Just because you’re travelling, doesn’t mean you can’t partake in some thoroughly British traditions as you traverse the globe. And it doesn’t get more British than a pot of earl grey, some thinly-sliced cucumber sandwiches and scones served with the finest clotted cream. Delicious.
If you hadn’t already guessed, we’re big fans of afternoon tea – even more so now it’s become a global trend for luxury enthusiasts. For those who pine for this time-honoured English tradition while on holiday, or for those who’ve never even tried it, we’ve hand-picked five must-try afternoon tea establishments from around the world.
Time to indulge…
This legendary, colonial-style hotel is renowned for its beautiful, whitewash design and an unmatched level of service – we wouldn’t expect any less from an afternoon tea establishment. Opt for the classic ‘High Tea’ package and you’ll be served a delectable hodgepodge of delicate finger sandwiches, miniature pastries and warm scones with clotted cream and home-made preserves in the opulent, high-ceilinged Tiffin Room. Tasty treats are served on a three-tier afternoon tea set and of course complemented by a selection of teas. The experience is sometimes accompanied by a glass of bubbly at additional cost.
The Lowell Hotel, New York City
Gatsby eat your heart out: today’s New York elite head for the Upper East Side’s decadent Lowell Hotel for a choice of three tea servings; Classic, Pembroke Royal (pictured above) or Lowell Imperial. The classic serves up English tea with sandwiches, scones and other sweet treats, while the other, dearer options are topped up with sparkling rosé, Champagne, foie gras canapés or lavish helpings of caviar. We’d tell you more about the petit fours, fruit tarts and Scottish salmon sarnies on offer, if we weren’t too busy drooling on our keyboards thinking about the scones.
Peacock Alley, Dubai
For a lesson in Englishness abroad, head for Peacock Alley at the Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah. Here you can partake in the Waldorf Astoria’s signature tea blend, complemented by a select range of home-made pastries and finger sandwiches inspired by the 7th Duchess of Bedford herself – it doesn’t get more British than that. The weather is thankfully nothing like here in the UK, so you can even take your tea on the terrace, enjoying consistent sunshine as you admire the shimmering Dubai skyline.
Fancy something even more luxurious? Try your afternoon tea at the seven-star Burj Al Arab, which offers sweet and savoury afternoon treats accompanied by soothing harp music.
Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel, Cape Town
If you’re looking for an afternoon tea icon outside of Old Blighty, The Mount Nelson is as good as it gets. Sip six different blends: Darjeeling, Kenya, Assam, Keemun, Yunnan and Ceylon, as well as myriad leaf and flowering teas. Keep an eye on the egg timer – that way you’ll know when your cuppa is perfect brewed. Light sandwiches go above and beyond the standard cucumber offering too; think delightfully-pink roast beef, handmade egg mayo and smoke salmon. Pair your tea with a South African melktert (milk tart) for a Cape Town spin on this traditional experience.
Double Dogs, Bangkok
Double Dogs is something of an in-secret in Bangkok. It’s more simple tea room than afternoon tea, but we love it for its authentic Thai feel, a real change from the 5 star hotels. Try smoky Fijian fusions, earthy black flavours and 15-year aged green teas with a delicate, sweet after taste. It doesn’t skimp on the sweet treats either: don’t miss the signature lemon tart – perfectly balanced with the sour tang of the citrus and a sugar-coated, crumbly pastry.