I think the St. Regis hotel chain must pretty much set a standard for afternoon tea – both in Houston and in Abu Dhabi I’ve found their afternoon teas to be completely memorable. Though uniquely different, they are memorable in their own way, which keeps things interesting, and certainly has me adding more St. Regis afternoon teas to my list for when I next travel.
The St. Regis Abu Dhabi holds their tea in their Crystal Lounge, which more than impresses with its beautiful crystal chandelier and light atrium-like feel. Without a doubt, the most intriguing thing about this afternoon tea was the mixing of your own blend of tea at the table, the first time I’d ever seen that at afternoon tea.
The menu was kicked off with a refreshing cocktail which is always a good way to start off afternoon tea – that, or a nice tall glass of prosecco!
It was followed by our waiter bringing around a trolley of a whole array of teas and spices and lovely things to blend a pot (or pots) of tea especially according to our taste. One could still get a tea off the menu, but the allure of having a tea blended at the table is quite tantalizing! And if it’s not exactly what one wanted, they’d start all over again until one had a blend one was happy with. I highly recommend the afternoon tea anyway, but by all means, try having a tea that is blended for you!
Of the food, the scones were probably the highlight, nice and light and fluffy, with jam and clotted cream. The sandwiches were mostly the traditional, but I don’t recall them standing out as much as the scones, or the pastries, with a bit of Battenburg, macaron, and a chocolate cake, among a couple of other choices.
I’m sure being in Abu Dhabi helped feed the sense of the exotic that the hotel inspired – it really was such a gorgeous lounge, the chandelier pretty remarkable. But we were also served tea in a high-ceilinged, padded little alcove complete with tall cream curtains and a distinct sense of privacy about it. It sounds silly, maybe, but it felt a little James Bond-ish – you pull those curtains and anyone could be behind them, meeting for any purpose – good friends enjoying tea, or something much more sinister. (I know – I can just hear it – someone’s got too much imagination!).
At any rate, it was a gorgeous setting, and we spent a good part of the afternoon relaxing in our alcove enjoying the ambience, as we drank tea, checked our phones and tried not to chat too much about our day jobs, contemplated who the other diners might be and what might they do for a living, and just pinched ourselves that we were in Abu Dhabi!