assist with the pairing of tea blends.

Outside of the U.K., the “Tiffin at the Langham” is served with savory tea sandwiches, scones with Devonshire cream, fruit tarts, homemade pastries and assorted tea cakes and, of course, a variety of the finest teas. Prices range at each location, but now, guests can purchase the brand’s four signature teas (The Langham Blend, Silk Road Blend, English Flower Blend, Palm Court Exotic Blend) at any Langham Hotel to bring the whimsy of teatime home.

japanese tea ceremony

Japanese Tea Ceremony at The Kitano

The Kitano New York

Website: kitano.com

The Kitano, New York’s only Japanese-owned hotel, hosts an annual traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony to present guests with the ability to learn about Japanese tea and culture. The hotel can also organize the event for groups of guests interested in the service, especially as a meetings group team builder. The Kitano works with local tea schools to conduct the unique and intimate experience, a rare occurrence in the U.S. The Traditional Tea Gathering Ceremony involves the chance to sample and learn about the traditions of thin tea (usucha) served in some of the finest pottery and antiques along with a traditional light meal (tenshin) prepared by the hotel’s Michelin starred Japanese restaurant, Hakubai. The ceremonies take place in rooms with traditional Japanese décor and an authentic setting with tatami mats and shoji screens.

Le Salon

Le Salon at the Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans

The Windsor Court Hotel, New Orleans

Website: windsorcourthotel.com

Built for the 1984 World’s Fair, The Windsor Court Hotel boasts many European touches, including an authentic English afternoon tea service. Offering a selection of 26 of the finest loose-leaf variety brews, tea time begins with a light cocktail or sparkling beverage, followed by a properly brewed pot of tea and nibbles like gourmet sandwiches, scones and desserts. Depending on the time of year, the hotel has been known to do themed teas such as a an Alice in Wonderland Tea, Princess Tea for young girls, and a Butterfly Tea, featuring live butterflies in beautiful displays courtesy of the NOLA’s Audubon Insectarium.

The Broadmoor

High tea at The Broadmoor

The Broadmoor, Colorado

Website: broadmoor.com

At Five Star, Five Diamond Colorado Springs resort The Broadmoor, guests can now enjoy a luxurious interpretation of the afternoon tea tradition in the cozy environment of The Broadmoor’s West Tower Lobby. The traditional offering features a wide selection of teas, alongside tea sandwiches and freshly baked French pastries and desserts. For a truly varied sampling, the pre-set “Julie Penrose Selection” includes the fanciful trio of tea brioches, freshly baked scones with crème fraiche and raspberry preserves, and traditional French tea pastries, alongside a tea selection. Both guests and visitors are invited to enjoy the late afternoon with a cup of tea, a glass of sparkling wine and pastries while listening to live piano entertainment. Tea is offered Monday through Saturday from 3pm to 4pm.

Tea with Tiepolo

Tea with Tiepolo at the Rome Cavaliere

Rome Cavalieri, a Waldorf Astoria Hotel

Website: romecavalieri.com

Tea with Tiepolo is a tradition not to be missed at the Rome Cavalieri hotel. Served in grand style at the magnificent Tiepolo Lounge and Terrace, the service combines the charm of an English afternoon tea with the style and panache of Italian cuisine. Finger sandwiches, scones, selection of pastries and assorted fruit are all served on a vermeil tea set while the team menu offers such exotic blends as Yin Zhen, a rare white tea from an island in Hunan province in China, and Budda Ama-Cha, an exotic green tea grown in the uplands near Kyoto in Japan. Tea is served daily beneath one of Rome Cavalieri’s greatest art treasures – the magnificent Tiepolo triptych. Painted in 1725, it originally adorned the walls of Palazzo Sandi in Venice and features a series of mythological scenes. Afternoon tea is always a moment to pause and reflect, and these beautiful paintings help to create a contemplative atmosphere.

Afternoon Tea

Afternoon Tea at St. Ermin’s Hotel

St. Ermin’s Hotel, London

Website: sterminshotel.co.uk

What could be more authentic than high tea in London? Located in Westminster and part of the Autograph Collection, St. Ermin’s Hotel offers a traditional afternoon tea service each day from 1pm to 5pm in the St. Ermin’s Library. Guests will enjoy homemade dishes with a modern twist like cranberry and roast nut, mature cheddar and lightly salted scones served warm with clotted cream and homemade jams; savory pastries like lobster quiche and tomato tart; delectable sandwiches such as cucumber, mint and crème fraiche, duck liver mousse, and dressed crab with avocado; and a selection of sweet pastries like juniper and violet macaroons, cucumber & mint syllabub, Tom Collins tart, and a sour cherry choux bun. With your nibbles, sip traditional JING teas and tea cocktails. While the “Marvelous Marteani” contains Hendrick’s gin, elderflower and white cranberry juice with a choice of cucumber caviar pearls or peach caviar pearls, the “Curious Cuppa” has an Earl Grey-infused Hendrick’s gin, rosewater, crème violet with a side of Champagne. While the tea service is regularly £29 (about $45 USD) per person, for £39 (about $60 USD) per person you can add a teapot of Hendrick’s gin cocktail to spice things up. And if you’re traveling with children, the hotel has created a superhero-inspired InfiniTea with fun items like the Cloak of Invisibility Juice (grape juice), cheese and ham sandwiches, Batman cupcakes, Superman brownies, and “Kryptonite Strips” (fresh squeezed apple jelly).

afternoon tea

Afternoon tea at the King Edward Hotel

The King Edward Hotel, Toronto

Website: thekingedwardhotel.com

Nicknamed the King Eddy, the King Edward Hotel has been serving High Tea since it first opened in 1903. Guests can choose between 20 different tea blends from around the world served in elegant Wedgewood china cups, as well as a delectable menu of traditional scones and Devonshire cream, finger sandwiches, fresh berries and cream, pastries and petit fours. Hors d’oeuvres and spirits are also available. The hotel’s afternoon tea service represents The King Edward’s deep respect for tradition and heritage. It also demonstrates ties to the British monarchy woven throughout the hotel’s history. And because afternoon tea is all about making time for yourself, a variety of themed tea service options are offered, like a Jester’s Tea Party for kids; a Champagne tea service where you’ll sample King’s Tea and a Glass of Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial; and Ploughman’s High Tea, where you’ll choose a Premium Tea from their humidor and enjoy bites like a savory sandwich selection; Stilton and cheddar cheese with wine jelly; country pate with gherkins; melton mowbray pie with Branston pickle; and crisp vegetable sticks. Afternoon tea is served every Friday through Sunday from 2:30pm to 5:00pm.

afternoon tea

Afternoon Tea at Nisbet Plantation Beach Club

Nisbet Plantation Beach Club, Nevis

Website: nisbetplantation.com

Nisbet Plantation Beach Club on Nevis, the Caribbean’s only historic plantation inn on the beach, offers daily afternoon tea service. Tea is served in British tradition — a nod to the island’s history as a former British colony — with island influences. Since it become a resort in the 1950s, afternoon tea has been served al fresco on the terrace of the Great House, c. 1778, with views gazing down the resort’s famous Avenue of Palms toward the Atlantic Ocean. In addition to serving traditional English Breakfast and chamomile teas, local bush teas are available including lemongrass and honey, mint and basil. Tea service also includes honey scones, made using local Nevisian honey, and cream, finger sandwiches, carrot and banana cakes. Afternoon tea is included in the daily rates for guests.

afternoon tea

Afternoon tea at The Peninsula Hong Kong

The Peninsula Hong Kong

Website: peninsula.com/Hong_Kong/en/default.aspx

Served in the magnificent Lobby with its classical columns and gargoyles, the tea service at The Peninsula Hong Kong is an iconic part of the hotel’s tradition. The service is the epitome of elegance and refined indulgence in a nostalgic colonial setting and is accompanied by a live, classical jazz band. Afternoon tea begins with savory finger sandwiches. Crusts are removed from freshly-baked white and brown bread, and the delicate slices are filled with ingredients such as smoked salmon, egg salad, chicken salad, prawns and cucumber. Warm, buttery scones arrive next, made from a recipe unchanged at The Peninsula for over half a century. They’re served with glistening strawberry jam and satiny Devonshire clotted cream. There are also other items like biscuits and pastries, and savories such as warm Stilton and leek tart or scrambled egg and smoked salmon in addition to the sandwiches and tea breads. Enjoy these delectable nibbles on fine china designed exclusively for the hotel by Tiffany & Co.

macau

Four Seasons, Macau

Four Seasons, Macau

Website: fourseasons.com/macau/

For those wanting to experience a traditional Chinese tea service, the Four Seasons in Macau offers a daily tea from 2:30pm to 5pm in their elegant lounge-style Windows Restaurant. Tea specialties, some of which include Lychee Green Tea and Flowery Early Grey, are served alongside a selection of savory sandwiches and sweet cakes. Some items you may enjoy include rose and lychee macaroons; chocolate with brandied cherry; cherry blossom cakes; fried chicken liver and hummus foccacia; smoked Salmon with mango and Kafir lime on a roll; and Parma ham and peach bruschetta with chili cheese.

For more on Chinese teas, check out Inspiration in China: Tea Moments and Proper Tasting Guide

tea ceremony

Tea ceremony at the Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo

Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo

Website: hotel-chinzanso-tokyo.jp/

At the Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo in Japan, guests can enjoy a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. The cultural offering is one-hour in duration and performed by the hotel’s own tea masters (it takes a minimum of 10 years of study and practice to become a tea master) in two historic, authentic tea houses — one of which is registered as a tangible cultural asset — on the property in the garden. The tea ceremony is an art form that goes back more than 1,000 years. It is not about drinking the tea, it is a ritual with precise and graceful movements in a careful sequence, with a focus on the entire process. The fine green tea powder (matcha) is carefully whisked and prepared, with the decor and exact procedure varying with the seasons. Seasons play a large role in the Japanese tea ceremony, and guests will be given seasonal sweets to help balance the bitterness of the tea.

For more on traditional tea ceremonies in Japan, check out The Beauty of Tradition: Experiencing A Japanese Tea Ceremony In Tokyo

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Jessica Festa

Jessica Festa is the editor of Epicure & Culture as well as Jessie on a Journey. She enjoys getting lost in new cities and having experiences you don’t read about in guidebooks. Some of her favorite travel experiences have been teaching English in Thailand, trekking her way through South America, backpacking Europe solo, road tripping through Australia, agritouring through Tuscany, and volunteering in Ghana.

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