Typically enjoyed between 3:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., afternoon tea is a tradition that dates back to the 1840s. Anna Maria Stanhope, Duchess of Bedford, is credited with transforming the time between lunch and dinner into an elegant late-afternoon meal that became wildly popular with the aristocrats of England and its colonies. Today, the tradition continues around the world. When traveling in a chartered flight, make it a point to take a late-afternoon break at one of the following locations for your own exceptional afternoon tea experiences.
Baccarat Hotel | New York, NY
New York’s Baccarat Hotel features the Tsar Nicholas II Afternoon Tea, which celebrates “champagne, caviar, and the time-honored tradition of afternoon tea.” The latest addition to accommodation’s Grand Salon tea program creates an opulent experience for you and guest with delights such as Petrossian caviar, vodka-infused blinis, and Krug champagne. The two- or four-course event celebrates historical figures associated with the Baccarat crystal brand. A dedicated tea sommelier oversees the inventive tea program, which serves Tsar Imperial Ossetra caviar, lavender shortbreads, and classic accouterments. Vegan options are also available upon request.
Shangri-La Hotel | Paris, France
In October 2018, the Shangri-La debuted its 100% Vegan Afternoon Tea created by Pastry Chef Michaël Bartocetti, keeping in line with the hotel’s green commitment. Bartocetti researched and trialed for three months to come up with a varied menu that uses fresh, local products without refined sugar or lactose to create healthier pastries that will remind of your favorite guilty pleasures. Afternoon tea at the hotel’s Le Bar Botaniste includes biscuits, scones, finger sandwiches and a selection of pastries. Tea service with champagne is also available.
The Fairmont Empress Hotel | Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Boasting one of the world’s most luxurious afternoon tea services, the Fairmont Empress serves its own unique blend of tea made with ingredients from Assam, Kenya, South India, Ceylon, and China. During the summer, the tea service is so popular that the hotel serves more tea to guests (about 400 people per day) than most hotels in London. The Lobby Lounge in which the tea is served is outfitted with antique tapestries, wingback chairs, hand-carved tables, and rich berry hues to complete the experience. Afternoon tea menu items include smoked salmon on blini, scones, shortbreads, tarts, quiche, sandwiches, chocolate, and macarons.
The Orangery | London, England
Located within the gardens at Kensington Palace, The Orangery was built in 1704 and used as a conservatory for delicate plants. The light-filled venue offers a couple of indulgent afternoon tea options: the English Orangery Afternoon Team and Royal Afternoon Tea. The English Orangery Afternoon Tea features a selection of artisan rolls, orange-scented currant scones with Cornish clotted cream, tea cakes, pastries, jams, and a range of British teas. The Royal Afternoon Tea offers the same tea service with a glass of sparkling wine. Walk off the food coma and buzz with a nice stroll through the gardens. Please note, The Orangery is undergoing renovations and a new building project at the time of publication and is slated to open around Easter 2020. In the meantime, the restaurant will operate out of nearby the Pavilion.
Other Great Places to Indulge in the Afternoon
- Pallazo Parigi, Milano, Italy
- Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong, China
- Merchant Hotel, Belfast, Ireland
- Palace Hotel, San Francisco
- Chewton Glen, New Forest, Hampshire, U.K.
- The Berkeley, London, England
- The Getty Villa, Malibu, California
- Eastern & Oriental Hotel, Penang, Malaysia
- Claridge’s Hotel, London, England