Holiday Afternoon Teas Provide A Festive, Relaxing Retreat In Los Angeles

Is holiday craziness bringing stress to your life? The pressure to find the perfect gifts for family and friends can leave one feeling frazzled. No need to fret, however; there are plenty of Los Angeles resorts offering special and festive, yet calming, afternoon tea services to relax and unwind.

The Montage Beverly Hills
At the elegant Montage Beverly Hills, guests can enjoy the Ruinart Champagne Holiday Tea featuring egg salad, chicken salad, smoked salmon, roast beef, vegetable, and English cucumber sandwiches; pastries including a dulce de leche chocolate tart; pumpkin roulade; pistachio éclair; peppermint macaron; traditional and cinnamon raisin scones; and an assortment of cookies with Champagne and the Montage seasonal or exclusive blends of teas or traditional green, black, and fruit varieties. Well-cushioned 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 refined mood. $75; daily seatings through January 5 from noon to 4 p.m.

The Peninsula
One of the few hotels that offer afternoon tea on a daily basis, The Peninsula presents a special holiday tea through the end of December. Guests can enjoy fresh currant scones; traditional egg salad, cucumber, smoked salmon, and curried chicken sandwiches; and a choice of more than 30 different loose-leaf teas while being serenaded by a live harpist. Big comfortable sofas, a large fireplace, and tables overlooking the English-style garden make for a classy sophisticated tea. A portion of the proceeds are donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. $65; three daily seatings: noon, 2:30, and 5 p.m.

The Polo Lounge, Beverly Hills Hotel
For a Hollywood vibe, head to the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel for their traditional tea. Curried chicken salad; smoked salmon mousse; chicken in puff pastry; and fig, blue cheese, and caramelized onion sandwiches, along with fresh scones, comprise 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.

Wolfgang Puck, 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. There, celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck's namesake 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 special holiday version includes a Maryland blue crab roll; a wild mushroom and goat cheese en croute; and smoked salmon, chicken salad, cucumber, and grilled cheese sandwiches. Sour cherry and blueberry scones are served with housemade raspberry, blueberry jam, and apricot marmalade, and holiday sweets include a chocolate Yule log; peppermint French macaroons; a pumpkin whoopie pie; and a raspberry Linzer torte. $60; seatings: Friday and Saturday 3 to 4 p.m.