Need to distress after a harrowing week of deadlines, traffic, and noise? Don’t have time for a weekend getaway? No need to fret. Head to a posh Los Angeles hotel for a relaxing afternoon tea. Resorts across Los Angeles offer teas running the gamut from traditional to modern. Here’s a sampling of where to indulge in finger sandwiches, scones, and sweets.
One of the few hotels that offer afternoon tea on a daily basis, The Peninsula presents its service in the sumptuous salon-like Living Room. Guests can enjoy fresh scones, vanilla cream profiteroles, berry tarts, champagne, traditional egg salad, cucumber, smoked salmon, charred vegetable, and curried chicken sandwiches and a choice of more than 30 different loose-leaf teas while being serenated by live harp music. Big comfy sofas, a large fireplace, and tables overlooking the English-style garden make for a classy sophisticated tea. $50, daily, three seatings, noon, 2:30 and 5 p.m.
Hotel Bel Air
Nestled in the winding roads above Beverly Hills, the Hotel Bel Air is situated on 12 acres of gardens and fountain courtyards.Headed by celeb chef Wolfgang Puck, the restaurant provides a modern and romantic setting for tea — the sunny Terrace overlooking the gardens and Swan Lake or inside in the cozy dining room. Their tea isn’t served in the traditional three-tier presentation, but includes standard tea sandwiches such as Maryland blue crab roll, Japanese cucumber with herb cream cheese, house-cured salmon with dill cream, Jidori chicken liver mousse, and a Gruyère grilled cheese. Cherry and blueberry scones are served with housemade raspberry and blueberry jam as well as apricot marmalade, and sweets are equally impressive with Sicilian orange cream puff, French macaron, and hazelnut financier among others. $60, Friday and Saturday 3 to 4 p.m.
The Montage Beverly Hills
Guests can choose from a traditional tea or a gentlemen’s tea at the elegant Montage Beverly Hills. Comfy sofas and chairs provide a cozy atmosphere, both by the large fireplace or overlooking the pretty outdoor courtyard. The harpist and antique china set a nice refined mood. The gentlemen’s tea includes a glass of Scotch, three slider sandwiches, pie, and cake. The traditional tea includes clotted cream, lemon curd, and raspberry jam accompanying the light, airy scones. Sandwiches include English cucumber, curried chicken salad, smoked salmon, roast beef, and a vegetable crepe. The assortment of pastries includes a milk chocolate caramel bar, lemon French macaron, brown butter madeleine, passion fruit tart, and a white chocolate mousse. $50 traditional tea, $58 gentlemen’s tea, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.
The Polo Lounge, Beverly Hills Hotel
For a Hollywood vibe head to the newly redecorated Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel. The pink and green color scheme and outdoor patio or indoor lounge dining options remain, but new light fixtures, furniture, and mirrors put a modern spin on this old classic. Curried chicken salad, smoked salmon mousse, chicken in puff pastry, fig blue cheese, and caramelized onion sandwiches and fresh scones provide the savory items. Sweets include Brie cheesecake, blueberry vanilla custard tart, raspberry macaron, opera hazelnut torte, and a chocolate pistachio roulade cake. $40, Friday and Saturday 3 to 5 p.m.
To view the Patisserie bar selection alone is worth a visit to José Andrés’ trendy hot spot for afternoon tea. The Bazaar’s Tres offers the direct opposite of a traditional tea. Modern and eclectic in décor, the food follows the design. Instead of smoked salmon sandwiches, Tres provides petite bagel and lox cones with dill crème fraîche and salmon roe, raspberry pipets filled with sweet liquid that guests can squeeze into their mouths, a twist on an "After Eight" mint featuring a fresh mint leaf embedded in a chocolate orb, foie gras and quince sandwiches, mini-stuffed buns with caviar and crème fraîche, cucumber stuffed goat cheese with tomato caviar and chocolate-covered Pop Rocks. Ten tea varieties are available including the smooth SLS house variety. $26, daily, 3 to 5 p.m.