These days you don't need to be a grown up to enjoy the elegance and tradition of a high tea. Increasingly hotels across the country are now catering to a much younger clientele.
And it's not just a spot of tea with pinkies held high and stogy cucumber sandwiches, either. High tea menus are designed especially for kids in mind and include nibbles of PB&J, gelato --and of course, tea.
Legend has it that afternoon tea was started in the mid-1800s by the English Duchess of Bedford who found herself "sinking" with fatigue from hunger. She decided to have some friends over for assorted snacks and tea. Soon the idea of gathering for afternoon tea spread across high society -- and the tradition was born.
With the holiday season in full swing, here are some on the most creative and fun hotel teas where you can start your own tradition, and taking a break from all the Christmas shopping.
108 E. Superior St. Chicago (312) 337-2888
The Peninsula Hotel in Chicago, Ill. offers an exquisite tea and treat menu, including goodies such as Toasted Almond Pot de Crème or Bavarian Cheesecake between scones, sweets and tea. The Children's Tea menu includes PB&J and mini cheeseburgers. The elegant lobby is modeled after the original Peninsula in Hong Kong and serves afternoon tea daily. Children’s menus are available each day with a variety of offerings.
$36 per person or $18 kids' (under 12) menu, $25 with Peninsula teddy bear
411 University Street Seattle, WA (206) 621-7889
Pack up the kids and visit the Georgian Tea at the opulent Georgian Room at the Fairmont. For the holiday season, join the Georgian Tea with a delightful holiday tea in the warm and festive setting of The Georgian. Holiday tea includes a selection of tempting sweets, house-made scones and delicate finger sandwiches. Their Tea Sommelier suggests our Olympic Holiday Tea- perfect for a winter warm-up.
Price ranges between $39 - $49 for adults and $19 for children aged 6-12
New York City
35 East 76th Street at Madison Avenue (212)-744-1600.
This next place is a must-visit for the children! Taking place in the famous Bemelmans Bar, Madeline’s Tea pays tribute to the creator of the Madeline children’s book series. Surrounded by the author/illustrator's delightful murals, the setting is small and intimate, the food and tea are plentiful and the music is beautiful. The kids will love the foods and Madeline dolls, books, napkins and plates strewn about. Tina deVaron, singer and pianist, get the children up on their feet singing requests, everything from "The Sound of Music" to the Twelve Days of Christmas to Taylor Swift. The menu is a child’s heaven with a buffet that offers children’s favorites like chicken fingers, as well as more traditional tea sandwiches. This place is perfect for children under 10 who love music and dressing up fancy!
$70 per person, $35 for children under 3
211 Pittsboro Street Chapel Hill, NC (919)-918-2735
Served in the cozy hotel lobby at the Carolina Inn Piedmont Dining Room overlooking our garden terrace, the Afternoon Tea service welcomes the children for a traditional warm greeting from the south. Their Tea Hostess and Pastry Chef Suzanne Menius will adjust their menu to flatter the tastes of the young patrons. The Afternoon Tea wishes for the children to experience the grace and charm of our Afternoon Tea and partake in this cherished tradition.
The Classic Tea $20.00, The Little Prince & Princess Tea (ages 7 - 12) $17.00, Children (ages 4 - 6) $12.00
465 South La Cienega Blvd. Los Angeles, CA (310) 247-0400
The SLS Hotel is known for its avant-garde décor and Trés is known for its avant-garde menu. You won’t find any scones at this tea, but I bet your kids will enjoy the unique take on peanut butter sandwiches its famous chef José Andrés has conjured up, as well as his chocolate pop rocks. The décor is so fascinating, it’s sure to keep your kids occupied playing I Spy while your tea is served. Afternoon tea, served seven days a week, showcases traditional sweets and savories paired with a premium selection of distinctive teas and coffees.
Mommy and Me Tea is served daily from 3pm – 5pm and costs $29 per person
1 Logan Square Philadelphia, PA (215) 963-1500
Bring your children with you to indulge in one of the most extensive afternoon tea menu. From the home-made scones with lemon curd, to the tea sandwiches, to the delectable desserts, it is flawless. Served on mismatched china in the lovely Swann Lounge.
2121 McKinney Ave., Dallas, TX (214)-922-4817
Enjoy Saturday Afternoon Tea in the hotel's Lobby Lounge. Kids will love pastry chef Morgan Wilson's Holiday Cupcake Teas, featuring a flight of five mini cupcakes and one choice of beverage (tea, coffee, chocolate or cider).Indulge in the hotels lobby boutique, offers morning coffee, fresh pastries, and gelato.
$28 per person
600 Stockton at California Street - San Francisco, CA (415) 296-7465
From November 30 - December 24, 2012 at two seating’s: 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., children and their favorite stuffed animals gather in The Terrace Courtyard Tent for this popular tradition featuring Santa Claus’ Elf and the giant Ritz-Carlton Teddy Bear. A special tea experience of hot chocolate, teddy bear cookies and assorted sandwiches will be served while the kids enjoy holiday entertainment. A portion of the proceeds will benefit The Greater Bay Area Make-A-Wish Foundation.
$85 per guest, exclusive of tax and gratuity