Finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones topped with clotted cream and lemon curd, tiers of confections and hand-selected tea blends — these are just a few of the decadent goodies offered at afternoon tea in Los Angeles. At these four luxury hotels around town, you too can indulge in a tradition that traces back more than 150 years to English nobility.
At this Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Bel-Air hideaway, you have a few delicious midday options: either opt for the traditional tea, or partake in a full day of over-the-top pampering with one of two delightful spa packages. The former includes sweet and savory bites like Maryland blue crab “rolls,” organic Jidori chicken salad, chocolate-dipped cream puffs and huckleberry cheesecake. And that’s on top of an already appealing lineup of bubbly and loose leaf teas. Should you choose to pair some spa time with all of your sipping, opt for the hotel’s In Good Health or Healthy Habits package; both include a 60-minute massage (Healthy Habits even comes with a facial), tea served on the private outdoor patio and a complimentary glass of champagne. The spa tea menu serves gluten- and sugar-free items that combine fun and flavor with added health benefits in selections such as Japanese cucumber and shiso tea sandwiches with yuzu cream; vegan dark chocolate mousse; and hand-harvested Japanese Uji Gyokuro Sencha tea.
The Langham Huntington, Pasadena
It’s said that the afternoon tea tradition was born at The Langham, London more than 150 years ago. The United Kingdom hotel was inspired by Anna Maria, the 7th Duchess of Bedford, lady in waiting to Queen Victoria, who asked her footman to deliver tea brewing equipment and bread and butter to her private room. The experience was so fulfilling that she started inviting her friends, and upgraded from bread and butter to sandwiches, scones, muffins, cakes, biscuits, gâteaux and fruit desserts — thus, the modern-day high tea was born. You can indulge in the sweet, savory and stylish tradition today at Four-Star The Langham Huntington, Pasadena. The newly unveiled afternoon tea service boasts bespoke Langham Rose teaware from the Wedgwood pottery house along with three-tiered spreads of savory tea sandwiches, scones, French macarons, chocolate praline mousse cups and signature tea blends like English Flower or Silk Road.
Montage Beverly Hills
Whether it’s a noontime respite after a morning of luxury shopping or your last destination on a busy day, tea at Five-Star Montage Beverly Hills is a must. Situated in the hotel’s sophisticated Parq Bar, tea comes with the bonus of gorgeous views of adjacent Beverly Canon Gardens. Sip a variety of hand-selected artisanal choices out of delicate, hand-painted china by porcelain artist Lissi Kaplan while noshing on tiers of sandwiches (think roast beef, smoked salmon and vegetable crepe), lemon poppy seed scones, and lemon raspberry bars, toasted coconut cupcakes, carrot macarons with cream cheese icing and other treats from executive pastry chef Julie Jangali.
The Peninsula Beverly Hills
Every afternoon tea experience here takes place in the Five-Star property’s Living Room, where you can lounge about on comfortable couches and accent chairs. Sip champagne and tea blends like The Belvedere, the hotel’s signature offering that has hints of dried fruits, while you nibble on delights like house-smoked salmon, curried chicken finger sandwiches, cassis macarons, currant scones, and strawberries and cream. For the months of May and June, The Peninsula partners with Barneys New York and Teen Line, a non-profit organization helping youth with daily issues, for an afternoon tea that features all of the traditional goodies (watercress sandwiches, tropical fruit tarts) plus a gift bag of cosmetics and a drink at Fred’s Beverly Hills.