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The Best Afternoon Tea Spots Around the U.S.

By: Patty Lee
July 08, 2022

Here’s where to treat yourself to a cuppa.

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Afternoon Tea Spots

Few dining experiences are as luxurious and impressive as afternoon tea. Dating back to the 1840s — when a peckish Duchess Anna of Bedford began taking a midday snack in her room — afternoon tea is a beloved British tradition that’s been embraced around the world, including here in the States. The ritual has evolved over the years — some take place in posh hotel restaurants, others in quaint cozy cafes — but they all have this in common: a strong pot of tea, a tower of sweets and savories and time to connect with family or friends. Before you head out to enjoy a cuppa, don’t forget to brush up on your afternoon tea etiquette.

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Photo: Photos By The Inyangs

The Hermitage Hotel

Nashville, Tennessee

To celebrate its 111th birthday, The Hermitage Hotel tapped fellow Nashvillian Reese Witherspoon to curate an afternoon tea program that highlighted her Southern roots. A partnership with Witherspoon’s lifestyle brand, Spillin’ Tea with Draper James offers a variety of tea sandwiches, tarts, scones and desserts inspired by the New Orleans native’s cookbook Whiskey in a Teacup. Along with loose leaf tea from In Pursuit of Tea, guests can also enjoy an actual cup of whiskey, a nod to how the storied hotel’s bar cleverly served alcohol during Prohibition. Tables are decked out in custom Draper James linen — the print is called The Hermitage Ditsy Floral — and there’s a special take-home gift, too. Afternoon tea is available Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

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The Palm Court at The Plaza Hotel

New York, New York

The iconic Palm Court at The Plaza reopened in 2014 after a renovation helmed by famed architect Thierry Despont that, as its name suggests, features plenty of greenery: Soaring palm trees, a trellised bar and caning create a lush and luxurious environment. Its famed daily afternoon tea made a return as well, featuring custom tableware, china and Palais de Thés tea. Guests can choose from four services, including the popular Eloise Tea inspired by the children’s book, each with a unique menu of savory sandwiches, warm scones and pastries served on regal round towers. Wine and cocktails by mixologist Brian Van Flandern are available for those who prefer things boozy.

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Camellias at Hotel Bennett

Charleston, South Carolina

Hotel Bennett joined Charleston’s exceptional hospitality scene in 2019, bringing a mix of old-world grandeur and Instagrammable moments to historic King Street. Its champagne lounge Camellias is dressed head-to-toe in pink, true to its namesake flower and the stunning marble bar and tabletops, all made using material reclaimed from the library that previously occupied Hotel Bennet’s location. Guests can enjoy tea service on the weekends in the glamorous lounge outfitted with an etched-mirror ceiling, cascading chandelier and plush velvet chairs. Choose from a selection of green, black and herbals teas from Tealeaves and three options: a Children’s Tea for kids 12 and under, Adult Tea featuring chilled canapes, tea sandwiches, scones and tea pastries from sibling restaurant La Pâtisserie or Crown Tea, which includes an additional flute of sparkling rosé.

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