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Taking Tea with Fairmont

A mere 4710 years (give or take a century) since a burning tea leaf floated into the air and landed in the Chinese Emperor's mug of hot water, tea is arguably more popular than ever. Green teas, matcha teas, tea lattes and even "mar-tea-nis" are taking the place of traditional steeped black tea, as the health benefits and antioxidant properties of tea varieties are more widely explored and appreciated.

Meanwhile, the traditional late afternoon restorative cup of tea with small plates of food makes as much sense today as it did in 1840 when Anna, Duchess of Bedford, first began surreptitiously requesting sandwiches and tea to her room to silence her hunger "grumbles" between lunch and late summer dinners.

With a reputation for knowing how to do tea right – from classic afternoon tea with scones to a tea party for the little ones - Fairmont Hotels & Resorts rolls out the silver cart for tea aficionados of all ages.

Perfectly Classic Tea
The traditions of afternoon tea have returned to The Savoy, A Fairmont Managed Hotel.  Afternoon tea and high tea are once again served in the grand environs of the Thames Foyer which has been redesigned by the world-renowned Pierre Yves Rochon. Guests sit beneath a stunning art deco-inspired glass dome, which is based on a sketch drawn by a guest that was discovered in the hotel archives. The dome fills the space with natural light on even the dullest day and adds a sense of grandeur to the proceedings.  Tea is served in this magnificently sociable spot to the gentle accompaniment of the hotel's resident pianist, who plays from under a beautiful new gazebo. Also new is Savoy Tea, a chic, bijou store that offers The Savoy's own teas and an opportunity to watch the hotel's pastry chefs and chocolatiers create fresh cakes and pastries.

Since 1907, The Fairmont San Francisco has delighted generations with its elegant tradition of afternoon tea.  The Laurel Court, which served tea from 1907 to 1937, reopened in 2001 after six decades of closure to once again offer San Francisco's most sophisticated tea. The chef blends classic and contemporary cuisine to produce a unique and truly satisfying afternoon tea service.  Guests can select from a delicious variety of teas and enjoy freshly baked scones with English Devonshire cream, lemon curd and homemade preserves; an assortment of pastries; and delectable tea sandwiches, including Dungeness Crab and Mango Salad on a Corn Muffin and Five-Spice Beef Tenderloin on a Black Olive Baguette. 

Sparkles, sparkles everywhere, as guests sip a glass of bubbly while gazing at the glittering view of Lake Louise and the Victoria Glacier while taking afternoon tea at The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. Traditional English Tea is served with an opening glass of sparkling wine, followed by fresh fruit in Cointreau. Over a pot of exclusively blended tea, guests enjoy a three tiered tray of perfect bite-sized finger sandwiches, buttermilk scones with Devonshire cream and homemade pastries and sweets.

Traditional Afternoon Tea and Royal Tea feature sandwiches and pastries on fine china in the Library Bar at Toronto's The Fairmont Royal York every Saturday and Sunday. An accompanying tour of the hotel's famous rooftop herb garden and bee apiary 14 stories above ground make the world of tea an adventure for all. This social occasion serves as a memorable afternoon that is sure to surprise and entertain. Every tea seating wraps up with a birds' eye look at the city from the hotel's rooftop garden.  

Tea with Glam
The Jasmine Lounge in The Fairmont Peace Hotel is Shanghai's original and most fashionable location for tea since the founding owner, Sir Victor Sassoon, first introduced the European ritual of high tea to the city in the 1930s. Today, nowhere in Shanghai serves a finer selection of green, black estate, herbal, fruit and specialty teas from around the world. The Swarovski Crystal Afternoon Tea is a favorite for special occasions, including a glass of Champagne served in a Swarovski crystal flute, accompanied by fresh berries, almond tuilles and hand-crafted chocolate pralines.

Guests can experience the Royal Treatment in the opulent surroundings of the Empress Tea Lobby overlooking Victoria's Inner Harbour. The Fairmont Empress has been serving Victoria's grandest tradition of Afternoon Tea for over a century to famed celebrities, dignitaries and royalty.  Afternoon Royal Tea at the Empress begins with a glass of award-winning Sumac Ridge Steller's Jay Brut followed by the secret Tea at the Empress Blend, accompanied with an unrivalled selection of freshly baked raisin scones, sandwiches and pastries. Little princesses and princes are also welcomed with suitably appropriate tea designed for their tastes. Afternoon Tea is an absolute 'must do' for all who visit Victoria.

The Palm Court in the legendary New York hotel The Plaza has recently re-opened following a multi-million dollar restoration. Designed in 1907 under the name 'The Tea Room', The Palm Court is a classic New York destination for the 'who's who' of politicians, dignitaries, celebrities and socialites. Among the extensive tea menu, one of the favorites is the New Yorker Tea, featuring quintessential "New Yorker" menu items such as black and white cookies, organic roast beef on a pretzel roll, and New York cheesecake.

Not Your Grandmother's Tea
The Matcha Martini is shaken, not steeped, for the modern tea enthusiast at The Fairmont Banff Springs. Afternoon tea service is served in the grand Rundle Lounge, providing breathtaking views of the Bow River, Rundle Mountain and the Banff Springs Golf Course. For the strict teetotalers twelve fine loose leaf teas are on offer, accompanied by delectable pastries and traditional finger sandwiches.

Tea and Toes! This inspired combination is being served at Fairmont St Andrews in Scotland. This delightful afternoon diversion begins with a 60 minute pedicure, including exfoliation, foot soak in sea salts and minerals, a paraffin treatment and a foot massage with hydrating cream. The pampering culminates with nail shaping and polish application. While the polish dries, guests will finish off with a spot of afternoon tea in the Atrium. Champagne optional!

Global infusions are on the tea menu at The Fairmont Château Whistler.  An internationally-inspired collection of black, green and artisan teas (including bubblegum tea for the kids) is available to compliment a selection of delightful petite fours, Victorian scones, Devonshire cream, strawberry preserves and dainty finger sandwiches.

Inspired by an era of romance and charm, the royal court awaits at The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, the city's iconic castle in the heart of it all. The Victorian Tea is an enchanting afternoon respite. Steeped in tradition, guests will savor signature Fairmont teas that feature a limited edition commemorative 1907 Centennial blend, Versailles Lavender Earl Grey, Lemon Rooibos and more. Served in traditional china tea cups from the hotel's collection, one can travel and taste blends from around the world one sip at a time.

Afternoon tea is quickly evolving as a brilliant way to do business, without blowing one's expense account or frazzling nerves. Fairmont the Queen Elizabeth offers a stress-free ambiance conducive to a business meeting or a moment of sheer indulgence at Le Montréalais restaurant. Guests can nibble gracefully on a cucumber sandwich, sip gourmet tea from fine bone English china and enjoy city views through large panoramic windows. If business isn't on the agenda, it's the perfect setting to entertain friends or to introduce children to the civilized pleasures of afternoon tea.  The Junior Tea includes a choice of Herbal tea or hot chocolate and a selection of miniatures pastries or macaroons. What kid can resist playing grown-up if it involves eating dessert?

Award-Winning Tea
The award-winning afternoon tea at The Wohnhalle at Fairmont Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten is served among the cozy atmosphere of a turn-of-the-century country house. The room features a wood burning fireplace, wainscoting, marble floors, oil paintings, stuccoed ceilings, lavish red drapes and antique armchairs and sofas. The classic British Afternoon Sea service includes small culinary delicacies, éclairs, mille-feuilles and fruit tarts along with specially selected fine teas such as Morning Dew Tea, Nurbong and Jungpana. The Wohnhalle has twice been awarded with the "Golden Teacup", which is presented regionally by the Tea Culture Group 5000.

Praised by the New York Times as having the best afternoon tea in Bermuda, The Heritage Court at The Fairmont Hamilton Princess offers 14 varieties of loose leaf black, green, herbal and fruit teas, including the signature Princess Bermuda Blend created by Master Tea Blender John Harney.  A fine assortment of finger sandwiches is served on silver trays, such as Parma ham and cantaloupe on chive wheat rounds or minted cucumber and chevre on Bermuda onion rolls. Savory scones follow, with kumquat jam and traditional Devonshire clotted cream. After a selection of petits fours, such as pear amandine tart or the sinful black forest chocolate cup, the tea finishes with the hotel's famous small scoop of sorbet. 

Authentically Local Tea
Not for all the tea in China would Fairmont Yangcheng Lake in Kunshan, China skimp on its choice of local, luxury teas. The hotel features seasonal and authentically local varieties of tea. From May to July, typical tea varieties would include Bi Luo Chun tea, Tie-Kwan-Yin tea, Puer tea, Yellow Mountain Maofeng tea, West Lake Longjing tea, Oolong tea, Jasmine Dragon Pearl tea, Qing Shan Lv Shui tea, Chrysanthemum tea and Bai Hao Yin Zhen tea. Bi Luo Chun (Green Snail Spring) is harvested from tea bushes on the nearby misty mountains west of Suzhou's Lake Tai and planted between plum, peach and apricot tress. The tea buds unfurl to absorb the wonderfully fragrant blossoms in early spring giving this tea its unique aroma and flavor.

The tea sommelier at Fairmont Bab Al Bahr in Abu Dhabi will help guests select the perfect tea to enjoy among the airy atmosphere of the Al Naba'a Lounge. This striking, contemporary lobby lounge located at the heart of the hotel is the perfect spot for Afternoon Tea, featuring delicacies from the Middle East.

Guests will be humming Strawberry Fields Forever as they tuck into homemade strawberry jam from Barkley's Apple Orchard to top the freshly baked scones on the Canadian Tea and Traditional Tea Towers at the Fairmont Château Laurier in Ottawa. Tea service has been a long standing tradition at the Fairmont Château Laurier since its opening in 1912 and is served seven days a week in Zoe's Lounge. The full experience includes a choice of more than 18 tea varieties. Guests may sniff from pots of the leaves while their tea server explains the composition of each blend.

The Tea Room at Fairmont The Norfolk in Nairobi offers a cozy setting of sofas and wingback chairs to sit back and indulge in Mountain grown Kenyan Teas & Coffees. The menu includes Traditional High Tea with homemade desserts and Kenyan treats.

Tea for the Teeny-set
Ooh la la, for those who absolutely adore The Plaza, small guests and their motley companions may skibble in to enjoy the Eloise Tea Party. An extremely lot of fun, the menu features Eloise-approved sandwiches such as mini grilled cheese, organic peanut butter and jelly, and strawberry and cream cheese. Little guests are also treated to a selection of fresh scones, cookies, chocolate cupcakes, and chocolate dipped strawberries, for Lord's sake.

The tea that is the talk of the playground is the Teddy Bear Tea at The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise This extra-special tea party invites kids to create their own Teddy Bear before heading outside for a one-of-a-kind Teddy Bear picnic complete with iced tea and finger sandwiches and of course a special appearance from Bow the Bear, the hotel's resident teddy bear and mascot.

What little prince or princess-to-be would not dream of having tea at a real castle? The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver invites little ones to dress up in their fairytale finest for teatime service. Among the menu is the popular Bubblegum Tea – with bubblemaker! - peanut butter and jelly finger sandwiches, fresh strawberries and cream and a giant chocolate chip cookie.

Tea popsicles are a treat reserved for the little ones at Toronto's Fairmont Royal York. Kid-friendly fare such as toasted crumpets and jam help introduce children to the beloved ritual of Afternoon Tea. A selection of appealing fruit and flower-based herbal teas are available, providing caffeine-free choices that are high in vitamins and antioxidants, perfect for a growing connoisseur.


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