Afternoon Tea Fit For Royalty At The Plaza Hotel's Palm Court

The Palm Court at the Plaza Hotel has always been one of the country's premier destinations for a stunningly lavish (if expensive) afternoon tea service, and it recently reopened after a renovation and restoration spearheaded by chef Geoffrey Zakarian. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better afternoon tea anywhere, except for possibly Buckingham Palace.

The room is elegant, classy, and worthy of all its fame, especially after the complete restoration of its stained glass ceiling, which was covered over decades ago and reconstructed during the hotel's recent renovation. Even though no natural light gets in, it still has a bright and airy feel, and the new tables, chairs, and oval bar make for a comfortable, comforting experience.

Service is prompt and professional to the max, as the servers clearly know what they're doing. Tea is refilled at precisely the right moment, and they also know the menu inside and out, which they'll cheerfully explain to you.

There are three separate "tea" options, which each include a selection of sandwiches and savories, scones, and pastries and sweets. There's the New Yorker Tea ($90 per person), the Champagne Tea ($105 per person), and the Eloise Tea, which is geared toward kids and costs $39 per child and $55 per adult. The options really are more like a dainty smorgasbord than a staid tea service; for the Champagne Tea, for example, you'll receive items like a roasted prime rib sandwich, foie gras torchon, a lobster roll, freshly baked scones with Devonshire cream, lemon cream, and preserves, and seven different desserts. There's also a gluten-free tea selection that can be prepared upon request.

Afternoon tea is classic, timeless, and luxurious by definition (or it at least should be), and at the Plaza Hotel Palm Court it's taken to the max. There's no other experience quite like it, and it's a must-visit for those looking for an upscale afternoon.