9 Hotel Afternoon Teas Around the World Worth a Visit

Don't miss the whimsical Winnie the Pooh tea party in Vancouver or the zany Mad Hatter-inspired tea in London.
Sally French
By Sally French 
Published
Edited by Meghan Coyle

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Attending a hotel’s afternoon tea party can be a classy way to experience a luxury hotel — even if you're not staying there.

Some hotel tea parties are so extraordinary that they're practically worth planning a trip around. We’re spilling the tea on nine of the most exquisite afternoon tea experiences in New York City, London and beyond — plus how to save on your bookings.

1. The Palm Court at The Plaza, New York City

(Photo courtesy of The Plaza – a Fairmont Managed Hotel)

Like a scene straight out of the movie “Eloise at the Plaza,” sip on afternoon tea under the soaring stained-glass dome of The Palm Court in New York City’s iconic Plaza Hotel. The historic hotel has been serving afternoon tea for more than 115 years in an elegant affair that requires formal attire.

Kids are welcome, and there’s even a specific version of the menu with an Eloise theme available to children under 13.

2. Madame Clicquot Afternoon Tea at The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco

(Photo by Sally French)

This one is for people who love champagne just as much (if not more) as they love tea. It's held outside on the hotel's patio, which is a quiet reprieve — and one of San Francisco's best kept secrets.

The unique tea offering includes classic sandwiches, homemade sweets and of course tea, served alongside Veuve Clicquot Champagne. Though, you'll have to plan your San Francisco trip accordingly, as this event happens less frequently. It's only held on the last Sunday of the month from June through September. Things pick up in October, when it's held every Sunday in October.

3. Afternoon Tea at Claridge’s Hotel, London

(Photo courtesy of Claridge’s)

Tea is a classy affair at Claridge’s, a British landmark that began operations in 1856. Tea is served in The Foyer & Reading Room alongside a classic combination of finger sandwiches, scones and pastries. It’s all served on fine bone china and silverware, made specifically for Claridge’s.

4. H Tasting Lounge at The Westin Bayshore, Vancouver, Canada

(Photo courtesy of The Westin Bayshore Vancouver)

On weekends, the H Tasting Lounge at The Westin Bayshore, Vancouver transforms into the Hundred Acre Wood. And though Westin is Marriott’s wellness-focused brand, this particular hotel equates wellness with whimsy thanks to its Winnie the Pooh-inspired afternoon tea.

You might channel your inner bear and drizzle honey in your cup, and much of the food is honey-infused, too. That includes a snack tray dubbed “Pooh’s Pot of Gold” featuring cotton candy with honey crystals. Savory dishes include honey-smoked salmon and salad with honey-poached chicken. One of the desserts is a meringue whipped to resemble a beehive, served with — what else? — honey mousse.

5. Afternoon Hi Tea at The Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur, India

The Oberoi Udaivilas sits on the banks of Lake Pichola, in Udaipur, India, a destination that ranks as one of American Express Travel's 2024 Trending Destinations. Afternoon tea at the opulent hotel is reminiscent of an English tea experience while embracing local cuisine, including shufta (a sweet dish of dry fruit, sugar and saffron) and Anjeer badam ladoo (fig and almond sweet dumplings).

6. Afternoon Tea at Baccarat Hotel, New York City

(Photo courtesy of Baccarat Hotel)

The tea party at Baccarat Hotel offers another option for afternoon tea in NYC. And some of the packages — which are named for historical, royal personalities — are ultra-luxurious.

The “Princess of Monaco - Grace Kelly” package goes for $125. Meanwhile, bigger spenders might splurge on the “King Louis XV Caviar Tea,” which costs as much as $450, depending on the type of caviar you choose.

The cheapest package is designed for kids and inspired by “The Little Prince.” For $85, the tea service includes chicken and waffles, apple cider doughnuts and a mini-lobster roll.

7. Afternoon Tea at The Ballantyne, Charlotte, North Carolina

(Photo courtesy of The Ballantyne)

The Marriott-owned Ballantyne touts its classic Southern hospitality, but its tea service embraces Western Europe. You sip tea from London-based Rare Tea Co. and nosh on French macarons.

Plus, the Ballantyne occasionally hosts themed tea service, like the “Bridgerton” afternoon tea party inspired by the Netflix hit series. There, English Regency attire is encouraged.

8. Petrossian Bar at Bellagio Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas

The Petrossian Bar at the Bellagio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. (Photo by Sally French)

In a city known for alcoholic beverages, Las Vegas offers a fair amount of tea. That’s particularly relevant as more young people cut back on alcohol. Just 62% of Americans ages 18 to 34 say they drink, according to a Gallup Consumptions Habits survey of 1,015 adults conducted in July 2023. That’s down from 72% two decades ago.

For the best tea on the Las Vegas Strip, visit Petrossian Bar at Bellagio Hotel & Casino. which features a live pianist tickling the ivories on a grand piano.

It's a calm retreat from the chaos of the Strip, allowing you to sit on a plush chair in the Bellagio lobby without fighting the crowds who come in to experience one of Las Vegas's top free attractions, the adjacent Bellagio Conservatory.

9. Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea at Sanderson, London

(Photo courtesy of Ennismore)

For a whimsical experience, head to the Sanderson hotel in London. Inspired by “Alice in Wonderland,” the menu includes a sandwich filled with smoked carrots and seaweed creme mousse called “The Cheshire Cat.” There’s also a White Rabbit-inspired carrot cake on the menu.

Unlike many of the other hoity-toity tea parties on this list, afternoon tea here is a more casual affair, with no fancy dress required.

How to save on a hotel tea party

While delightful, splurging on a fancy hotel tea party is typically not cheap. Here are some ways to save:

Pay with a hotel credit card: Many hotel-branded credit cards grant bonus points on hotel spending (which often includes spending at their restaurants, too).

These co-branded credit cards (usually associated with big hotels or airlines) are popular. In fact, almost 74 million U.S. consumers accrue rewards by using co-branded credit cards, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s 2023 Consumer Credit Card Market Report.

Some co-branded credit cards also offer statement credits on qualifying travel purchases. Sometimes — though not always — purchases at hotel restaurants can trigger those credits.

Popular hotel credit cards
Chase Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card
Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card
NerdWallet Rating
Apply now

on Chase's website

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card
NerdWallet Rating
Apply now

on American Express' website

Rates & Fees
Hilton Honors American Express Card
Hilton Honors American Express Card
NerdWallet Rating
Apply now

on American Express' website

Rates & Fees
World Of Hyatt Credit Card
World of Hyatt Credit Card
NerdWallet Rating
Apply now

on Chase's website

Annual fee

$0.

$650.

$0.

$95.

New cardholder offer

Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after spending $1,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening with the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card.

Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

Earn 70,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points plus a Free Night Reward after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Card in the first 6 months of Card Membership. Offer Ends 7/31/2024. Terms apply.

Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Plus, up to 30,000 More Bonus Points by earning 2 Bonus Points total per $1 spent in the first 6 months from account opening on purchases that normally earn 1 Bonus Point, on up to $15,000 spent.

Rewards

• 3 points per $1 at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.

• 2 points per $1 on other travel purchases (such as airfare, taxis and trains).

• 1 point per $1 on all other eligible purchases.

• 6 points per $1 at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.

• 3 points per $1 at restaurants worldwide and on flights booked directly with airlines.

• 2 points per $1 on all other eligible purchases.

Terms apply.

• 7 points per $1 on eligible purchases with a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio.

• 5 points per $1 at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations.

• 3 points per $1 on all other eligible purchases.

Terms apply.

• 4 points per $1 at Hyatt hotels and resorts.

• 2 points per $1 on dining, airline tickets purchased directly from the airline, gym memberships, and local transit and commuting.

• 1 point per $1 on all other eligible purchases.

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Flex your hotel elite status: Some hotel loyalty programs offer freebies to elite status members, which can help cover the cost of tea. For example, Hilton Honors members with Hilton Honors™ Gold Status or higher receive a daily food and beverage credit at certain hotels. The credit’s value varies by property but can run as high as $25 per guest (up to two guests) per day. Marriott Bonvoy members with Platinum Elite status or higher are eligible for a similar credit, but it’s only at certain hotels, and it’s just $10 per stay. Neither credit will cover a tea service completely, but it can make it cheaper.

To view rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Card, see this page.
To view rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card, see this page.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are some of the best travel credit cards of 2024:

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