My travel tradition of taking afternoon tea at an extravagant venue in every city I visit began back in 2006 when I visited Hong Kong with my friend Simon. It was my first trip to Asia and Hong Kong had been on my wish list for a long, long time.
The Peninsula Hotel is a beautiful colonial hotel which opened back in the 1920s and is renowned one of the best places to stay in Hong Kong (a night here is still on my wish list!). I love its over the top grandeur and the fact that guests can request to be driven around the city in one of the hotel’s fleet of ‘Peninsula green’ Rolls-Royces!
Exploring the Peninsula hotel, Hong Kong
When we arrived at the Peninsula, instead of heading straight to the Lobby’s afternoon tea area we instead explored the public areas of the hotel. All around the edge of the lobby are designer boutiques where the rich and powerful can pick up a quick Louis Vuitton bag or new Tiffany necklace if they wish. So after a bit of window shopping we headed up the winding staircase to check out upstairs – and watch the string quartet (The Lobby Strings) play – before heading downstairs and getting seated.
Afternoon tea at the Peninsula, Hong Kong
The afternoon tea was a luxurious treat for us at the time, but it was a great experience that I still look back and think about from time to time all these years later.
I dressed up and made a real occasion of it, enjoying our leaf tea, fresh sandwiches and tasty cakes – a refreshing change from the rice and noodles we’d be devouring for the previous week. We also had the chance to have a chuckle at someone other than ourselves – for the past week we’d been laughed at by locals when trying to master the art of eating with chopsticks, so when we turned to see the table next to us attempting to eat a scone with a knife and fork, we had to laugh.
The food was tasty, the service fine and we had a grand time just relaxing and soaking in the atmosphere – we spent a good few hours there without any pressure to move on, which was lovely.
Hong Kong is a city that of constant hustle and bustle, but when you enter the Peninsula you feel like the world just stops which can be a lovely break from the manic streets outside.
It was here that my love of afternoon teas really began and to this day I enjoy nothing more than discovering interesting new venues to try out. Where’s your favourite afternoon tea venue – I’d love to hear of some new recommendations!