T – Having Tea at a Hotel or Inn

Welcome to the #AtoZ Blog Challenge and a Tour of Hotels & Inns

AntiqueTablewareTaking afternoon tea at a luxurious hotel or inn is a wonderful way to enjoy the ambiance of the surroundings for a few hours. Whether with friends or a grandchild, afternoon tea takes you through the doors of a destination you might not otherwise see on your travels because you are not staying overnight.

There are three basic types of Afternoon Tea:      Cream Tea – Tea, scones, jam and cream

              Light Tea – Tea, scones and sweets.                            Full Tea – Tea, savories, scones, sweets and dessert. Most tea rooms today serve tea from three to five o’clock. The menu has also changed from tea, bread, butter and cakes, to include three particular courses served specifically in this order: Savories – Tiny sandwiches or appetizers  Scones – Served with jam and Devonshire or clotted cream Pastries – Cakes, cookies, shortbread and sweets

A few tips about serving tea or being served…
Milk is served with tea, not cream. Cream is too heavy and masks the taste of the tea. Although some pour their milk in the cup first, it is probably better to pour the milk in the tea after it is in the cup in order to get the correct amount. Remove the tea bag from the cup and place it on a side saucer or in a slop bowl. Do not use the string to wrap around or squeeze the tea bag. When serving lemon with tea, lemon slices are preferable, not wedges. Either provide a small fork or lemon fork for your guests, or the tea server can place a slice in the tea cup after the tea has been poured. Never add lemon with milk since the lemon’s citric acid will cause the proteins in the milk to curdle.

Here are eight hotels listed as best for afternoon teas.(USA Today) I have added the link to the hotels I have written about during the blog challenge. 1) The Jefferson in Richmond, VA.  2) The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, CO. 3)  Park Hyatt Washington in Washington, D.C. 4) The Palm Court at The Drake Hotel in Chicago 5)  Lady Mendl’s Tea Salon at the Inn at Irving Place in New York City 6) The St. Regis San Francisco 7) The Fairmont Olympic in Seattle  8) The Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary, N.C.




“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour  dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”
― Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady


About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her: Stephenyhoughtlin.com
This entry was posted in A to Z Blog Challenge April 2016 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

45 Responses to T – Having Tea at a Hotel or Inn

  1. This is very sweet post. I enjoyed learning about the right way to drink tea.

    Aneeta from
    How to Tell a Great Story

  2. BellyBytes says:

    I love high tea in fancy hotels. They are so relaxing and decadent!

    • I don’t do it that often, but when I have a few ladies over for tea using my pretty china tea cups etc. everyone seems to enjoy. We just don’t take the time with our busy lives. I know if we could have high tea in one of the hotels you’ve experience, we would have lots to talk about.

  3. pbmgarden says:

    This is a fun post Stepheny. My only tea experience was at Carolina Inn. (There is a problem with the links to the hotels serving tea. URLs lead to nonexistent pages on your site.)

    • Wish the two of us could have tea at the Inn. It is so lovely out their in the lobby areas. I will check on my links. Thanks. Sending you a hug and hoping to see you during the Chapel Hill Garden Club tour. I NEED to come see your garden. Cheers.

  4. Amy Putkonen says:

    Very interesting! I am visiting from the #AtoZ! I’ve often wondered about teas. I’ve never been to one. I should go! They have one at Macy’s in downtown Minneapolis. Thanks for a great intro to High Tea!

    • Take a friend and enjoy the experience. Call ahead to check on what they charge, which may having you look for another place. Making reservation is a good idea too. I bet there are hotels or inns beside Macy’s that offer afternoon tea too. It makes you feel very grown up. Such a civilized thing to do, taking time out to just relax and enjoy the moment. Let me know what you think.

  5. trishafaye says:

    Beautiful photos to go with this post. Now my mere coffee mug and tea bag seem so…plain and boring.

  6. Alice Gerard says:

    I love tea!!! Thank you for showing the correct way to have a tea party! I love to drink my tea from a bone china tea cup. It seems pretty and festive and makes me feel like the Queen, even if it is only the Queen of Silly.
    Thank you for visiting my blog (alice’s grand adventures). Your comments were very much appreciated.

  7. Amanda Fleet says:

    I LOVE a good cup of tea! Don’t drink coffee and cream teas are a bit of a weakness of mine!
    I found you via the A to Z Challenge.

    Amanda (from http://www.amandafleet.co.uk)

  8. claowue says:

    Thanks for the invitation to tea. I love a cuppa.
    Hm, I’d take a Cream Tea, please because Scones with cream and jam are my favorite. Well, I don’t get it here in Germany, perhaps that’s why. So it’s something special to me.

  9. I’ve been to the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs but didn’t try tea. I didn’t know there were so many ‘rules.’ I never eat anything when I make hot tea.

    Susan Says

  10. A full tea sounds like fun! Around where I live, most people prefer iced sweet tea, and milk in tea is unheard of. I like hot tea better, and I don’t mind a little milk.

  11. My husband was originally from the London area, and when he first came to the US he was horrified at what passed for “tea” in most restaurants! (A pot of hot water, those little packaged creamer cups, and a Lipton tea bag.) Luckily I live in a cool little town which has a bona fide tea room. 🙂
    Returning visit from A to Z. You asked about the term “flash fiction”. Yes, it’s word count that primarily determines whether it’s called that (under 1000 words is generally the accepted limit). Also, it should be a complete story – beginning, middle, and end, even if you only hint at certain details due to word limit. Sometimes people publish works which aren’t really stories but rather scenes or vignettes. But true “flash” always has a story. Thanks for asking, and happy A to Z!
    P.S. I’ll be back to visit your blog over the summer, when I have more time to read and enjoy your other entries.

  12. Gregory says:

    Very interesting. Didn’t know there were three (3) teas. Great site!

  13. mshatch says:

    The next time I’m back in San Francisco I’m going to make it a point to have afternoon tea at the St. Regis. Tea, scones, sweets…how could that not be awesome?

  14. Beverly says:

    You make me want to visit one of those fancy hotels and have tea. It sounds so elegant. I’m not sure we have any places like this in our area. Maybe I should check. Lovely post. Beautiful pictures.

  15. kristin says:

    My grandmother used to serve us cambric tea when we were growing up and I still prefer my tea with milk. Unless I am at a Chinese restaurant. My only tea experience outside of the family was when we first moved to Atlanta and a neighbor who was from England invited several of us over for tea. It was different than I expected. I think I would enjoy an authentic tea room experience. Here at home i use a cup my daughter made for me. Not your average tea cup and not fine china, but beautiful and I enjoy using it.
    Finding Eliza

  16. cynthiamvoss says:

    This was such a nice post. I had fun imagining myself drinking tea in beautiful surroundings 🙂

  17. L.G. Keltner says:

    I love tea, and having tea at a nice hotel or inn sounds like a fantastic way to spend an afternoon!

  18. Yea – you have a Colorado place on this list! I have yet to visit the Broadmoor, but high tea at the Brown Palace in Denver and the Dushanbe Tea House in Boulder are both excellent options.

  19. psharmarao says:

    Lots of information in simple, lucid style. visiting from AtoZ challenege http://www.poojasharmarao.blogspot.com

  20. Returning your visit on the #atozchallenge, hello! I do enjoy a good cream tea, and it has become a regular habit with my “Mummy friends” during recent years while we entertain our toddlers and preschool children. We enjoy the cream tea, while they explore the play area 😉https://spookymrsgreen.com/2016/04/23/atozchallenge-t-is-for-tea-break/

  21. As someone born and raised in the county of Devon, and having spent twenty years working for Twinings, you’d think I have plenty to say about this. However, I rarely drink black tea and my ongoing efforts to keep my weight under some kind of control prevent me from consuming clotted cream (even though I love the stuff).
    I do know that some years ago (I don’t know if it’s still true), teabags produced for sale in the US contained 20% less tea than the equivalent sold in UK (I’m thinking English Breakfast blend) because the American consumer doesn’t like tea as strong as does his British counterpart.

  22. franklparker says:

    Hi Stpheny. Thanks for popping by my site and reading about my Mum. I love coincidences (my ‘C’ in atoz!) so to discover you writing about afternoon tea yesterday was serendipidous. I belong to a book group at my local library. A few weeks ago one of our number discovered that the movie of Dickens’ “Great Expectations” was due to be screened at another library about 40 miles away yesterday afternoon. We all agreed it would be a nice way to spend an afternoon together. And guess what! Afterwards we went for tea in a nearby hotel.

  23. Shilpa Garg says:

    Tea is my elixir and simply loved the tea party with you here! And got to know a few new things about tea and its rituals too. Thanks Stepheny! 🙂

  24. Nilanjana Bose says:

    Nice to find out how they do the afternoon tea in USA hotels. I come from a tea growing region and tea has cult status in my own home state. Teabags would be a total no-no! 🙂 Must be loose leaf, first flush, blended and brewed correctly and to the right strength etc etc.

    The full tea sounds sinfully delish!

  25. I am impressed, Dearie!
    Growing up with Gramma Rabbit’s strict tea etiquette was not easy. I remember her saying: “Colonists (Americans) do not know how to serve tea. It belongs in a cup not a mug! And they don’t know how to make it!”
    Before she died, she made me promise I wouldn’t marry a colonist girl. I didn’t know any at the time, (I was 11) so it seemed okay.
    She would be shocked and so proud!

    Sir Leprechaunrabbit

  26. Jemima Pett says:

    So glad someone makes tea properly 🙂 I made some sultanas scones this afternoon – would you like one?
    Jemima Pett

  27. diedre says:

    What a lovely, enlightening post! Though I drink mostly sweet sun tea, I’ll never be able to drink hot tea from any old coffee cup again;-)

  28. kiwinana says:

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my post in the A to Z challenge.
    Nice to have met you, now I’m following you I will be able to enjoy reading more of your posts.
    Happy days writing.

  29. Sabina says:

    I’m not big on tea itself, but the tea time ritual has always seemed like a lot of fun to me! Great work.

  30. Andrea @ Maybe It's Just Me says:

    Now I am thirsty…and hungry!I cringe every time I see my grandmother wrap that string around her teabag to squeeze it…bleah!

  31. Birgit says:

    I never heard of wrapping the string around a teabag. I like to have something at 3pm but once, I was in the Hotel Frontenac, I was sick and looked like a drowned rat and sat there having a hot milk to soothe my throat. I was the last one who should have been In There

  32. I love afternoon tea in fancy hotels. The Ritz in Buckhead (Atlanta, GA) does a wonderful afternoon tea. I like it when they bring you dishes of clotted cream and lemon curd for the scones. Some of the best places I’ve had tea were oversea. The Abbey Court in London, The Princess in Bermuda, The Chateau in Tongariro, New Zealand, and Casa Fuster in Barcelona.

  33. denizb33 says:

    I love afternoon tea! I hadn’t heard of that place in New York — must make a note for if we go back there…

  34. The high tea is so elegant and a great way to celebrate an occasion. Going to have to enjoy a drive through your state with many stops to at least enjoy the grandeur of these hotels.
    Im blogging from Fill the cracks and Moondustwriter’s Blog. Happy A to Zing!

  35. Cherdo says:

    Who knew that teas were such an interesting topic? And your pictures make me want to jump in the car right now and go visit some of those beautiful hotels. Lovely blog.


  36. I love, love, love your take on this challenge. Mmmm, taking tea in a lovely destination sounds marvelous.

  37. doreeweller says:

    I’ve never done an afternoon tea, but I think it’s something I would enjoy at some point.
    @DoreeWeller from
    Doree Weller’s Blog

  38. Mmmmmmmmm I would love to have a tea party! I think I’ll put one together. Lovely post. I had no idea that there was such a varie T ….lol

  39. Nothing nicer than afternoon tea in a special place. One of my favorite memories is when my writer’s group here in Albuquerque went to the St. James’s Tea Rooms for our winter holiday celebration. We had our own private room furnished with over-stuffed plush Victorian chairs and sofas, wafting curtains, candles, and all kinds of knick-knacks and paintings. And of course the delicious spread of savory and sweet treats, plus the tea in beautiful cups and saucers. What a day. Everyone should have afternoon tea at least once in their lives!

  40. John Holton says:

    I’m not a tea drinker, but when we were in Scotland years ago we took a trip through the Highlands to the other coast, and on the way back we stopped for full tea. That’s a full meal…

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